Prepping for an Estate Sale

At the end of the month, we’re having a massive garage/estate sale.   When my mother-in-law died, she left us a lot of stuff.

A lot.

Really, when I say “lot”, I mean it.   When most people say they have a lot of stuff, they mean they’ve got a closet to clean out.   That’s similar to looking at a “scale of the universe” app and comparing a grain of salt to the Oort cloud.   We’ve donated several truckloads of blankets, jackets, and toiletries to a homeless shelter and more than 80 rubbermaid containers full of clothes to the Salvation Army.   That’s on top of two dumpsters(big enough to park a truck in) full of garbage of things we didn’t think were worth salvaging.   That has still left us with several rooms packed full of stuff.

When I say ” a lot”, I mean it in a visceral, oh-my-god-can-this-be-over-or-should-we-consider-arson kind of way.

Now, it’s time to get rid of the stuff that’s left.

The things that have sentimental value have already come home with us.

The things that look unique, rare, or collectible–like the 1970s Pepsi glasses–have been set aside for more research.   They may end up in the sale, or on eBay, depending on what we find out.

From here, I think I can just follow my garage sale guide.

We’re going to run the sale on Friday, Saturday, and Monday of Labor Day weekend, to maximize traffic.

We’ll advertise in the paper and put up some signs.    The house is on the busiest street nearby, so passing traffic should be high.

The nice thing about having an emptied house is that setup can be completely done ahead of time.   We’re setting up tables and starting to price it all this weekend.

On the days of the sale, we’ll have at least 2 people working the entire time.  One will be inside, while the other will be outside for the tools and furniture that are getting sold.  Both will have money and be able to make change.

Outside, we’ll have the bigger pieces of furniture, tools, and some kid stuff to draw in passerby.   Inside will be the appliances, jewelry, and the small and/or valuable items.   We’ll only  be setting up in the living room and dining room, with the back hallway and kitchen roped off, to control access and visibility.

We’ve got a bit of help available at different times over the weekend, so we should be able to handle the entire sale, including breaks, relatively smoothly.

Have you ever run an estate sale?  Anything I’m missing?

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  • 4 comments

    Comments

    1. Never have but I’ve heard they can go well if you get good word of mouth beforehand. Be flexible on pricing but don’t give stuff away either. Offer stuff in bundles too.

    2. I’m sure you’re already planning this, but routes from major streets with balloons and signs that say ESTATE SALE really get people excited — that’s how I go to every single estate sale I’ve ever been to.

    3. It probably wouldn’t hurt to list the sale on Craigslist — that’s where I learn about garage sales and the like, since I don’t receive a daily newspaper. Specifically name a few big items that will draw interest, and start posting about a week beforehand (renew the day of so you’re bumped to the top of the list). You can share the link with people in your area (Facebook? Email list?) if you don’t mind broadcasting the street address.

    4. You could advertise at the beginning that on the last day all items will be X% off and that way you can get some return traffic potentially for items they may not have wanted to pay full price for. Don’t know how well it would work but it is an idea!

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