For What It’s Worth: What Should You Hold On To?

By Selena Garrison

I was standing with a friend of mine sipping coffee as she was rummaging through some yard sale finds. As she picked up a cool, retro lampshade, I asked her why she had bought it. It wasn’t really her style and it didn’t seem like something she would usually be drawn to. She said, “Well, it was cheap and cool and I thought it might be worth something some day.”

That got me thinking … what am I holding on to because “it might be worth something” one day? Are those things really worth holding on to, or should I just get rid of them? So I started to do some research. Let’s go over a few common categories and see what might be worth keeping and what might be better sold or donated.


I LOVE bling. I love it so much that I have a jewelry business, and I have jewelry coming out of my ears. But is it worth holding on to if I am not using it? It depends. Is it worth buying as an investment?

Fine Jewelry:

Fine jewelry is generally made of precious metals, gemstones, pearls, or diamonds. If you buy fine jewelry from a traditional retailer (versus a secondhand store, pawn shop, individual seller, etc.), you are generally paying the cost of the stone/ jewelry plus their cost, which is generally marked up. Due to this, it may be unlikely that you will earn back the amount that you paid for it. Of course, if you get a piece of fine jewelry for under market value, you may be able to sell it and make a profit. So in general, keep it if you like it and wear it. Sell it if you don’t like it or wear it. While gold, silver and precious gems such as diamonds may increase in value, when bought at retail prices it can take 30 years or more to recoup your investment.

Costume/Fashion Jewelry:

This kind of jewelry is generally much less expensive and does not usually increase in value. One exception is vintage costume jewelry. Depending on the designer and style, vintage jewelry (usually 50 years old or more) can have some value. Several high-value vintage costume jewelry designers include Weiss, Eisenberg, Hobe and Coro. There are many fakes out there, though, so you should take your vintage jewelry to a jeweler to find out its value. In general, if you aren’t using your fashion jewelry or don’t like it, it probably isn’t worth holding on to. You might consider taking it to a consignment store or even donating it to an organization that may use it to help lower income households with job search or formal attire.


Buying new furniture is kind of like buying a new car. The second you buy it and drive it off the lot (or have it delivered and set up in your living room), the value has already decreased. If you have an intention of reselling furniture, I suggest checking out a consignment shop or discount store. Secondhand furniture will retain its value much better than something brand new. This particularly holds true for vintage (50 to 100 years) and antique (100 years or more) furniture. If you have pieces that are more than a few decades old (and I am not talking about that plaid couch from your momma’s 1970s basement), you may consider having an appraiser come in and assess their value. Generally, for vintage and antique furniture to be valuable it needs to be rare (not many were made to begin with or not many are still around), aesthetically pleasing (it looks nice), authentic (not a replica of the original) and in great condition (not missing pieces, broken, re-painted, etc.)


There is a whole array of things people collect: coins, stamps, baseball cards, figurines, stuffed animals… you name it, somebody probably collects it. But is it worth it to keep holding on to that stack of baseball cards (or Beanie Babies, Precious Moments figurines, Cabbage Patch Kids, etc.) that has been sitting in your attic for all these years? It depends on why you want to keep them. If it’s for nostalgia or to pass them down, go for it. If it’s because you think they might make you rich someday, hit the brakes. While it is very possible that you could have some valuable collectibles, you might consider getting them assessed by a an expert in whatever you collect. Then ditch the worthless ones and decide what you want to do with the others. Will they continue to increase in value? Or should you sell them and use the money to invest in something else?

Just because something is old or unique or from a famous designer doesn’t mean it is a good buy. Do your research and decide what to keep and what to put out in your next yard sale.