Letting go isn’t easy. There’s many reasons why you might be organizing an estate sale, be it a downsizing for travel, a new move, or losing a loved one. Maybe you’ve adopted a new minimalism, or a bought a tiny house, or maybe you’re just about tired with most of your current possessions. Whatever the reason—there’s a lot to consider in organizing a sale of this kind.
Many decide to hire professionals to handle the estate sale’s details, but there’s no reason why you can’t run a large-scale sale on your own, provided a little help. However daunting the prospect of selling the majority of a household is, there’s a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind as you begin to organize the sale.
Take Your Time
Take a breath. Organizing an estate sale takes a lot of time and effort, so you’ll want to plan accordingly. Account for other peoples’ schedules, in case you plan on enlisting help from friends and family. Try to give yourself about a month to prepare the sale—this won’t be something you do overnight.
Create an Inventory
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to make a complete inventory of all the items you plan on selling. Keep an inventory, too, of the items you won’t sell, and mark them accordingly. If certain items need cleaning and/or repair, mark it down—you might even mark the condition of your items overall, which will aid you in researching fair prices for each item. One helpful way you might organize your items is by room. Mark items you’ve already inventoried with a sticker to keep track.
Compare Prices, and Price Wisely
Once you’ve inventoried, then you’ll want to go online and research prices. You can compare catalogs, price guides and craft and auction websites such as Etsy or Ebay for a better idea of what you might sell something for, or you can bring certain items to an appraiser for evaluation. If the item is an antique, or particularly valuable, you might find better luck auctioning it.
Don’t Overcrowd Rooms
When you’re organizing the sale, be sure not to stuff every room to the brim. Allow plenty of space for shoppers and visitors to walk without bottlenecking, or worse yet, knocking something over.
Have a Few Friends Help
You’ll want to have a few friends or family members volunteering at the sale to ensure security and, of course, to give yourself a break every once in a while. Helpers can aid customers with loading items and answering questions, as well as protecting against potential shoplifters.
Get the Word Out
Go to your local print shop and make plenty of signs with large lettering, naming the date, time and place. Ask friends to help distribute them, or give them a few fliers to hang or hand out at work, restaurants or local shops. Take out ads in your local paper and use social media to ensure the maximum reach. You’ll almost certainly want to post to Craigslist under “garage sales.” In all of your ads, ensure that you name it explicitly as an estate sale.