It used to be said that consignments to auction were fuelled by the three Ds: Death, Divorce and Debt. House clearances from the former, as families sold off heirlooms and furniture they no longer wanted, have long been commonplace. Likewise, one of the side effects of divorce is that the separating couple have to find two places to live and that can mean offloading furniture and works of art that no longer fit the new space or look. Realising the value of an asset to pay of a tax bill or other debt has also been common practice down the years.
All three of these three situations continue to apply, but I would argue that we are now dealing with the five Ds, because we can add Decluttering and Downsizing to the mix.
I suppose Downsizing is similar, in some ways, to the factors involved in Divorce – it’s really about things that no longer fit, while Decluttering is a relatively new phenomenon; generations gone by tended more towards hoarding than having a clear-out.
Another – albeit rarer – circumstance that can lead to bulk consignments at auction is the makeover; a case of out with the old and in with the new as tastes change. Could this be the sixth D? Only if you titled it re-Design.