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Having an Estate Sale before moving???
Old 05-11-2010, 12:55 PM   #1
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Having an Estate Sale before moving???

I'd like to hold a great, big estate sale but understand from an estate sales "pro" that folks who come thru the house tend to snoop--she seemed to think roping off the living room with all the "not for sale" items and throwing sheets over the stuff wasn't a workable idea because of said snooping. I have no clue if this is right or not. She said it would only work if the house was totally empty. Anyone have a clue about this?
Has anyone here thrown an estate sale and do you have any ideas as to how to put one together where it goes smoothly?
Due to the huge volume of wonderful items (aka crap) here, this is impossible to do on the lawn or in the double garage, so inside the house will have to be it I guess.
I can rent tables and buy paper tablecloths to set breakables, jewlery and table items on, line up tools in a corner, stack sheets/towels in boxes for ease of looking and organize like that if it would work? Any wonderful ideas you used that would help make this easy for others, too?

P.S. The "pro" I spoke to was very enthusiastic about doing the estate sale for me...until I told her I would be going thru each and every item checking to see if there wasn't gold coins or some other pricey item stuck between something. Amazing how all of a sudden her enthusiasm dwindled down to: "When YOU (meaning me) bring things up from the basement (huh? Wasn't that their job?), make sure you hang all of them on hangers in a closet?" I politely thanked her and made plans to do the entire thing myself. Guess I'll just be keeping that 25% commission after all.
Moral of this story: So, even someone with a supposed "honest" reputation isn't so honest it seems. Sad how people circle around trying to get something for nothing at times.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:06 PM   #2
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I'd like to hold a great, big estate sale but understand from an estate sales "pro" that folks who come thru the house tend to snoop--she seemed to think roping off the living room with all the "not for sale" items and throwing sheets over the stuff wasn't a workable idea because of said snooping. I have no clue if this is right or not.
Has anyone here thrown an estate sale and do you have any ideas as to how to put one together where it goes smoothly?
Due to the huge volume of wonderful items (aka crap) here, this is impossible to do on the lawn or in the double garage, so inside the house will have to be it I guess.
I can rent tables and buy paper tablecloths to set breakables, jewlery and table items on, line up tools in a corner, stack sheets/towels in boxes for ease of looking and organize like that if it would work? Any wonderful ideas you used that would help make this easy for others, too?

P.S. The "pro" I spoke to was very enthusiastic about doing the estate sale for me...until I told her I would be going thru each and every item checking to see if there wasn't gold coins or some other pricey item stuck between something. Amazing how all of a sudden her enthusiasm dwindled down to: "When YOU (meaning me) bring things up from the basement (huh? Wasn't that their job?), make sure you hang all of them on hangers in a closet?" I politely thanked her and made plans to do the entire thing myself. Guess I'll just be keeping that 25% commission after all.
Moral of this story: So, even someone with a supposed "honest" reputation isn't so honest it seems. Sad how people circle around trying to get something for nothing at times.
If you don't hire someone get a number of helpers. People shoplift. I had a rummage sale once and couldn't believe how many people just walked away with my things. Anything small and valuable keep right by you where you take the money.

Put stuff you aren't selling in rooms with closed doors.

Maybe have only one way to come and go from the place with a "checkout" table located at the exit. Have friends walk the place to watch for shoplifters.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:12 PM   #3
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Excellent suggestions I wouldn't even have thought of probably. Thanks! Good grief...going to a garage or estate sale to steal is pretty creepy to me...ewwww...but they do it.

I was thinking about just having the front door open period. The incoming and outgoing could use just that door, and I could put a table at the entrance/exit door to collect. Wonder how much of a traffic problem that would cause?

I have so many small items already boxed and ready I'm kinda worried about it. Serves me right for going crazy buying the year I spent in Chicagoland.

Where do you suggest I get workers once school starts? I was thinking of using the local University hiring system assuming they have the same thing U. of Houston did there. For like $20 I could put an ad in their employment book and always found folks to tutor my son--to the point I got picky and wanted grad. students only. The response was always good.
If I do that, what would be a fair amount to pay per hour? $7? $8?
I'm in an area at the border of Iowa/Illinois where work is not plentiful really...not that I want to cheat good workers for sure as good work needs to be rewarded.

Martha, your story reminds me of a garage sale in Houston where some Arabs drove up to look with the woman in the full covered Muslim headress etc. The man, a husband I assume, kept saying over and over to me, "We're Greeks!" I didn't ask him what he was so this was defensive. The humorous part of it is I'm Greek. Trust me, they were no Greeks...but it did provide my girlfriends and I a good laugh for the day. Of all houses he hit to say that...ha!ha!
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:03 PM   #4
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I live in an area where there are lots of retirees. Estate sales are advertised weekly. All of the sales I have been to (maybe 6) were due to the death of the home owner. All homes were unoccupied and the sales were conducted by "pros"...usually 3 or 4 people to monitor activity in the house. The last estate sale I went to, I noticed a couple of ladies who were looking a little too long in one spot and saw one slip her "find" into a large purse (a tote with no zipper on the top). The price for the item was under a dollar...go figure! Jewelry was inside a glass case and small electronics were behind the check-out/pay station. It looked to me like the large items would be paid for, but little things could sprout legs and walk away. The whole process creeped me out!

Personally, I would rather go to garage sales. Found a weber grill for a nice price the other day.
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:21 PM   #5
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We did the equivalent of an estate sale entirely on Craig's List. It worked great. Folks would start cruising the ads right after they got to work (I could tell because the email enquiries I got were almost all from business addresses.), and arrange to come by after work to pick stuff up. You just have to be willing to take photos of the stuff.

We ended up meeting a lot of nice folks, and had zero trouble with payments.

In a largish city, if you don't get responses the first day your price is too high.
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:45 PM   #6
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We did the equivalent of an estate sale entirely on Craig's List. It worked great. Folks would start cruising the ads right after they got to work (I could tell because the email enquiries I got were almost all from business addresses.), and arrange to come by after work to pick stuff up. You just have to be willing to take photos of the stuff.

We ended up meeting a lot of nice folks, and had zero trouble with payments.

In a largish city, if you don't get responses the first day your price is too high.
I think this is a great idea, and also eBay--I know Nords sold some estate things on eBay and did well (collectibles, I recall).

DH's family had an estate sale/auction of his parents' house goods and the pro was disappointed that the family went through first before anything was catalogued and took what they wanted as it cut into her commission, although she was told in advance that would happen. The sale was held outside in the yard on big tables that she brought in and very controlled. I have no idea how much $ they made.
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:17 PM   #7
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I think those are wonderful ideas...and will force me to learn how to use my digital camera which has just been sitting here new for ages (shame on me I know).
Between me, my mom and my son...well, we have lots of wonderful collectibles, yard tools (we have a lawn crew), tools, clothing, toys, books, etc. etc. to sell. We're just overflowing with...well....too many wonderful things (cough, cough).
I'm kinda burned out on the "pros" at this point. I see them as greedy vultures now. Thank goodness I'm here get rid of it instead of my mother trying to do it. Or my son.
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:21 PM   #8
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I live in an area where there are lots of retirees. Estate sales are advertised weekly. All of the sales I have been to (maybe 6) were due to the death of the home owner. All homes were unoccupied and the sales were conducted by "pros"...usually 3 or 4 people to monitor activity in the house. The last estate sale I went to, I noticed a couple of ladies who were looking a little too long in one spot and saw one slip her "find" into a large purse (a tote with no zipper on the top). The price for the item was under a dollar...go figure! Jewelry was inside a glass case and small electronics were behind the check-out/pay station. It looked to me like the large items would be paid for, but little things could sprout legs and walk away. The whole process creeped me out!

Personally, I would rather go to garage sales. Found a weber grill for a nice price the other day.

Maybe I should call it a garage sale...but there is way too much to fit into our garage. What to do? What to do?
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:10 PM   #9
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We go to lots of estate sales during our frequent Saturday garage sale-ing.

"Estate sale" usually indicates more stuff than "garage sale," so it's more attractive. It also has a bit of a "lots of useless old stuff from a dead person like rolls of dried up scotch tape from the fifties" connotation.

Things may be more low-key in our rural area, but I can't imagine needing professionals. For valuable stuff, I'd recommend selling it through craigslist ahead of time.

Have good signs (large lettering, non-folding paper, arrows, address, date) and you can double your traffic.

Remember that one (main?) goal is get rid of stuff so that you don't have to pay to move it, so keep those prices low or free. Last weekend there was a craigslist ad that said: "Large estate sale -- everything is free!"
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:19 PM   #10
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My neighbor down the street was having a garage sale a few weeks ago. Good signage. My neighbor across the street put an exercise bike on the curb with a crude "free" sign witten on it. Gone in a heartbeat!
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:44 PM   #11
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A friend had a large sale while her son was home from college. He took a basket of laundry that just came out of the dryer and sold off the sheets. She still laughs about that one.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:49 PM   #12
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A friend had a large sale while her son was home from college. He took a basket of laundry that just came out of the dryer and sold off the sheets. She still laughs about that one.
No doubt he was a marketing major.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:59 PM   #13
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No doubt he was a marketing major.
Confused about dryer sheets.
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Old 05-11-2010, 06:12 PM   #14
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If the primary purpose is to get rid of your stuff, why not call one of your local charities and make a donation?
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:38 PM   #15
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If the primary purpose is to get rid of your stuff, why not call one of your local charities and make a donation?
Having been to many yard sales and held a few big sales including my Mom's estate I think Meadbh has a good idea. The hassle, the dickering over 25 cent items that are worth dollars, the occasional theft, the car loads of stuff left over to be disposed of - think that donating it all and taking the tax writeoff may be the better plan.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:49 PM   #16
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Having been to many yard sales and held a few big sales including my Mom's estate I think Meadbh has a good idea. The hassle, the dickering over 25 cent items that are worth dollars, the occasional theft, the car loads of stuff left over to be disposed of - think that donating it all and taking the tax writeoff may be the better plan.
That is what I am planning to do, if/when we (eventually) move north. Besides all of the above, I sometimes wonder about the safety of a single woman living alone having strangers hanging around. I have the phone number for Goodwill's furniture truck pickup, when the time comes.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:34 AM   #17
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I took a 3-pronged approach when I down-sized 6 years ago: donated to a thrift shop, gave things away to family and a couple of friends, called an auctioneer and had her hall items to her site for sale. I was very reluctant to have strangers tramping through my then-house, for many reasons.
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:10 AM   #18
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I have been doing a bit of cleanup from my attic and other areas that were/are cluttered. I have had quite good success selling on kijiji and have made many donations to a local charity store. I have had less success on craigslist and have just revived my Ebay account after three years to dispose of some smaller items. If I list something for sale I usually move it to the garage and show it there. That way I do not have people in the actual house and it is easy to load.

I am trying to figure how to ship china, glass and teacups without getting them broken. So far I have just shipped old car parts cameras and coins.
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Old 05-12-2010, 07:37 AM   #19
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I had to clear out an estate complete with furnishings, etc. I hauled everything out to the driveway, lawn and garage. I sold everything that I could using signs directing buyers in from major nearby roads. (Today I'd use Craigslist, too). After the sale, I had the Salvation Army pick up everything left. There were a few things that they would not take, these went to the curb and evaporated before the trash guys got there.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:07 AM   #20
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I have been doing a bit of cleanup from my attic and other areas that were/are cluttered. I have had quite good success selling on kijiji and have made many donations to a local charity store. I have had less success on craigslist and have just revived my Ebay account after three years to dispose of some smaller items. If I list something for sale I usually move it to the garage and show it there. That way I do not have people in the actual house and it is easy to load.

I am trying to figure how to ship china, glass and teacups without getting them broken. So far I have just shipped old car parts cameras and coins.

I've shipped breakables back and forth across America using bubble wrap, newspaper wrapped around the bubble wrap, and using afghans/blankets and pillows in a cardboard box I tape up really well. Never have broken anything doing it that way.
Did read the other day that using paper from a cross-cut shredder is one of the best packing materials you can use. But you would have to shred tons it seems...and what a clean-up mess.
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