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How do I sell 35 years worth of stuff?


Rockoldpirate
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George Carlton was right, "a house is a place to keep your stuff". Well I am trying to figure the best way to unburden us from a house full of "stuff". We plan to sell our house and begin our journey next spring, and I was curious how others did all this. I have thought of garage sales, and then dear wife thought of estate sale any advise? I'm 62 and up for the challenge, but it is all very overwhelming.

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We gave all the furniture to our daughter - 'here's part of your inheritance'. Then I put up for sale on the bulletin board at work all the lawn furniture/outdoor implements, the china, the crystal. Donated the stereo system to the University for a new dorm they were building (huge system), donated all of the books to the library at the University, clothing, etc., went to Goodwill. Didn't want the trouble of a garage sale, and just took the donation value off the taxes that year. The one thing we didn't sell was the art work - shipped that to my sister and mother and we visited the pieces when we visited them. When we bought the park model last year we got the art work back.

 

Barb

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We went the estate sale route. Did not get as much money as we would have selling things ourselves but, to us, it was worth not dong the work. The company we hired, at the advice of our Realtor, left everything perfectly clean for the house buyers. I do wish we had sold a few of the more expensive things ourselves first, though.

 

Linda Sand

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We had an estate sale company come in and sell everything. They really earned their commission! They started sorting and organizing things on Monday, and the sale was held Thursday through Saturday. We were not there during the sale, but the neighbors reported that cars were lined up all along our street (which is a couple of blocks long), and up and down the next street. What little that was left after the sale was hauled away by a liquidation company. Everything was gone in about a week from start to finish.

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We first sold some big items separately - cars, boats, riding lawn mower, etc.

 

Then asked the kids to take what they wanted...turns out they had their own 'stuff' and wanted very little.

 

The rest was a whole house sale. We left everything in the rooms and had friends stationed in all rooms to help.

 

Then we donated what we felt was worth donating and finally...the town dump.

 

We decided to full-time in March and everything was sold and we were on the road by August. It went very smoothly.

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Having been married 38 years when I retired and going fulltime, here is what we did. Had several garage sales. Then we had an "estate sale" inside our house with prices marked on everything, and we were negotiable. Several things that our daughter was getting were locked in a spare bedroom. Things went out the door like hotcakes. Quite a bit stayed in the neighborhood. We didn't touch a thing, the buyers lifted and moved everything. One 3-day weekend and it was history! No auctioneer to pay, no taxes, gone!

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We went the estate sale route. Did not get as much money as we would have selling things ourselves but, to us, it was worth not dong the work. The company we hired, at the advice of our Realtor, left everything perfectly clean for the house buyers. I do wish we had sold a few of the more expensive things ourselves first, though.

 

Linda Sand

That's what we did. I did sell my guns and a few other items that I knew would fetch more myself, but the estate agent handled most items. Well worth the commission we paid.

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We sold a bunch of stuff on ebay, then had two garage sales. In our garage sale craigslist posting we listed a bunch of the more expensive items, then if we got calls from someone who wanted to buy, say, our violin and clarinet, we sold them and deleted them from the list.

 

Unlike most however, we did put a bunch of stuff in storage and now that we built a new house, are glad we did.

Edited by soos
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In our case it has taken a long adjustment. We went thru 2 moves in 2 years. The first move, we filled a big rental truck. The 5 or 10 large items that wouldn't fit we gave to our helpers.

The second move we realized we had not touched a lot of stuff from the first move. This helped us get serious. We still have stored items in our basement but only because we still have the room to keep it.

 

Since then we keep chipping away at it. Most of what is left, we won't miss when we donate it. Don't forget places like the Boy and Girl Scouts.

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We were a lot like Sculptor57 in that we moved several times in the past 10 years and every time we moved we got rid of a lot of stuff that we hadn't even unpacked from the last move so we obviously didn't need it!! After giving the kids the nicer furniture that was left we were all set to move in to the RV. It worked out very nicely!!

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Over our 40+ years of marriage at the time we went on the road, we seemed to have moved about every 10 years, which helped some but..................... At the point of heading out we had been in that house for 11 years and amassed a lot. We sold the house first to a couple who were buying their first home and so we also offered them the opportunity to look at all of our furniture. They did buy the bedroom set in the master bedroom, as well as my lawn tools that I gave a bargain price on since it was the entire package(lawn mower, edger, tiller, etc.). Before we began we gave our son's the chance to pick some things and gave them nearly all of our antiques. I also gave each son an item or two that we called "gifts with strings" meaning that the item was given to our kids to use, with the stipulation that if/when we left the road we had the right to recall the item. (Now that we have left, we did recall 1 thing from each of the sons.)

 

For all other things we had a series of garage sales. Much of the effectiveness of the garage sale route depends upon where your home is located. They seem to work far better if you are in one of the larger cities where there is a big market. The last of our sale items were sold as a package to a used household goods store owner.

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Take it one step at the time. My husband had his "guy yard sale". What was left went to Goodwill. Then I had the household yard sale. What was left went to Goodwill. Then I started listing items on Craig's List and stuff flew out the door! Saved enough to stage the house properly because a well staged house sells faster than an empty one. Then after the house sold, I put the rest of the items on Craig's list. What was left went to Goodwill.

 

The easiest way for me to do the process was to take one room at a time. Sort, throw out, mark boxes with "yard sale", "RV", "kids" if they ant things, "storage" (if you keep a unit"). Clean, make any repairs, and stage the room, shut the door and move on to the next room or area. Trying to think of everything in the whole house can be daunting. Hope that helps.

Carol

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We went through our stuff kinda room by room. If we felt it was worth an appreciable amount we put it on E-Bay or Craigs list. If it meant nothing to us it went out for garage sale, we had three garage sales, what didn't sell went to local charities. Any sentimental items along with a lot of my tools were boxed and stored at our daughters garage. In regards to the garage sale route we had to remember that "we want to get rid of as much as possible" so if someone offered .50c on something marked $1.00 we sold it rather than bicker. It's not that hard if your really determined to get rid of the "stuff".

Good luck,

Steve

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I forgot to say we moved a few things into a climate-controlled store room before the estate people came in. Each year we got rid of a few things from the storeroom until we moved into the 35' Class A which had enough room in it to put the remaining things from the store room. We mostly kept things like my favorite lamps, photo albums, and Dave's sheet music.

 

Linda Sand

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I want to thank all of you for some great ideas and more importantly motivation. I started gathering boxes today, and I'll start filling them tomorrow. Think I'll try a few yard sales and see where that gets me. I've never tried Craigslist, but I'm going to check that out too. Thanks again, your kind responses are a big part of why I want to be with RV'rs.

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I had over 44 years of marriage when my dear wife departed this life suddenly. in less than years I had my daughters tell keep for them or it was my decision. I opened boxes of decorations and emailed them pictures for more decisions. I hauled items to them, I gave a friend many boxes of craft books and kits to disburse I hauled items to a local auction House. In the end I had an auction with the remainder, Household furniture, pans, dishes, tools, antique (dishes, radios, clocks, guns, furniture, tractors and machinery). I then had an auction which the auctioneer kinda of underestimated. There was over 7 hours of auctioneer time.

Would I do differently, No. I do wish I would had someone helping me keep the auctioneer on schedule on pre-auction activities.

 

Clay

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We sold furniture, cars and larger items on Craigslist, had several garage sales and after each sale as I was putting stuff away I sorted out a trunk load of things to go to Goodwill. DH was in charge of the garage and shed and put lawn care items, tools, hunting and fishing stuff in the sales. Car and motorcycle stuff was purchased by someone he knew that keeps an inventory of used parts in his garage and building supplies/tools for building were purchased by a neighbor who was in the process of building a summer place. All in all it went well but it is a lot of work to mark everything. If it has some value, I would sell it on craigslist and/or e-bay.

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Another thought: put the big stuff on Craigslist, not eBay--you don't want to have to ship anything heavy or bulky. Let the buyer come pick it up. Although I've seen people who want to keep their location private meet the buyer in a mall parking lot to finish the transaction.

 

Linda Sand

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I want to thank all of you for some great ideas and more importantly motivation. I started gathering boxes today, and I'll start filling them tomorrow. Think I'll try a few yard sales and see where that gets me. I've never tried Craigslist, but I'm going to check that out too. Thanks again, your kind responses are a big part of why I want to be with RV'rs.

A couple of things that help a Craigs list ad- pictures is one,

and renew the listing every few days, to keep it in the first page or so.. Many people won't look at older listings,

It is an Excelent tool :)

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We also found that the garage sale ads in the local newspaper are a must! Many of those who frequent such sales use the ads to plan a route the day prior and are out early. Tools and sporting goods both tend to attract many more shoppers so try to have at least some of each at all sales and advertise them. Ads that list more items tend to draw more shoppers. The free shopper guides are also helpful.

 

As you sort through what to keep and what to sell, keep in mind that more people keep too much than keep too little. Consider how often you have used each item which you think that you should keep and then ask yourself if the use will really apply to life in an RV. On the other hand, plan to take at least some hobbies with you as you are not going on vacation but living and there will be days that you simply wish to putter about at home, just as happens in a stick house.

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We did what most have said. Our city highly regulated garage sales, so Craig's List was our main avenue to sell furniture and special tools, etc.. I had individual listings for specific items of value, and then when people came let them know the rest of the stuff was for sale. That worked too.

 

Salvation Army will pick up your stuff if you tell them how many boxes, etc.

 

One thing we didn't think of and had to deal with in 107 degree heat at the last minute was THE ATTIC over the garage. We had boxes of files and miscellaneous that had been in our previous house... it was a difficult job that we should have been working on box by box from the beginning. We had to go through some of the boxes paper by paper to be sure something critical didn't got tossed with the trash. I still have a box or two stored in a utility trailer and we've full-timed for 8 years now. Ugh.

 

Find the shredding company in your area and make frequent trips as you clear out the paper, dust and paper-lovin' silverfish.

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Back in 2002, contrary to a lot advice we stored a lot of stuff and I am very glad we did.

We did get rid of a lot of stuff though. We gave a lot to our kids and the Salvation Army, sold some on Craig's list. Had a yard sale without much luck. Made a lot of trips to the dump and put out a lot for the trash pick-up. I bet those guys had a party when we left.

 

A couple of years later we went back to NH and had a yard sale at the storage unit. The guy that owned the storage unit we rented had been a neighbor before we went full time and offered to let us us hold the sale at the storage lot.

He let us use the 10 by 30 unit next door to ours and we staged everything we wanted to sell in it. We sold quite a lot but what we were able to sell we got about ten cents on the dollar for.

 

We sold that stuff mainly due to pressure from friends and acquaintances that convinced my wife we should. However when we started deciding what to sell, all of a sudden she found she didn't really want to sell as much as she thought she would. Those same friends stopped full timing about a year after we did, had to buy everything and confessed that maybe we weren't so dumb after all.

 

We have spent about $15,000 buying what we need for the house we bought - stuff that we sold for maybe 10 percent of what it cost back then. If we had to replace what we had stored - like guns, complete woodworking shop, my wife's equipment for building miniatures, her genealogy research records and small appliances, it would have cost a lot more than what we spent for storage. Also some things like heirlooms that came from as far back as our great grand parents could not be replaced at any cost.

Edited by Clay L
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