I Hosted an Estate Sale: Here’s What You Need to Know

What is an Estate Sale

Letting go is a very hard thing to do, but thanks to all the wonderful memories that I focused on taking with me, leaving things behind became a lot easier. After you realize you can’t take everything with, you will need to figure out what to do with the things that have accumulated in your home. Living in our house for 26 years with four children and five grandchildren that visited often, I had a lot of “stuff” to get rid of. I had never even gone to an estate sale before, let alone know how to host one, so I’m sharing with you my experience in hopes that I can enlighten you on the ordeal.

Step #1: Find a Trustworthy Reliable Company

There are several companies out there and between friend’s recommendations and Google reviews, I narrowed it down to interviewing four companies. You need to give yourself plenty of time. Start calling at least 4-5 months in advance to secure your date. Interview them and carefully ask specific questions. I had some that charged set up fees and others that will ask you to sign a contract for a minimum dollar amount to be made, and if it’s not met, you wind up owing them money from your sale profits. Most of the companies I talked with took a 40 percent cut of the gross revenue generated.

Step #2: Once Your Date is Set, Start Making Piles of What to Donate, Sell, or Keep

This was the hardest. My children will tell you that I asked them several times to please come and take some of my more valuable items in the house, but they just didn’t want them and they didn’t come. I do understand because when I needed to clear out my parent’s house, and we choose not to have an estate sale, I was forced into taking things home that I did not want. What exactly am I talking about? It’s the Waterford crystal, and the Lenox china, the silver and the Llardo collections. Millennials just don’t want those things. Their lifestyle is way more casual. As for selling clothing, I was told by my estate sale person Sue, that most consignment stores would get you more money than an estate sale could.

Step #3: Sorting It All Out

Tools in Garage

Once you decide what you are selling, do not get rid of what you think may be trash until your estate sales person looks through it. I was surprised to find out what they can sell. One example was my children’s old yearbooks and junior high sports trophies. They try to sell everything they can between your tools in the garage to the old flower pot’s in your back yard.

Step #4: The Set Up and Staging

There is a lot of set up so I do understand why it’s fair for the estate sales people to take a commission. I chose to work with a woman named Sue from Estate Sales by Sue, which is local. I found her to be very honest and negotiable. During this emotional process it’s comforting to have someone you can trust. Sue came in a week prior to the sale with two other women, going room by room, cabinet by cabinet, throughout my entire house. Her staging technique made me feel inferior. When she was finished the house looked very nice. Everything was set up according to themes such as sports, cooking, home décor, and holiday decorations. It looked very inviting!

Step #5: Why You Need to Leave During the Sale

Plated Teapot

You should not be present during the sale. It is too emotional, and you do not want to hear people making negative comments and trying to barter down prices. Most companies will not even allow you to be present. This is a very good thing and only in your best interest. You can be available by phone if they need to speak with you. Another important detail is that you can request not to sell an item below a set price. There are huge discounts on the last day of the sale and if you aren’t willing to accept less money, then you need to discuss this ahead of time. For example, I did not want to sell my bedroom set below a certain price and it was agreed upon prior to the sale.

Step #6: Say Goodbye to Your Home Beforehand as it Will Feel Different After It’s Been Emptied

Before the sale I walked throughout the house room by room, silently saying thank you for the memories (a little Marie Kondo there). I handed the keys to Sue and said good luck with the sale. I trusted her and felt I was in good hands. Hopefully we make a decent amount of money, but one thing I know for sure is that I never could have done an estate sale on my own. There is a lot of work involved and with all that I had to sell I need the assistance of an Estate Sale Company.

It’s behind me now and I now feel a sigh of relief that the hardest part of our move is behind us. My husband and I are very much looking forward to new adventures and a newly decluttered lifestyle. The revenue from the estate sale will be used to settle into our next nesting phase. You see, as a married couple you start out as two, when you add children you become a family and the number increases. For us it became six, then one by one our children left the nest. We will always be a family, but life has circled back and once again my husband and I are two, which is exactly how we started out many years ago.

*Please feel free to reach out to me @ [email protected] if you have further questions. I feel that with interviewing four companies and having experienced a sale, I can offer you my experienced and honest advice.