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Out with the Old

What to do with your household’s excess baggage
      The first few weeks of spring have many of us reenacting the role of the mole in The Wind in the Willows — dusting, sweeping, whitewashing and in the mood for a major home turnover. 
     We’ve sorted our trash situation — pun intended — with Bay Weekly’s What’s Your Recycling IQ (www.bayweekly.com/node/48213). Now let’s consider household items that have become more burden than boon.
      What to do with things that don’t feature a resin symbol on the bottom? Objects that we know still have value and don’t deserve to be thrown away?
      Declutter — and make money.
     “If you haven’t used it in three years, get rid of it,” says Barby Harms, owner of the Shops at Ogden Commons and the Mermaid’s Cottage.
     Local businesses can help you become your own recycling center. Read on to learn how to give your items a second life with someone else — and possibly make you some money.
 
Going, Going, Gone
      Pretty much anything and everything goes at Bunting Online Auctions, a new business in Dunkirk that thrives on bulk repurposing.
      Selling almost anything that has a value of $10 or more, the auction house accepts your antiques, appliances, baby items, books, ceramics, coins, collectibles, currency, decorative items, ephemera, furniture, glass, homeschool gear, jewelry, paintings, prints, sports equipment, stamps, tools and rugs.
      In a given week’s auction, you might see a box full of screws, nails and magnetic door closures; a 100-year-old whiskey keg with stand or a Gottlieb Sure Shot pinball machine.
      Once your castoffs enter Bunting’s receiving, they are sorted based on what’s likely to sell.
      “Week by week, almost everything sells,” says Pamela Turner, who helps stage Bunting’s ever-changing showroom. 
      Items deemed unlikely to sell are donated to Purple Heart, unless you the seller wants them back.
      Everything is separated into lots, arranged in the showroom for buyers’ viewing, photographed, described and uploaded into a weekly online auction at ­www.buntingonline.auction. Every Thursday brings a new auction.
     Checks are mailed to consignors minus an auction commission.
 
We Make House Calls
      Estate sales are a horse of a different color. “We come into your home, process, display, advertise, price and sell,” says Pam Parks, owner of Easy Estate Liquidations in Deale.
      Parks recommends sellers first decide what they want to keep and what they want to get rid of.
      An estate sale may last one or two days or even multiple weekends, depending upon the inventory. 
     “We price items to sell,” Parks says. “We ask what we think we can get.”
      Local pieces such as oyster cans, decoys, fishing and hunting gear are quite popular these days.
      “Collectibles like China, old pottery and cookie jars don’t sell well,” Parks says. “They aren’t popular with the younger generation.”
 
Consign the Right Stuff
      At Second Wind Consignments in Deale, owner Teri Wilson works much more selectively to find second homes for housewares and tools that have outlived usefulness in your rotation. She too has an eye for what sells; before opening Second Wind, she worked as a buyer of high-end home furnishings.
      When deciding what to consign, Wilson advises: “Look for items that can be used every day and are in like-new condition. Things that it would be a shame to throw away.”
     Unless, that is, you’re selling against the tide of demand. Shows like Netflix’s Tidying up with Marie Kondo have, she says, “people getting rid of the same kind of stuff — China, glassware and things that don’t get used. Everyone is getting rid of those things, and no one is interested in buying them. I’m looking for things that can be used in current decorating trends.” 
      Consignment stores like Second Wind price your wares according to prices fetched by similar items. 
      “That’s where we earn our money,” Wilson says. “Our customers don’t have to do the work. We do the research to determine a price.”
      Prices are lowered each month. Anything that hasn’t sold after three months must be retrieved.
      Second Wind’s next-door neighbor, A Vintage Deale, specializes in antique European and American furniture, lighting, artwork and accessories.
     “We are always interested in special, one-of-a-kind pieces,” says co-owner Paula Tanis.