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Old 04-14-2022, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,255 posts, read 74,425,065 times
Reputation: 38269

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My dad had to move in with us and left his house that was completely filled with stuff. Mom was a hoarder and Dad had cleaned out some of her stuff, but there were still literally thousands of things. Some were antiques with at least a little value, many were collectibles that are now pretty hard to sell. Some just general household items (mostly from the 1970s and 1980s). I had no idea how I was going to deal with all this stuff. There simply is not enough time in my life to sort it, or even to haul it all outside to a dumpster.



I had an estate sale company from an upscale suburb look at it, and they said there was not enough sell-able to make it worth their while. They had not interest and we were really down. Not only was the task daunting, but to dad being told his lifetime accumulation of things was not worth selling was depressing.



We started sorting through it, but made little progress. Then my wife discovered All Out Estate Sales from Garden City. They came and looked and said they could make a great sale out of the contents. they seemed pretty excited about it. They told us to stop throwing anything away because we would never suspect the things that people like to buy. They spent weeks and weeks sorting, displaying and pricing things. They advertised the sale and got more than 500 people to come. Although there were no high value items, Dad netted over $5500 and I did not have to do a thing. All Out did everything. They even set aside a small amount of cash they found in various drawers or boxes, and also set aside important documents they found in odd places (like the title to the house). When the sale was done, they boxed up what was donatable and put everything else in a dumpster that they arranged. The house was left broom clean. I took 20 boxes of items to our favorite charity thrift store (they would have taken it to a charity, but we wanted to donate to the Kiwanis thrift store in Ann Arbor (amazing thrift store BTW) which was over 20 miles away and only accepts donations on Saturday mornings.


All out Estate Sales did all of this for 30% of the sale proceeds, plus we had to pay cost for the dumpster rentals (one for the initial sorting and one after the sale - $350 each which seems very reasonable). Given that I had no practical choice other than to hire someone to just dump it all, this was an amazing option for us and a huge huge relief for me. If I had tried to DIY for the estate sale we might have had 50 customers rather than over 500. We would not have gotten the house cleared out and Dad would not have netted anywhere near that amount.


My dad's realtor was amazed. He said most of his clients that hired estate sale companies did not come out all that well and were not happy with the company at the end of the sale. He is going to recommend All Out to his clients going forward. They were truthful and honest, good communicators, told us what to expect and did not have any hidden charges or nasty surprises. They were also very compassionate and recognize that this is a very difficult time for families regardless of whether the parents are still living or recently deceased.



I am passing this along because I know many people our age are in the same circumstances that I was in. What to do with all the wonderful stuff accumulated by our parents over their lifetime? This is the answer. I cannot think of any better way to mange this. I cannot describe accurately what an immense relief this service was to me. I had no idea what to do and just wanted to find a way to escape. This was a no hassle, no work solution that was also pretty profitable. I wish someone had referred them to me earlier.
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Old 04-15-2022, 01:41 PM
 
57 posts, read 121,219 times
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Thank you for the post!
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Old 04-15-2022, 03:26 PM
 
989 posts, read 670,542 times
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That’s good info! And as a lighthearted aside, my equivalent in Northern Michigan was having a good friend with a huge empty barn and 9 siblings in the area, as well as countless cousins and friends. The contents of my folks’ place were in the barn a few days after I called my friend, and everything found a home quickly. No money in it, however.
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Old 04-16-2022, 02:16 AM
 
20,859 posts, read 10,008,003 times
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OP---If you haven't already, review this company online. For example, you could put a review on Yelp or on Angie's (formerly Angie's List).
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Old 04-16-2022, 08:50 AM
 
Location: North of Canada, but not the Arctic
17,899 posts, read 16,075,323 times
Reputation: 21453
Sounds like the company my neighbor used. I couldn't believe all the stuff they were selling, even partially filled bottles of household cleaning supplies. There was a constant flow of people and everyone came out of the house with something.

btw, I saw your review on Yelp. You spelt "conscientious" wrong (contentious). Maybe you can change it?
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Old 04-16-2022, 04:49 PM
 
5,414 posts, read 2,635,818 times
Reputation: 14165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
Sounds like the company my neighbor used. I couldn't believe all the stuff they were selling, even partially filled bottles of household cleaning supplies.
Oh, I've seen plenty of estate sales where even the stuff in the pantry was still present. I'm not sure if it was wishful thinking that made them think someone might buy who-knows-where-it's-been-or-how-long-it's-been-there boxes of mac & cheese or half-used spices, or maybe just "eh, we'll clean it out later," but who knows-- maybe someone did.

Half-used cleaning supplies... well, I suppose half a bottle of Pine Sol is still usable, and for cheap... maybe so, rather than trashing it.

I mean, the thing about an estate sale is that I guess it's the opportunity to get something rather ordinary that you've been needing secondhand, which I suppose can be a plus if you want to pay less, it's no longer sold, and keeps perfectly-good things out of landfills (let's face it... some things you wouldn't want to buy secondhand for various reasons, but some stuff can be nearly as good as new).

(Then again, I've seen estate sales where I'm pretty sure the family didn't even go through the house at all, just handed the keys to the sale company and said "let us know when it's done." I've seen houses that still had their photos on the fridge, clothes still in the drawers the way they were left, paperwork still sitting around, deodorant and razors still in the bathroom cabinet, and even one with the cremains of the family pets still there.

I've seen estate sales where the minimum is done sometimes called "picker" sales-- which is basically descriptive-- come by and "pick" thorough piles of stuff, closets, dressers, the garage, etc. and see if there's anything you fancy; it's more time-consuming as no one has sorted or curated beforehand but then again who knows what you might find. I assume these are done on the cheap, perhaps by a family without much to pay but also who cannot clean out a house themselves, or when the person's stuff is just not going to be worth enough to make it worth the time to organize it carefully, or perhaps in cases of people who died with no family and lawyers are handling the final affairs. They can be interesting, but it's also a bit of an odd feeling to be rooting around someone's stuff in a house that looks almost like they simply walked out to go to the grocery store for a minute.)
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Old 04-18-2022, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,255 posts, read 74,425,065 times
Reputation: 38269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
Sounds like the company my neighbor used. I couldn't believe all the stuff they were selling, even partially filled bottles of household cleaning supplies. There was a constant flow of people and everyone came out of the house with something.

btw, I saw your review on Yelp. You spelt "conscientious" wrong (contentious). Maybe you can change it?
No. Some spell check changed it to the wrong word after I misspelled it. I tried to change it but cannot.
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Old 04-18-2022, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,255 posts, read 74,425,065 times
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YEs, anything we did not get out of there they sold. Boxes of pictures, old slides, a box of letters to some great great Grandmother none of us had ever heard of. There was even a picture of me and my wife that we missed, someone bought it.

Partially burned candles.

Half a bag of kitty litter.

a jar of chewing gum and candy.

A half tub of tide laundry detergent pods.

A checkbook register from the 1920s.

Lots of cleaning products car products, bug spray etc that was half or more gone.

Even spiced in disposable containers, like a half used up paper pepper shaker.

A lot of broken things were sold, especially if they were old or vintage.

There was a very amateurish portrait of my father that was done to hang on the wall of a set for a play he was in 25 years ago. No one in the family wanted it, it was not a very good likeness and pretty large. They sold it for $25.
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Old 04-18-2022, 10:58 PM
 
55 posts, read 40,838 times
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This is an annoying and really difficult problem and one which I have gone through as well. Unless someone has the time and knowledge, then it's a given that a lot of things in the estate will be sold for far less than what they are worth. Most would be lucky to get 50% of the ultimate value of an estate. Many people might think that its an 'I know what I got' kind of problem, but it's not. Often, an estate will have a number of items with recoupable value, it's just that finding the right people to buy them within the available time can be very hard. Time constraints are also imposed by the estate process itself; few people are willing to take months or years to warehouse and sell objects--these things need to be dealt with, and quickly. Families want things done and over with.

I envy those with families that do not have massive stores of heirlooms and other miscellaneous belongings. I swear that I will sell everything I own before I become old, just to avoid this exact situation.
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Old 04-19-2022, 04:48 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,255 posts, read 74,425,065 times
Reputation: 38269
Quote:
Originally Posted by michigan91 View Post
This is an annoying and really difficult problem and one which I have gone through as well. Unless someone has the time and knowledge, then it's a given that a lot of things in the estate will be sold for far less than what they are worth. Most would be lucky to get 50% of the ultimate value of an estate. Many people might think that its an 'I know what I got' kind of problem, but it's not. Often, an estate will have a number of items with recoupable value, it's just that finding the right people to buy them within the available time can be very hard. Time constraints are also imposed by the estate process itself; few people are willing to take months or years to warehouse and sell objects--these things need to be dealt with, and quickly. Families want things done and over with.

I envy those with families that do not have massive stores of heirlooms and other miscellaneous belongings. I swear that I will sell everything I own before I become old, just to avoid this exact situation.



I am sure there were some "valuable" things included in the sale. IN fact, I brought some over from our house, both to get rid of them and to make the sale more attractive to potential customers. I have a large collection of antique and vintage clocks. Some working, some not. I brought many of them and some other antiques over to the sale knowing that they may have once been worth hundreds but will likely sell for tens of dollars. On the other hand, I tried to sell a number of them in the past three years with little success.



I just look at selling some valuable things at a discount as the cost of attracting people in to buy the less valuable things. IF you warehouse, or sell all the "valuable" things then no one will want to come to the sale and you will not be able to sell the less or non-valuable things. If you have thousands of items, it will take you months or years to sort out the things of "value" Then you will have to hire someone to remove the other things from the house. During this time you may lose the opportunity presented by a hot real estate market and lose far more than the value of all the things combined.


This experience taught us a lesson. We have amped up our efforts to get rid of those "valuable things,and the not valuable ones. Many are broken/damaged items that we know will be quite valuable with just a little repair. It really will not take that much to fix them. The problem is there are hundreds of such tings and many of them have been sitting for 15 or more years waiting for that simple little fix. It is time to realize that I am never going to fix them and they are no longer valuable either (fixed or not). I can put them in a sale like this and someone will come along and say "Hey I remember that those are worth hundreds of dollars and this one just needs a little fix" and they will pay $20 or $5 for the thing. They can put it in there house for a few decades Who knows, maybe it will become valuable again one day. Maybe they will get around to fixing it and make a killing on it. Great. More power to them. I have realized that my focus has to change from fixing and selling such "valuable things" to simply getting rid of them so my kids are not forced to deal with them. Many valuable things have been left at the curb and usually disappear in a matter of minutes. Off to fill someone else's garage or basement for a few decades. It is sometimes painful to give away something that you paid $1000 for and it just needs a repaired leg, or a new wheel that should not be too hard to find, but it also makes you feel better to see the clutter dwindling.


We plan to live in an RV on retirement (health permitting) and you cannot fit stuff into an RV, so we will have to get rid of almost everything. We were already getting rid of stuff, but we have doubled our efforts and come to accept that it is impractical to sell many of these "valuable" things and we need to just give them away or toss them. It will be difficult to swallow. We have a lot of "valuable" antiques. Some that we paid thousands for. They will probably go last as we still enjoy using them, looking at them and the atmosphere they create in our antique home. Maybe if we wait long enough, they will once again become worth a few hundred dollars if not a few thousand. Right now antiques have almost zero value. Mostly they sell to people who recognize their former value and think that they must still be worth something.



The hardest things to accept are more recent. Hundreds of videocassette movies (VHS) mostly kids movies. Value $0. If you put a hundred of them in a yard sale or on the internet for $1 each, you might sell three or five of them. The rest will sit. You cannot even donate them. Most places do not want them. The hundreds of DVD movies are similar. They sell a little better, but you have to make sure they still work and are not scratched. The only way to do that is to watch them. I do not have hundreds of hours to watch hundreds of DVDs so I can maybe sell them for a dollar or two each.



What really hurts me is the game consoles and games. We probably had 8 - 10 different X-boxes, Play stations, WII, etc. Each had a dozen or three dozen games, most of which the kids said are scratched and do not work all the way through, but some are fine. Which ones? No way to tell. Also which cords go with each of the consoles? Not sure. Maybe the cords are over in the giant box of mystery cords all twisted together. Those games and consoles probably represent $20,000 of my income over the past 30 years, but now they are just junk. You might get $20 for a box full of them at a yard sale or online. Maybe. If you are lucky. And it will take at least five hours of your time to get that $20.



We are tempted to bring in All out Estate sales right now and just unload all of our crap. However you do not really get to pick out and keep the good stuff. The reasons estate sales work and are visited by hundreds of customers is that you are selling everything. Not just the junk you do not want anymore like at a yard sale. Estate sales must include the good stuff too if you are going to attract any customers. That is why they work while yard sales don't
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