Preparing for an Estate Sale

  Most of us are familiar with moving.  Some of us have moved far more times than we'd ever hope to repeat.  Others have stayed in their starter homes for the entirety of their married lives and a few lucky (or unlucky, depending on your view) souls have inherited their family home and been able to avoid moving altogether.  In almost every person's life, however, there comes a time when moving is inevitable.  Oftentimes this falls toward the end of our lives when we have the least desire to move and have probably accumulated the most possessions.  So, how do we prepare for this change if we are either moving into a smaller apartment, a room in the home of one of our children or into an assisted living situation?  Most people choose to have an estate sale to rid themselves of the most items with the least amount of physical wear and tear.  You can have an estate sale without selling the house, just the possessions, or you can try to sell your home at the same time.

First of all start off by assessing your belongings.  You will most likely require a notebook for this job.  Divide your items into categories, ie. Furniture, appliances, linens, tools/garage items, books, kitchen, etc. Physically go into each room of your home & look at what you've accumulated from that category.  It's easier to do this by category because furniture is found all throughout the home, garage items or tools may be found in several different places, artwork is throughout, you get the idea.

Beginning with the larger items, write a list.  If you have an idea of where that item will go when you move, or who else would enjoy that item, write it beside the description.  If it is something that you cherish & want to bring with you, or that you will NEED when you move, put a heart beside the item description.  If it is something that you plan to sell in the sale, put a dollar sign beside it.  This seems like an easy task, but even with larger items, you'll probably be amazed at how much writing, wrestling & thinking you need to do for the items.  Each of these things have memories associated with them, and if you're not generally a nostalgic person, this process may bring unexpected emotion.  Recognizing that beforehand can help you to be able to appreciate your life in a whole new way, appreciate that they've served you well over the years & think of ways that someone else may be able to benefit from them now.  Do not be daunted if this step takes a few days.  It's better to think through the decisions and feel good about them than to rush the process and second guess yourself later.


Once you've completed the large items list, you can list things for sale or have a family member list things for sale to begin the selling process while you go through the rest of your belongings.  You may need help with some of these, especially if you tire easily or they require a lot of lifting.  The first step is to think about where you're moving to.  Can you have a few furniture items there?  How many clothes will you be able to bring?  Will you have a spot for beloved items or hobby items?  Now go through your things and choose those items that you absolutely LOVE that you know you'll be able to fit into your new space.  Set them aside in a specific area of the house.  While you're weeding through everything else in your home, you can continue to add to or remove items as you see fit.

Next, accumulate numerous boxes,  different sized trash bags, tape, rubber bands, and markers.  If there are things that you know immediately that you'd like to donate, just put them into a box, tape, label and get them out of your way.  Most of the items will probably fall into the sell category, so begin grouping them together in easy to access places.

Most people do not sell clothing on their estate sales, but prefer to donate it or sell on a garage sale.  You decide how to best handle this, but the clothing and shoes should be boxed up.  Hanging clothes are most easily moved on the hangers, if manageable.  Cover about 10-12 hangers with an upside down trash bag with a hole in the bottom to accommodate the necks of the hangers. Rubber band the hangers together, & be sure to tie the bottom of the bag so that the clothing does not get dusty or stained.

When you are able to thoroughly empty an area of the house, take a moment to deep clean the area, or have someone else do it for you.  It will make you feel so much better to be fully finished in the end, & if you're selling the house, it will make it far more appealing to a buyer.

Downsizing and moving are easy words to say, but they require much in the way of emotional and physical strength and energy.  You can be proud of yourself once you've completed this monumental task & perhaps find a way to reward yourself & those who've helped you to complete it!  Life is full of times to celebrate, & while it may seem strange to you to celebrate the downsizing of possessions, just think of all of the extra time you'll have to do things you enjoy when you have less things to take care of!  This life change is definitely a positive one, relish in it!  






Moving to Assisted Living? How to Downsize


  Downsizing is one of the most popular trends around the nation right now.  There are as many motivations to downsize our lives as there are lives.  Some downsize in order to move into tiny houses, some downsize in order to simplify their lives, or to allow them more time to travel.  Today we're going to talk about downsizing our possessions in preparation for a move into an assisted living situation.

How many of us are living with entirely too many items in our possession?  If we're honest, probably nearly every person in our country could stand to shed some excess in this area.  We've all got excess.  If you raised a larger family, especially on a homestead or farm, you most definitely have excess.  We're not here to examine how we find ourselves in such a situation, however, but rather how to deal with getting rid of some of the excess so that we can move forward into a healthier atmosphere for us!

The house.  What to do with the house?  It's a hugely daunting question if you've never considered how to make a transition from owning your own home to living somewhere else.  There is a proverb that says, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  This is precisely how you'll need to deal with getting rid of your house & possessions, one small step at a time.  First, know that you will not be able to do this alone, or quickly.  It will take time.  The first step would be to get an assessment on the value of your home/property.  Check with a local realtor with whom you can list it if you will be needing the income in order to fund your move into an #assistedlivingfacility.  If you do not need that extra income, consider giving it as an inheritance to someone you love, or preparing to sell it in order to gift the profit for those you love.  When you begin discussing the process with your family, be prepared for all kinds of emotional responses.  People have a number of emotions that are connected with places and memories & it is natural to see a full spectrum.  If there is a smooth way to pass it on or sell it to a family member without causing resentment, do so, otherwise you should feel no guilt at selling it on the market to avoid resentment between family members.

Once you've answered the largest question, you'll more than likely have an easier time with the smaller things you need to deal with.  It will also help you in other areas.  If you're selling or gifting the house, you'll have a time frame within which to work in order to have your things taken care of.  You can decide whether your large appliances or farm tools will convey with the house or property.  The smaller items will become much easier to handle.

Beginning with the more valuable furniture and possessions, decide which things give you joy & those that you'd like to have around you for the remainder of your life. Do not feel guilt about having them moved.  Do you enjoy playing an instrument?  Will you have room in the place you're moving to? Bring it along & you'll find that after you've downsized, you'll have more time to practice.  Do you have a favorite hobby?  Bring the items along that will enable you to participate in the hobby as long as possible.  Downsizing does not mean getting rid of everything you enjoy, but rather narrowing your scope to keep only those things that you DO enjoy and ridding yourself of the rest.

If you can, try to go through your home in categories & move as quickly as you can from one category to the next.  Discard those things that have no value to you or others.  Donate those items that have use to a charity.  Goodwill is working together with USPS to accept items that you ship free of charge.

You'll have obvious needs where you're going.   If you need kitchen items, consider which ones are the most pertinent to your situation.  Now is a good time to get rid of the excessive kitchen gadgets, pan collections, tea sets, silver service, etc.  If you're moving to a smaller location, you'll more than likely not be the one hosting large family gatherings & will, therefore, need fewer kitchen items.  Keep basic linens & clothing items.  Keep photos that are meaningful to you, distribute the rest that may hold more meaning for others in your family.

Above all, keep the lines of communication open with all of the people who will be affected by the decisions you're making.  You want this move to be a positive one for you and for your family, so don't allow petty miscommunications and misunderstanding to ruin the good things that can come from this time of transition.  Moving is always stressful, but taking it one step at a time, one day at a time, you'll be able to accomplish the huge task of downs