Your home is starting to resemble an episode of "Hoarders," but without the tearful back story.
Sure, that armoire is gorgeous. But you never use it. Those antique candlesticks that Grandma gave you are just collecting dust. And what about all those clothes in your closet that still have the price tags attached?
It's time to purge.
Purging is always the first rule of thumb at the start of any project, said Stephanie Bradshaw, a Baltimore stylist who also does residential and commercial design.
"Whether we are helping design a new living room or purchase the perfect party dress, we must first edit out a few things to bring in the new," Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw likes to discuss with clients the emotional reasons they are holding onto excess items.
"Once clients can talk out a bit why letting go of this or that particular item is special or important, it is often easier for them to let them go," she said.
Bradshaw suggests that people follow the fashion industry cycle and purge during spring and fall.
"When you are bringing out those change-of-season clothes, think about a change of season in your living spaces as well," she said.
So now that you've established you have a problem, what do you do?
You could always give it away to Goodwill or some other charity, but times are tough. We looked around the Baltimore region and found some places that will pay a premium price for your items.
What to purge: High-end clothing
What's to like: Vogue Revisited is one of the few high-end clothing consignment shops that doesn't require appointments. You can drop in just about anytime — except Saturday — and unload your designer duds.
Owner Chris Anderson is looking for garments and accessories not older than two years and in season. For example, she is no longer purchasing summer merchandise; she's moved on to lightweight fall clothes.
With an inventory that includes Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and Gucci, Anderson is looking for the best. Clothes must be clean, ironed and brought to her store on hangers.
If your clothes make the cut, items will be sold on consignment during a 90-day period. Items will be sold at full price up until 60 days, when prices are reduced by 20 percent. After another 60 days, items are reduced to half off. Whatever price the item sells for, you get half the proceeds.
Vogue Revisited is at 4002 Roland Ave. in Baltimore. Call 410-235-4140 or go to voguerevisited.com.
Clearing House Ltd.
What to purge: Transitional and traditional furniture
What's to like: With a showroom floor of more than 7,000 square feet, Clearing House has one of the region's largest selections of furniture. The store's promise to display your consigned goods for up to 120 days is also attractive.
Clearing House has more than three decades of experience, and its items get top dollar. Buyers here have paid $10,000 for a lamp and $12,000 for two-carat diamond earrings.
Owners Cara Derr and sister Lisa Hudson also boast that their 55/45 selling consignment percentage is among the best in the region. "If you have an expensive item, you will get better money here," Derr said.
The key to getting top dollar at Clearing House is to have classic merchandise that people want in their homes, according to Derr.
"A lot of times, people think their items are great, but they might not be sellable," she said. "You need to have a realistic expectation. They should be clean. We couldn't stress that more. No one wants to buy something that is dirty."
Clearing House, Ltd., is at 200 W. Padonia Road in Timonium. Call 410-561-4546.
Service Photo Supply Inc.
What to purge: Camera equipment
What's to like: Service Photo Supply's approach to buying and selling camera equipment makes you feel at ease. The store cleans and performs functional checks and tests on all items they sell. When assessing equipment, the store's staff thinks about pairing your equipment with other merchandise from the store, which will help it sell. In addition to the store, they also have a popular online business.
The key to getting top dollar at Service Photo Supply is to get your merchandise into the store as soon as possible, said owner Burke Seim.
"Sell your older film-based camera equipment now," he said. "In the future, there may not be film to use in those cameras and therefore the value will decline further."
Seim also recommends that people bring in equipment during spring, fall and just before holidays. "They may not be the time that people are taking the most pictures, but they are thinking about it," he said.
Service Photo Supply, Inc. is at 3838 Falls Road in Baltimore. Call 410-235-6200.
David's on The Avenue
What to purge: Vintage decor
What's to like: In addition to vintage decor, the store buys and sells a little bit of everything. Consignment sales are a 50/50 split, but the store will also pay cash for merchandise. For a fee, David's will pick up items from your home.
Clean, well-preserved merchandise is the key to getting top dollar, said owner Keith Rattray.
"You'd be surprised how many people don't take the time to take a rag and wipe the dust off of it," he said. "As a dealer, you have to consider the labor. Ultimately that will reflect in the price [we pay]."
Dirty merchandise can lower the purchase price anywhere from $50 to $150, he said. The cleaning process takes the store anywhere between 20 to 30 hours a week, according to Rattray.
There is also a premium on well-made, all-wood, midcentury and European-designed merchandise. "That seems to be what's very sought after right now," he said.
David's on The Avenue is at 914 W. 36th St., in Hampden. Call 410-467-8159 or go to davidsusedfurniture.com.
The Lily Pad of Towson
What to purge: Children's clothing
What's to like: In just two years, The Lily Pad of Towson has become one of the region's top locations for high-end children's clothes. The boutique's blend of consignment and new gift items makes it ideal for cost-conscious consumers.
With more than 700 consigners, the boutique is stocked with hard-to-find items that you won't see in local stores — for example, Reva Ballerina flats from Tory Burch, which are being sold for $48, less than half of the original retail price. The boutique also features hot baby gear such as Bugaboo and Bob strollers.
"People say it doesn't feel like consignment," said Bridgette Meushaw, who co-owns the store with Sarah Weiskittel. "We are looking for very gently loved items."
If you're a buyer, make sure you get on the store's "wish list." Customers submit a list of merchandise they want and are notified if the item shows up. "Typically, it will sell before it is priced," said Meushaw.
The Lily Pad of Towson LLC is at 6909 York Road in Baltimore. Call 410-377-0025 or go to lilypadoftowson.com.
Record & Tape Traders
What to purge: CDs, LPs, DVDs
What's to like: You can walk in with boxes of CDs, vinyl records or DVDs any day of the week and sell it here. The Towson fixture has been in operation since 1978, so they know what they're doing.
Employees carefully inspect each and every item to make sure it's in excellent condition. The store even has a compact disc buffing machine to fix minor imperfections. Vinyl records must be in excellent condition to be considered for sale, said store manager Greg McCurtin.
Record & Tape Traders is at 736 Dulaney Valley Road in Towson. Call 410-337-0002.
What to purge: Gold and fine jewelry
What's to like: The business has been open more than a century and is a member of the Better Business Bureau. In addition, the jeweler is licensed by the state to buy and sell gold and other fine jewelry.
The store's owner, Sam Fridush, said he's currently looking to purchase gold (all carats and colors), diamonds (larger than a half-carat), and colored stones such as sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Silver is bought only for scrap purposes, Fridush explained. "I get almost no calls for silver," he said. "If I see something that is better than scrap value, I will send them to someone else."
Fridush advises that people sell jewelry in a group rather than as individual pieces. "That way you don't have to try and sell a piece that is not desirable," he said. "Maybe there is a piece I don't care for, but there are a few pieces that I really want."
Berman's Jewelers is at 3570 St John's Lane in Ellicott City. Call 410-480-2090 or go to maryland-gold-diamonds-jewelers.com.