Sifting through a lifetime of possessions and keepsakes to decide what is kept, sold or trashed can be an overwhelming task. Here are nine tips to make the task more manageable from Jeanie Daebelliehn, who helps families at Friendship Manor prepare for moving and estate sales.
Start with the family keepsakes
Most families keep items that have been in the family a long time or mementos such as antique furniture, jewelry and pictures. If it has significance to you and your family, then consider keeping it, even if there isn’t a monetary value to the item.
If you’re not sure, keep it
Once you throw out or sell an item it is gone forever. If you are undecided on any personal items, family keepsakes or special possessions, just keep it. You can always get rid of the item later if you decide you don’t want it after all. But once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Trash damaged items
Any items that have water, mold or mildew damage will not sell and should be thrown out.
Household items sell well
The economy has turned many estate and moving sale shoppers into bargain hunters instead of treasure seekers. That means while you may not get a great price on antique furniture or Depression glass, household items such as knick knacks, furniture, tools and even half-full bottles of cleaning products will sell.
Prepare the home
Clean out the cupboards and the refrigerator, wipe off all the glassware, remove all personal items and declutter the home. You’ll also want to get lots of tables to set all the items on for sale.
Make sure each item has a price tag
Create a price tag for each item that includes the price and item description. When the item is sold, remove the tag and keep it for your records. That way you’ll know exactly what was sold and for what price when the sale is over.
Take your time
Getting a home full of a lifetime of possessions ready for an estate or moving sale takes time, as much as a month in some cases. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare so you’re not rushed or accidentally get rid of something you’ll wish you kept later.
Once you’re ready to host your sale, taking out a notice in the local paper and on Craigslist is a great way to let estate and moving sale shoppers know about the sale.
We often have sentimental attachments to our possessions. That’s why it is so easy to accumulate so much over a lifetime and so hard to let it go. As you work with your family or your parent to downsize, have compassion and understanding when family members want to hang on to certain items. Even though you may not see the value in them, the object may have significant meaning for them.