Change. debilitating. earth-shaking. fright. UGH!
I get to talk with the most interesting people. Because I sell antiques, they marvel at the "trip down memory lane". In almost all conversations, the talk turns to the job of disassembling a grandparents' home, moving mom to the nursing home. The job of organizing items from the households of decades long collecting or just plain living is monumental and scary. Most folks say they have thought of hiring a dumpster and just throwing things away, just so they don't have to go through every envelope, every shoe box of photos, drawers of fabric and linens, clothing, household, garage, barn and basement items. The task is huge.
Part of what happens, is we have to confront our own mortality. "I'll never make my children get rid of belongings!" or "I'm downsizing now (you're only 45...) so my kids don't have to go through what I did with my parents."
Times, they are a changin'. Auctions used to be the way to go. The auctioneer would send their crew in to box things up, set up wagons, bring in the concession stand and we'd have a free for all, all day buying every single item. At the end, that crew, concession stand, outdoor john and the auctioneer took a huge percentage of the profits.
Today, the estate sale (a glorified way to call a sale inside someone's house with elevated garage sale tags) is the way to go.
My business does these sales. But we add a twist to all of that. Before you hire a dumpster....please, don't throw out things to prepare the way...we have seen enough raccoon, rat, mice, cat messes to write a book. We have seen it all. Your boxes of things, piled to the ceiling in paths is a welcome sight. Also, don't have the grandkids in to pick out what they want until you know values. Just wait. Patience is the key. Let's sit down, make a plan and they we can go forward.
Go away. Leave us alone. We are neutrals. We are not attached to the items that belonged to your people. We sort in piles of antiques, vintage, church rummage sale, local grain-trains, mission based thrift shops. The good things: we can post on Ebay or consign in the shop. We stage the house, making it not only organized, but pretty, so people will be enticed to buy. They see it in it's original state and can imagine items in their own homes. We come for several days with our cashier and sell the heck outta stuff until we don't think we can sell another item. Things left after 3 days probably would not sell anywhere anyway...so we can help you pack up and move to the next buyer. Often times a buyer will come in afterwards and buy the remains.
We have a reputation for becoming your friend. We know this is not an easy task. It pulls your heart out. We know, we've had to do this with our own families. Part of estate planning, besides, who will take the children, who will farm the land, who will be the executor...these are the huge jobs. We hope you will pay attention to those important things and leave the STUFF to us.