CASH or TRASH: Are you sitting on hidden value? - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

CASH or TRASH: Are you sitting on hidden value?

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It's May and that means people throughout the nation are digging into their winter piles and deciding what to sell and what to keep.

Spring cleaning's been a part of American culture for generations, but it's taken on new meaning as baby boomers age out. More and more people are left with the daunting task of cleaning out their parents' old homes.

Andrew Maier's father passed away three years ago. His mother died this year. Now he and his son are left sorting through decades worth of "stuff."

"My parents knew how to keep stuff, but not how to get rid of it," Maier said while watching over a garage sale.

It was the first of several planned sales to clean out the home. Maier said he's been surprised by the things that bring in money.

"Like an old sled," he said, "something you put in the trash and somebody came along and offered me $25 bucks for it."

What's hot?

Allen Rodgers keeps a booth in the Montana Antique Mall, a four-story labyrinth of artifacts in downtown Missoula. He's been dealing antiques since he was nine and over the years he's seen some ups and downs.

"It's kind of like the stock market," Rodgers said. "Certain things are going to go up, and then you'll have a big drop in value. So, you have to use caution."

What's up right now? Antique dealers say millennials are driving up the price of items from the 50s, 60s and 70s. They're calling these retro items mid-century modern.

Rustic or shabby chic items like old washboards or snow shoes are also hot right now. Dealers say restaurants like to display these items on their walls and have people who are always keeping an eye out for them.

Not hot:

Not hot right now are more traditional antiques like dressers or china sets from the 1840s or earlier.

"They're about half the price of what they were ten years ago," Rodgers said.

Even if the items aren't trending, really good old pieces are still pretty valuable. Rodgers says it might take an expert to spot a good piece amongst the clutter. He recommends you have a dealer or appraiser look through your collection before selling anything.

Experts also tell us jewelry is the most overlooked item in people's collections. They say many people ditch high-quality jewelry in garage sales without even knowing what they have. 

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