In England, ‘National Spring Cleaning Week’ falls at the end of March each year. And with this date, numerous households across the country set aside time to clear out storage, dust shelves, and spring clean. But what can this mean for your wallet?

We don’t disagree with Marie Kondo’s advice that cleaning up helps to achieve a greater peace of mind: it’s important to save what you love, regardless of value or prevailing trends. But before you get rid of your old junk, be sure to double check the items in your ‘to chuck’ pile. It may well be that an old, forgotten gift from your mother-in-law could turn out to be worth something, even if you think it’s only junk.

Fleamarket Discovery for Millions
In New York, a Buddha figure recently sold at auction at Sotheby's. The former owner bought the figure at a flea market 20 years ago, paying around $100 (£75) at the time. After taking the Buddha to a television programme, the owner learned that it was in fact an ancient Chinese figure, and that it might actually be worth something.

We can only assume that the owner must have gotten a slight shock when Sotheby's put an $80,000 (£60,700) estimate on the figure that eventually went on to sell on 20 March 2019 – after seven minutes of bidding – for $2.1 million (£1.6 mil)!

Great for the owner, but you can't help but feel at least a little bit sorry for the poor guy who originally sold the figure at a flea market 20 years ago.

Get Your Art and Antiques Valued
In order for you to not feel remiss or shame when you see your purged objects pop up in someone else's hands on Antiques Roadshow, or as part of a significant auction, a valuation is never a bad idea before setting up a garage sale.

Along with achieving an accurate sale price, insurance purposes and curiosity are just as important reasons for getting an item valued. As Marie Kondo advocates, an object that matters to you is worth saving, so why not know what it’s actually worth?

Visit the Barnebys valuation service here

Four Steps to Remember When Spring Cleaning

Start by trying to find out why the item was acquired or what purpose it serves. Do a simple Google search, look for signatures, engravings and date markers, and ask a relative about how the item came to be in the family.

When you have a keyword to search for, you can easily enter Barneby's free-to-use bank of realised prices to find out what the same, or at least a similar, item has sold for at auction.

Want to see more sensational attic finds? Click here to discover five sensational stories!

Now you’ve come quite a long way, and perhaps you have an idea of ​​the value of your item – but one's own assessment can still be difficult since details and, above all, authenticity, are of the utmost importance in a valuation.

Turn to the experts! To avoid having to go to an auction house, or waiting for the next recording period of Antiques Roadshow, you can easily submit photos along with a description of your item to the Barnebys valuation service – and you’ll get an answer within 48 hours.

Read more about how the free valuation service works here

With spring upon us, along with national cleaning week, it's time to clear out the old and perhaps find a treasure among the rubble!