Whether you’re facing 30 years worth of accumulated excess ahead of a move, or tasked with clearing out the home of a family member, it can feel super overwhelming. You’ve probably already invested untold hours trying to get it all organized. There are some simple things you can do to make the process much easier on yourself.
I’ll admit this first step is a little bit biased, but since you’re getting advice from an estate liquidation company, let’s just put the obvious advice out there front and center: Hire a professional. It doesn’t matter if you have high end or low end items in the home or a mix of both, in most cases, an estate liquidation company will find buyers for your items. In fact, the tip I give most people when I see the house contents is to stop cleaning things out! You may not be a fan of that 1970s embroidered fruit basket piece that’s been hanging in the stairwell for the last 50 years, but I guarantee you someone else will love it. Seriously. You can stop making trips to the dump and just hand it all over to be sold.
That said, there are some things you can safely clean out. That includes disposing of random paperwork (taxes, heating bills, receipts for car repairs that were done 20 years ago – that sort of thing) and sorting family photos. You might want to have a company digitize the photos, especially if you have older slides that would otherwise require a slide viewer.
The step that most people tend to get stuck on is the “giving things away for free” part. Sure, Uncle Joe laid claim to the punch bowl set and dining room table, but has he come to pick those items up yet? No. He has not. It’s like herding cats to get family members to take the things they say they want, so make life easier on yourself and set a firm deadline. I tell my clients to let their family know that they will be signing over the contents of the home to an estate sale company, and if the items are not picked up by a certain date, they will have to purchase the items during the sale. This way you’re not being the bad guy.
If you’re on this page, know that you are away ahead of the game in terms of handling the estate contents. A lot of people don’t know these services exist, or assume they only exist for massive million dollar homes.
Some of my clients have tried to cobble together a DIY solution, which can work if you’re dealing with a small amount of items. I don’t recommend that for a house full of things. Selling things on Facebook Marketplace is basically a full time job and it comes with the unfortunate side effect of causing you to lose all faith in humanity. You could have an antique dealer come and look at your older items, but in my experience, they are going to cherry pick the items they can sell for the most profit – you aren’t going to see much in the way of proceeds, and it’s not going to make a dent. And we’ve already discussed the pitfalls of expecting family members to absorb everything (they don’t want it, and they won’t take it).
I do want to make clear that estate liquidation is first and foremost a fantastic way to clear out a large amount of items in a short amount of time. It secondarily makes you some money and saves you from paying a big bill to a cleanout or junk removal company (though that will still probably be a small part of the equation for the odds and ends that are left). Most estates have some items of high value that people are willing to pay up for, and a lot of items that just need new homes.
If you have questions or are ready to explore whether estate liquidation might be a good fit, reach out using the form below or call or text 603-556-8295.