Archive for the ‘estate sales’ Tag

Attic Treasure Hunting

The value of any treasure discovered is always dependent on the quality, uniqueness, and scarcity of the particular items. Attics have always been the source of great treasure hunts for years, as well as the source of great agony.

For families who have to clear out and dispose of their valued treasures, it is difficult. Time and patience is a valuable commodity when sorting and clearing attic treasures. Care and concern should be given with all items as there may be items that have both monetary and sentimental value, or NOT. If you are fortunate enough to find one or two pieces in that category, then you need to decide what to do with them. Even finding a piece or two with sentimental value only – something you had long forgotten about it — will be a wonderful discovery.

Once the Treasure Hunt is complete and the “stuff” has been categorized what happens now?  For the items you have decided to keep, it depends on the situation you and the family are in; you might be moving so will these items move to new location or will you be taking them to your home? Or you may be staying for a while longer so that will require repacking and labeling the contents of the carton or bin. Be sure to put a date on the bin so you know how long ago you last viewed the contents. Put these repacked and organized containers neatly in a designated space for future access.

Now, you need to take away the items designated as trash, donation, give to family, or sell.

  • Move the trash, if possible, directly out to the curb, a dumpster or at least to the garage to wait for trash day.
  • If you have not already scheduled a donation pick up; do it now.   Move the donation items down to the garage clearly marking them as donations – not to be mistaken for trash.   Resist the temptation of second guessing your decisions.
  • Items marked ‘give to family’, bring them down to an area that can be designated staging area; put all items in here clearly marked with the designated family member’s name. Make a call and schedule a time for      things to be picked up. You may need to make several calls, and then  finally say; “If you don’t come by Sunday, I will be putting them in the trash on Monday.”
  • Put all items for sale in one spot (either leave them in the attic or garage marked sale items). Then determine what type of sale to have.  Arrange for  an appraisal, if necessary. Set a date, even if it is weeks or months away, it will help motivate you to complete the project.

For items that you truly feel have monetary value but you don’t know what it is, I recommend strongly that you pay for an appraisal from a qualified independent appraiser, who knows furniture or artwork. By having an appraisal of the pieces in question, you will be able to make an educated and informed decision on what you want to do with the pieces in question. You won’t walk into a store someday and see your piece (or something very similar) for sale for hundreds of dollars and you sold it for $5 at a moving sale!

Patience, persistence, and many helping hands are the basic elements needed to complete this project. It could take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the level of all available elements at any point in time.


The Anatomy Of A Move #2

Day two of my 30 day blog quest.  Yesterday I briefly touched upon 3 things you should consider when looking and engaging a professional mover to handle the “heavy lifting” that takes place during a move.

Today I want to back up a bit, and talk about the time line of  what and when things need to be started and completed.   Many people feel that selling the house and finding a new place to live is the very first item that needs to be started and completed.   Once that is done everything else just falls into place, right?   If you were taking a true/false quiz the answer I would mark as correct would be false!   Why, because once you decide you want to sell and move that is when you need to start organizing, de-cluttering and downsizing process.  An organized and uncluttered home will show and sell better.  

Depending on the size of your home, how long you have lived in the house, and its condition organizing and uncluttering could take a weekend of dedicated work or several weeks of work as time permits.  This is before even listing for sale.   Once this is done and the house in on the market, it could sell quickly or it could take weeks or months depending on the Real Estate market in your area.   So for starters the timeline begins as soon as you decide to move.  

Then once you have a signed purchase and sale agreement and everything is done, all you have to do is sit back and wait for moving day!   Wrong, you are given a certain date when you need to pass papers on the house and usually you need to be moved out completely by that date.   It ranges from a week to thirty days, and if you’re lucky it could be six weeks.   This is when the true move timeline is important in order to meet all the necessary deadlines.  

Stay tuned as we follow the timeline throughout the thirty days.

No Air Conditioning, Fans, or Fresh Air!

Okay, I am sitting here at my computer barely dressed, in an air-conditioned office, under the overhead fan and I am hot!    I love summer as long as my home and car is air-conditioned and I have ceiling fans, with out these conveniences I would not be a happy camper.   Not sure how we made it through so many years with out these things.

Even though I am hot, I am far better off compared to a woman I visited this morning.     This woman was in a small, very cluttered home with no air conditioning, fans, or fresh air!   It was stifling sitting at her kitchen table.   It amazes me how she was able to be in that house.   How do our seniors do it.

We talked for about 20 minutes before I was given the grand tour of the home to figure out what was required — just to put the house on the market.   It really was a nice home in a very nice neighborhood of starter homes.   Her problem is that she is sick, old, and physically unable to maintain the property.   She is barely able to take care of herself!   There was no discussion of family in the area to help her, and we talked about her using my services.   She said,  she was at her WITTZ END!   And she was!

Once I get going, and tackle the house one room at a time it will quickly start to shape up!   This is what I do, one room at a time, I move my clients from FRAZZLED TO DAZZLED!   After her home is sold we will move her into a retirement community where she will have all the amenities that she deserves, and she will not have to worry about the lawn, heating oil, or air conditioning.


Get your Kids to take their “stuff”!  Set a deadline date (3 – 4 weeks down the road) for them to come and take their “stuff” that you have very nicely sorted and put to one side for them.   You may need to use tough love!   Tell them if they don’t come or don’t want the items you will arrange to dispose of the items.   If they don’t come by this date (you can give them gentle reminders during this time period) schedule the trash person to come in as soon as possible after the deadline.    

Give your special items now to your family.   If there are special items that you know you are not going to need or use again, why not consider giving them to that special person now while you can enjoy giving the gift and the person receiving the gift will appreciate and can thank you in person.

Only keep the items you truly treasure!    Remember you cannot keep everything, and you need to be ruthless in your decisions.  You may change your mind several times.   Until you are really sure or have any doubts don’t throw or give anything away.   Make lists, add and subtract from the lists and make sure this is what you truly want.   Once you give them away or throw them out they are gone forever.

Donate to charity.   If you have three sets of dishes, be realistic do you really need them?   Anything that you don’t need, cannot use, and don’t want (but is good and serviceable) donate them to your favorite charity.  There are so many good charities that can use these items.    Clothing to homeless shelters, books to the local library, furniture to Goodwill and any number of places are looking for good serviceable items.  And most are happy to give receipts for tax purposes.

Whatever you do, do something!   Just don’t sit there and let stuff pile up around you until you cannot walk safely in your own home.    It is better to be in control with where and how to dispose of your stuff than have someone come in and take control and give you no say in the matter.     There is plenty of help out there, ask at the Senior Center or your clergy person for recommendations on how to proceed.  

You will feel so much better when you start the process.


Downsizing, de-cluttering, organizing, or whatever you want to call it, it is a necessary evil that we all need to face at some time in our lives.   Probably we should do it periodically, but most of us procrastinate and let things accumulate in the basements, attics, garages, and sheds.  There are various reasons to de-clutter; from moving into a smaller home, to stay safely in your home,   you, your spouse or partner may be ill, disabled or have died or you cannot maintain your home any longer.   These are all very important reason to seriously think about downsizing and NOW is a good time to start!  Whenever possible family members should be involved in the process, because there may be items that they might want.  


  •  Set aside specific periods of time. 
     Start off slowly, one to three hours a day is sufficient because of the physical and emotional strain involved.   Take frequent breaks, to avoid becoming overwhelmed and dehydrated.   If you decide to tackle the basement first, break it down in sections.   Make sure that you dispose of all trash and take the items to be donated away (this eliminates second guessing!)  Only leave items that you are keeping or planning on moving. When you complete that section STOP!  You will feel good about what you have accomplished and schedule your next session.    

  •  Develop a system for sorting. 
    Start with large items (too large for cartons) first, by putting color stickers on these items: i.e.: Yellow = Donate, Blue = Keep, Green=Give Away, Pink=Undecided.    Then determine how and where these items are going and right that on the stickers.   Knick-knacks are smaller and stickers don’t stay put.   Set up cartons and mark them KEEP, GIVE AWAY, DONATE, UNDECIDED.    If you need make
    the phone calls for pickups right away and schedule it to happen!  Don’t procrastinate make the calls! 
  •  Take time to remember:
     Don’t rush the sorting and downsizing, it will take time and if you start early, before the pressure is on to finish by a certain deadline date, you can decide what you want to do and make sure you are comfortable with your decision.  Take time to laugh or cry, reminisce, look through old papers, and to remember and grieve.    You need this time and it will help you to let go.
  • Take pictures or video of items. 
    In order to remember and pass the memories down to your family take pictures or a video of the items.  Recording your memories and recollections of an item and its connection to the family is particularly important if the items are family heirlooms.  The younger family members may not aware of the history or special significance the piece(s) have to the family history.   Your recorded recollections will bring added value to your family. 

The earlier you start to prepare for a move, the better off you will be.   Downsizing and moving is a very stressful time in a persons life, no matter how old they are.    Doing this after years of living in the same home, and having accumulated a lot of “STUFF” is a lot of work.     This only adds to your stress levels.

In my next posting I will talk about the downsizing and how to get rid of the stuff we have all accumulated over the years.    The pros and cons of moving sales, and why your items are not selling for what you know they are worth!

To all the Mothers, Grandmothers, and wannabe Mothers – HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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