Hosting moving & estate sales is one of the services we have provided for years here at Grumbles House. Grown from the need of our customers, we feel we’ve been helpful to families over the years in liquidating lifetimes of accumulation in the many houses we’ve been honored to do.
My impetus in writing this blog is to give a few pointers, should you ever find yourself in this situation or to advise a neighbor or friend. Each situation is different but several commonalities stand out that I think knowing ahead of time, could save some work & emotional grief for the person in charge of the estate AND make for a better sale.
Many times, by the time we are contacted to conduct an Estate Sale, the family has combed through much of the house, garage & outbuildings and taken many bags & boxes of stuff to the dump, thrift shop, their church or favorite charity. Or they think they are being helpful by pulling everything out of the cabinets & closets and packing it in boxes in the garage. Not only is this a lot of work for them but it makes more work for us & reduces the proceeds from the sale.
We advise families to keep the things they want, gift the things that are designated to other family members, care takers or neighbors before calling us. Then, remove personal papers including medical records, banking, retirement, insurance, genealogy, awards, scrap books & photo albums. Boom! You’re done and ready to call us.
When folks downsize and move to an assisted living, a smaller home or in with family, they may take their bedroom set, favorite chair, a few dishes and a few linens but leave the majority of household furnishings, we call that a Moving Sale. When someone dies and or just leaves the house fully furnished and appointed, we consider that an Estate Sale. Each one is different. We could write a book about all the different situations we’ve worked in and we will be happy to try to help in your situation.
While we are working to organize, display & price items for sale, should we find personal papers, photos or things we feel are of special value to the family, we photograph it & text picture to them or give a call to let them know what we found. Sometimes family was here for a short time and aren’t able to get through the aforementioned. If that’s the case, we compile it for them and mail it or store it until they can return. Otherwise, we work to ready for, normally a 2 day sale although some require 3 days and even rarely 2 weekends to liquidate the contents.
When time allows and content merits, we list things on Ebay to sell or sell through Grumbles House to get a better return. Also, after the sale, if nicer things remain, we take to the store to sell on consignment and pay recipient monthly as items move. We utilize our growing email list to advertise the sale with photos of many of the special items & descriptions of others a week or two prior to the sale.
If family is out of town or state, we can help by cleaning out unsold items so home is left empty (except for appliances & window treatments). We don’t physically clean the oven, cabinets, baseboards, etc. but leave it empty & “broom clean” ready to be painted, cleaned or just put on the market.
MOVING SALES – We prefer to host moving sales AFTER the resident has moved but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. As long as the homeowner is happy to work around us, we can be flexible and work around them as they pack, prepare to move or wait for a closing date but it can make things a little more stressful. I say that because we set up tables to display merchandise and may get in the way (although we try not to) of your normal daily routine and walkways through the home.
In both cases, estate sales & moving sales, we are happy to donate remaining items after the sale, to a favorite charity of the family. We work to get books to Friends of the Library, and pretty well know which local thrift shops prefer furniture, clothing, household goods, etc. We can arrange consignment with an area furniture consignor if it’s not something we feel we have a market for at Grumbles. We try to find good homes for all leftovers so there’s not more work for family. Rarely, family wants to handle this portion and that’s fine with us too. Once the home is empty, we hand off our key to the realtor or family member or neighbor in charge and get a check to designee.
I have lots of references from homeowners & families we have worked for that I’d be happy to share with those who are considering using our service. Whether in our area, or across the nation or world, I hope this info is helpful.
Years ago, a customer who saw how well we helped their friend through a sale when a husband had died and the wife was moving north with the children, suggested a funny thing. She wanted me to have business cards made that I would hand out to our customers that they would put with their will that say “When I die, call Nancy”. Although that probably would be effective and efficient, I would feel uncomfortable handing those out. But, it’s something to think about & plan for so keep us in mind or find someone in your area you trust to liquidate your treasures when you no longer need them.