We often work with clients faced with needing to empty out an entire house or storage unit. The reason may be due to downsizing, inheriting an estate, or over-accumulation. It can be daunting to know how to get the space emptied most efficiently and cost-effectively. Some of our clients are so exasperated they can only think of drastic options like leaving their doors open for burglars or lighting a match.
Here are 6 options you can use in combination:
Estate professionals will come to your house for free and assess whether or not an estate sale is appropriate for your stuff. Typically they are looking to see if there is enough value that they’ll make a profit on the project.
You don’t necessarily need to have antiques or unusual items. Many estate sales are made up of everyday items.
If appropriate, they would advertise and organize the entire sale either from your property or elsewhere. You would need to extract anything you want to keep prior to the sale. You receive a percentage of the sale. Some companies require that they have to receive a minimum dollar amount and you only receive a percentage of profits above that minimum.
If your stuff isn’t going to bring in enough value to make a full estate sale viable, estate professionals may instead offer to do a buy-out. Basically they offer you a flat amount for everything in the house. They handle removal of everything including furniture and donations/garbage/recycling. Typically hauling/dump fees are charged separately or taken out of the offer.
You can sell items through an auction house. Most auction houses offer free weekly appraisal events where you can bring in items or pictures. They also have specialists who can come to you and assess your items. We know of one local auction house that sell everyday items (provided there’s enough to meet a minimum value) but most focus on selling particularly valuable items.
Charity pick up
There are dozens of agencies with trucks willing to come to your house to take away re-useable furniture, household items, and clothing. Typically they are pretty selective because the items need to be in a condition to re-sell.
The last resort for clearing out a space is a hauler. They charge by the job, not the hour. Many haulers are environmentally sensitive and will separate a load into recyclables, donations and true garbage. Unless they are certified to do so, they are not legally allowed to take away household hazardous waste such as old paint, etc.
This won’t handle the issue of clearing a whole house but often the furniture is the most difficult to deal with. Consignment stores offer a way to sell furniture and get a percentage of the sale price. They will be selective, as certain styles of furniture just won’t sell. Most require you to bring the furniture to them or pay to have it moved there.
We are very well connected in the SF Bay Area; if you need recommendations for vendors of any of these services, just ask!