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Old 12-06-2011, 09:09 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Libertyville, IL
Posts: 482
what are the options for disposing/selling the contents of a house?

Here's the situation... My mother has downsized from the four-bedroom house she lived in for 35 years, and moved into an independent living facility. She took several rooms of furniture with her, and what remains is a house filled to the brim with outdated clothes, lots of kitchenware, knick knacks, etc.

I don't think there is anything valuable enough for an estate sale, and I live over an hour away from the house, and don't have the time to organize and plan a garage sale.

I'd like to sell what can be sold, and donate / throw away the rest - without a huge investment of time.

Are there any companies or groups that will buy the contents of a house, or organize a garage sale? Basically, what are my options? Thanks.

This house is near Milwaukee, WI.
Old 12-06-2011, 11:00 AM
Chicago Savant
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,222
You can contact a company in that area that does estate sales and see what their opinion is. Perhaps a better option would be to contact her church or a similar organization meaningful to her and see if they might have a volunteer group willing to conduct a tag sale in return for keeping the proceeds (or 75% of the proceeds). Finally, you might contact the local childrens hospital or similar thrift shop and see if they'd be willing to pack and remove the contents of the house.
Old 12-06-2011, 11:14 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southeast Florida USA
Posts: 21,037
Any such comanpies will be local to your Mom's area. So getting a local phone book would be helpful.

When I had to do a similar thing I called local thrift stores & antique shops & asked them. After talking to 3 or 4 I had the names of some folks who ran estate sales. And of folks who'll buy up a whole house of stuff, haul it back to their place & later sell / auction the stuff.

For our situation we had to empty a 2-bedroom condo. First we Goodwilled all the clothing, small appliances, kitchen gadgets, etc. And donated the pantry contents to a food pantry. The furniture was high end stuff but 30+ years old. As was the bric-a-brac. We sold the whole lot to an auction house for $500 for everything.

In all it took about 3 man-days to sort & bag all the stuff for Goodwill & the food pantry. Then we called Goodwill to send a truck & we delivered the food to the pantry. The next day the auction guys took all the furniture & bric-a-brac & we were done.

The hard part to get used to is that there is essentially zero dollar value in old (but not 1850s antique) furniture, even if it was expensive stuff when new.
Old 12-06-2011, 11:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 27,422
If you want fast and don't mind not getting any money out of it, there are always guys with pickup trucks. One around here cleans out homes/attics/garages. He hauls everything and disposes as he sees fit.
Old 12-06-2011, 12:04 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upper left hand corner
Posts: 4,604
I recently dealt with this for my parents. I found that Habitat for Humanity 'ReStores' will take EVERYTHING. They cleared out house, garage, workshop - even taking half used paint cans etc. - saved me from having to find hazmat sites.

The told me that they have a group of volunteers who even repair/recondition small appliances and so on.

They use the stuff for their own projects sell at their ReStores or recycle. Everything gets used or properly recycled.
Old 12-06-2011, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Lovely Montclair, NJ
Posts: 12,421
When my brother's father in law passed away, the MIL moved out of the house, and they sold the whole thing at auction. The furnishings, knicknacks, tools, clothes, and the house itself all in one day. These were folks who lived modestly, out in the middle of nowhere, I don't believe they had any particularly valuable items to auction off.

I can't say they got the best possible price, but it sure got done.
Old 12-06-2011, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 224
I knew a woman whose business was cleaning out houses of people who had died or moved to assisted living. She charged no fee, but kept everything, took the junk to the dump and sold the good stuff on e bay. A google search might find someone like that in your area.
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