All I have to say in my defense is that I’d never done this before. I had a pretty good idea about how long it takes to clean out a closet or pack for a move, but getting ready for an estate sale was brand new territory.
I watched a few television shows where a lady who ran estate sales up in Canada brought in a large crew and got ready for an estate sale in a matter of days, but in every one of the shows I saw, the owner of the estate sale property was completely out of the picture. The family who hired the estate sale company had spent weeks or months trying to get a handle on what they had and then called the estate sale company in desperation or complete frustration.
That wasn’t my case. I’d removed what my parents needed in their new apartment at the retirement center, but that had barely made a dent in what they’d collected in sixty years of marriage, forty years of which had been spent in the same home. A few closets were empty and there was some furniture missing, but wandering through the house, it still felt like they lived there.
Not knowing how long it would take to go through everything and glean out the items my sister and I would want to keep, I just got started. I cleared everything out of the den. Then I put the dining room table and the breakfast room table in there and started sorting. I began by opening up Mom’s cedar chest, because she had warned me it had the greatest concentration of family treasures.
Even though I’d prohibited Mom from “helping” me get ready for the estate sale, I felt as if she were right at my elbow watching every decision I made about what to keep, what to sell and what to throw away. I slowly but surely made my way through every item in the house and then I called the estate sale lady. That was a mistake.
I moved Mom and Dad into Whiterock Court on the first Saturday in October and a few weeks later I’d made my way through all the belongings we’d left in their house. Since I’d done the hard work, going through everything and sorting it into categories like linen, dishes, furniture, books etc., all that was left was putting it into attractive displays for the sale and marking prices on it. I figured we’d clean the house out by Thanksgiving. I was wrong.
I’d been collecting names of estate sale companies and getting referrals, so when I decided I’d done all I could at Mom’s house, I started making calls. The first call was a reality check. The earliest they could work me into my schedule would be February. FEBRUARY??? I’d been hoping to put it on the market and have a tenant moved in by February. There were several people who would do it January, but finally I found someone who’d had a cancellation and could start right after Thanksgiving and hold the sale in early December.
So, the moral of this estate sale saga is CALL THE ESTATE SALE LADY FIRST!! If you’ve been through this little exercise, do you have any helpful hints?