If you are reading this, most likely a life event has taken over your normal routine and you are now in charge of the daunting task of dealing with clearing out, downsizing and/or liquidating the contents of a home. This can be very overwhelming, but it can be broken down into a few simple steps. The number one thing I recommend to the families I help is, do not get rid of anything! With the exception of the items the family intends to keep, leave everything alone. The natural instinct for most people is to start somewhere by donating items, having your own garage sale, renting a trash dumpster and begin the removal and clear out process. Not a good idea! I recommend that you stop and assess the situation after agreeing not to remove anything from the home. Think about the big picture. Too many times I meet with families that have already started clearing out things. They created way too much work for themselves, and have either sold or trashed items that they could have gotten more for at an estate sale. I don’t believe one persons’ junk is another persons’ treasure, no, but everything is for sale at an estate sale and you might as well let the professionals deal with it. The next questions I ask the families is: “What is the plan for the home after all of the items are removed? Will the home be for sale, rented out, returned to the landlord?” If the home will be sold, consult with your real estate agent to discuss if they would prefer to have the items remain in the home until an offer is accepted or completely cleared out prior to marketing the home. If being rented out or returned to the landlord, most likely you will need to have the home completely cleared out. Don’t stress! I have a resource for that as well. Next, take a few pictures in each room including the kitchen and garage. Taking pictures will save everyone time. You will send the pictures to the estate sale companies you are contacting to see if they are interested in meeting. Estate sale companies vary on what types of sales they will do. Most companies need to bring in a minimum of $5,000-$10,000 in total sales to agree to a sale. So being able to send pictures beforehand will save you time by not meeting with services which may not be interested or right for your particular situation. Being able to have a professionally ran estate sale is the best option when there are enough items in the home for a successful sale. You hire the estate sale company to come in and organize, sort, price, and advertise the estate sale. Then at the end of the sale, the house is cleared out completely and your family receives a check. Usually a house full of items will have a decent chance of an estate sale. Meaning the bedrooms, living areas, kitchen, and garage are full of items. Remember that furniture is the hardest thing to sell at most estate sales due to the age of the furniture and the trouble of moving the pieces. Circle back to my first suggestion of do not get rid of anything. This is very important, as too many families have done this and the result was not having enough items for an estate sale costing them time and money. If there are not enough items in the home for an estate sale, you can ask the estate sale company if they can recommend or provide a buyout or clear out service. This would be a company who makes an offer to buy everything in the house and remove all items, or provide an estimate on how much it would cost to remove all of the items. There is a substantial amount of labor involved with this, so go into it with realistic expectations. Consider how much of your time, energy and resources it would take to do it all yourself. In the end, it could end up costing you more to take off work, hire trucks, movers, and make trips to the donation centers or the dump. It can also cost you your physical and mental health. Remember, the cost really is nominal when you ask the company if they can provide a charitable donation slip for any of the items. I personally never want anything to be trashed unless it is food in a refrigerator, or similar true trash items. I like to see things re-purposed or donated when possible. Finally, you can call around to various charities for pickups but most will not clear out the entire house. A quick re-cap: 1. Do not remove anything except for items the family wants. 2. Assess the big picture and the plans for the home. 3. Take a few pictures of all the living areas including the garage. 4. Find and hire a professional estate sale company. (We got you covered) 5. Breathe a sigh of relief that you just handled this better than most. (Because you called Blue Sky Estate Services to guide your through the process! 714-913-6033)