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  • Andrea Garcia

Holding Estate Sales: What You Need To Know

Estate sales are often held during stressful times, whether you are downsizing to a retirement home or your loved one has passed away. The entire process can be handled by a company, but if you want to do it yourself, here are a few important things you need to know.

Before the Sale

The bulk of the work comes before the sale starts. Holding an estate sale is not a job you can do alone, so be sure to enlist some help. You’ll need it every step of the way.

Take Inventory

Before you can sell, you need to know what you have. Go through every drawer and closet and decide what you will be selling, what needs to be repaired, and what should be thrown away. If there’s anything you don’t want to sell, remove it or lock it up since the whole house will be utilized for the sale. Give family members a chance to decide what they want before the sale is opened to the public.


Take advantage of all of the space in the house and display items where they would typically be used, for example, arrange dishes on kitchen counters and hang clothes on garment racks in bedrooms. Group similar items together and use boxes and bins to hold small items, like books.


If you have valuable or antique items, it might be worth getting a professional to appraise them. For everyday items, remember that buyers are looking for bargains at an estate sale. Think about how much you would pay for an item, and do some research. Check price guides online or at the library, and look for how much similar items sold for on websites like Craigslist and eBay. Consider a blanket discount on all items for each day the sale goes on, such as 25% off on day two and 50% off on day three. However, don’t advertise the discount—you don’t want shoppers to skip the first day of the sale waiting for prices to drop.


Now that your estate sale is set up, you have to let people know about it. Advertise your sale in your local newspaper, on social media, and on websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and

During the Sale

Take some security measures during the sale to ensure it runs smoothly. While most people are honest, theft is an issue at any sale. Have your helpers watch the entrances and exits and walk through the house to greet and assist customers. You can manage your customers even better if you limit the number of shoppers inside by having them form a line or take a number.

Unsold Items

You’ve made it through the sale! Now, what do you do with the items that are left?

Either after you’ve held your estate sale, or in lieu of one, you can use an estate buyout service to sell all of your items in one fell swoop. The company will assess your items, make you an offer, and remove the items for you if you accept.

If you choose not to use a buyout service, you can donate or throw away the remaining items yourself.

An estate sale is a big job during an already stressful time. With these tips and a few good people, you can hold a successful estate sale. And, as a family transition specialist, I would love to connect with you to see how I can help make rightsizing and downsizing a seamless process.


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