Treasure Hunting after a lockdown

The whole industry of antiques and secondhand trade is being greatly affected by the lockdown and the up-coming aftermath. There are so many balls in the air, who knows where they will all land when this lockdown ends.

Hundreds of thousands of people are at home right now not sitting there doing nothing, they’re cleaning out cupboards of old things to donate to charity shops or sell to a dealer or through an auction house.

Junk dumped during Covid-19 lockdown outside Op-Shop in Auckland

For the charities it’s a double edged sword – they need the cash flow to support the massive increase in demand for their services, especially after weeks of no sales from their shops. BUT the process of turning thousands of boxes of stuff into sales takes a lot of volunteer time, volunteer hours that they simply don’t have spare right now.  Most volunteers are either staying at home right now and will continue to stay at home after the lockdown. They certainly do not want your donations during the lockdown or immediately afterwards. Who wants to touch it if it potentially comes from a household with covid-19? Where would they store it all? Not to mention all the useless stuff and weather damaged stuff that needs to be dumped. Dump fees are sadly a regular cost for charity shops.

For secondhand dealers and antique shops, many of them are sole traders – the smallest of business models. Emerging from weeks of no sales while continuing to pay overheads, into an unknown number of customers is going to test every single business decision. Do they turn on heaters today or not? Can we afford to buy more stock or sell down what we have? It may take a while for them to recover, and some may never recover which will add their stock to the volume of valuables changing hands.

According to economists, surges of things going to market will affect prices downward. Add to this that many people are operating with a tighter budget so they’re looking for bargain cheap prices. 

Keep an eye on the auctions – this is where you may see some amazing valuables surface for sale. 

With so many unknowns, we shall wait and see what happens over the coming months… or maybe we shouldn’t… what if it’s a case of decide our own destiny? Be the change you want to see.

What can you do to help the charity shops manage this surge in demand and surge in donations to convert into cash flow? Maybe you can volunteer your time to sort through the donated items. Donate money to their cause to keep them afloat. Keep your boxes of stuff at home for a few months until the surge has settled.

Oh, and stop buying online from overseas… I could explain why but that’s a whole other blog. For now, just know we have plenty of stuff here in the country already and our economy needs your cash to stay here.