Well, it happened again this week--TWICE! I had two hopeful families call me asking about my estate sale services and they had many questions. But I always begin the phone call interview with a few questions of my own such as where is the estate?, have the heirs taken what they want?, and finally have you done any cleaning up before you called me? On both calls we exchanged information but when we got to the last question about clean up on both calls there was a LONG LONG pause.
The voice on the other end of the line answered, "Well, I did give all of the WW II memorabilia to my gardener's son who said he was a collector. AND I gave momma's costume jewelry to my 8 year old neighbor because she might like to play dress up, AND I took all of daddy's tools and gave them to the nice neighbor who dropped over and said he could sure use them."
I continue to question --Do you have any scrap books, old toys, vintage cookware or barware or linens or handbags or local early advertising? And the dreaded words come--"Oh, that old stuff?--I threw it away, but I have a lovely Maple Ethan Allen 30 year old dining room set and a really beautiful King sized bedroom set, but it does have a stain, and two 1980's TV sets that work just great!"
What these two families have in common is that they ruined their family's estate sale prospects. If you are ever in charge of an estate---
1. DO NOT begin to indiscriminately give things away. Of course, you want your heirs to pick out what they want, but again don't be hauling things to a local charity or rounding up the neighbors to take the things from the estate AND then plan to have an estate sale.
2. Don't have a garage sale or sell on sites such as "Craig's List" and then call a professional estate sale conductor to finish the job. Once the word is out that you have been selling ahead of time, it is very hard to get a professional Estate Conductor to
come and finish the job.
3. Most importantly, DO NOT throw anything away before you call a professional estate sale conductor to hold a sale for you. Of course, remove the medications, the personal papers, the photographs, and opened food, but DON"T REMOVE anything else. That scrapbook might contain old football ticket stubs, etc. (I sold two 1970 Super Bowl Ticket stubs this summer for 750 dollars and yes they were just stubs!)
All professional estate sale coordinators make a "no obligation" visit to your family's estate. Call someone in to advise you because you only have one chance to get it right for your parents' estate.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas and think of me if you are ever in charge of an estate.