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Decluttering and Making Money with Online Auctions

How Serene Transitions can handle online auctions to help you downsize

Even when we want to declutter or downsize (read our article on how to declutter using the four bin method), it can be hard to part with our possessions — many of them have sentimental value, monetary value, or both. Getting rid of extra items is an important part of downsizing , yet we know many of your belongings are too good for the trash pile. That’s where online auctions could be a good option for you.

There are a number of ways to run an online auction — you can list individual items on a site like eBay, although that requires more work on your part and possibly a lower payout. At Serene Transitions, our favorite online auction platform is MaxSold .

Serene Transitions specializes in using online auctions for selling items you no longer want or need. We know selling can be tedious and emotional, which is why we take care of every aspect of the auction process, from photographing and listing your items to running pick-up once your items have sold. We operate with you in the driver’s seat but without you lifting a finger.

One of our clients, Carol from Hingham, MA, said, “Janan Thomas of Serene Transitions was our Move Manager when we recently downsized from a spacious condo to an apartment that was half the size. As do-it-yourselfers, we knew we were not up to this task, but Janan certainly was! She is organized, punctual, and efficient — and one of the hardest working people we’ve ever met! She is kind and friendly during a potentially stressful time. She handled all parts of our move, including a MaxSold auction which was very successful. She and her team get our highest appreciation and recommendation.”

What is MaxSold?

MaxSold is the online auction site Serene Transitions favors. According to the MaxSold website , their mission is to make the process of selling a large volume of contents approachable, quick, and fun — connecting sellers with an extensive network of engaged and interested buyers to sell everything within two weeks. When you work with Serene Transitions, you can be as involved or as hands-off with the auction process as you’d like because we’re happy to do all the work for you.

MaxSold works by connecting the seller (e.g. you and Serene Transitions) to a pool of bidders and buyers via digital platforms, newsletters, and social media. We partner with MaxSold because it’s a great platform to sell a large volume of things quickly — we can auction multiple items at the same time rather than on sites like eBay, where listings are posted one at a time and take longer to move. Online auctions allow you to get money for your valuable objects, and those items then get a second life with a buyer who wants them.

How do I know if an online auction is best?

For a MaxSold auction to be optimal, we ideally assemble 70-100 lots with a potential value of $35 or more each (don’t worry — Janan will take care of creating the lots!). You’ll also want the timeline to be a match — a MaxSold auction is live for eight to ten days and takes about fourteen days from start to finish, which is faster than a typical eBay listing sells.

With MaxSold, you spend a little more money in fees and commissions, but you stand to sell more of your items and make a higher net profit.

There are a few routes you can take to sell on MaxSold:

1. You can work directly with MaxSold. With this option, you would pay MaxSold a flat fee plus a commission from the auction. A team of individuals from MaxSold would come to your home to catalog your items (including taking photos), then another team would run pick-up. MaxSold will not assist you in disposing or re-homing any items not sold in auction.

2. You can hire Serene Transitions to run the entire auction process for a slightly higher flat fee. (Scroll down for a complete description of what we do for you in a MaxSold auction.) While MaxSold will still take their commission out of the gross proceeds, this option allows us to streamline the process and maintain our one-on-one, trust-based relationship, and it means no strangers walking through your home! Throughout the entire process, you get direct communication with Janan and the comfort of knowing that all your needs will be met.

Feel free to reach out to chat about which option might be best for you.

How does Serene Transitions run your online auction?

If you decide you’d like Serene Transitions to run an online auction for you, we’ll take care of the following steps:

1. Sorting your items into lots for auction, grouping like things together

2. Taking high-quality photos of all the items you’ve decided to sell

3. Creating and editing a catalogue specific to your auction

4. Uploading final catalog to MaxSold

5. Monitoring sales and communications during the 14-day auction period, and giving you live feedback on how the auction is doing

6. Running pick-up day once the sale is over

7. Helping you rehome and donate anything that didn’t sell in the auction

8. Arranging for your payment to be sent to you at the address of your choice.

If there are smaller items that didn’t sell that you’d like to donate, Serene Transitions will pack them up and deliver them to the donation center free of charge. We’ll also provide you with a donation tax receipt. We want to be as eco-friendly as possible and reduce barriers to giving back to the community. For larger pieces of furniture that you’d like to send off, Serene Transitions can arrange for a truck and coordinate the disposal/rehoming process.

We aim to make online auctioning as easy as possible, which is why we take care of every step of the process — you won’t have to lift a finger, and you’ll declutter and make a little money at the same time.

As our client Leda described it, “As part of a house downsizing effort, Janan organized and ran an online auction for us to get rid of unwanted items from 25 years of accumulating. This included sorting and organizing hundreds of items into strategic lots, taking pictures and uploading, and running a very well organized 10-hour pickup day. Her calming and professional demeanor were key to everything running smoothly. Great service and a lovely lady!” Read more client reviews here

And if you don't have enough stuff to warrant an auction of your own, we do offer a consignment option on a 50/50 basis where we collect and hold whatever items you would like to sell (except furniture), and when we have collected enough from multiple clients, we will hold an auction and split the proceeds with the owners of each item/lot, with the understanding that there is no guarantee an item will sell, and that we cannot predict how much the highest bid will be.

If you’re interested in discussing whether an online auction could be right for you, please reach out — we’d love to talk to you!

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