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After two great weather days for our town-wide sale, I was rained out on Sunday. It started out sunny and I moved my wares outside as usual. As soon as I put the last item out, it started to drizzle. I had to rush to get the items under cover that would be most damaged by moisture like sheet music, postcards and paintings. The china and glassware can take it. By the time I was done, it was pouring and I got soaked to the skin. No  wonder I was the only one doing it within view - not like Saturday when I could see 4 other sales in progress. I feel like I did squart-thrusts all day yesterday! A lot of work for a middle-aged, female couch potato. I don't like having to rush to put things away.

One middle aged couple stopped before it started raining and said they did estate clean-outs. I said, "Yeah, but then I'd have to pay you." The woman answered, "Well, you have to understand that the process is very labor intensive." How do estate clean-out work - do they pay you for the merchandise or do you pay them to take it?

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Hi Lillian, The truth is Both are correct. It depends on what you have. I have used both approaches over the years. If the home has very good, high end or other very salable items, and not to much junk, I try to get someone to pay me something for them - usually a small amount of a couple hundred. In this way, I get the home cleaned out for the owner, and actually make a little bit more for their sale total.

In the other case, If most things are "junky", damaged, moldy etc, and or, if there is just a TON of heavy stuff, in those cases you do have to pay someone to remove it all. Prices range based on how much stuff has to be cleared out, and if a dumpster is needed. Normally, I would pay $300 - $500 for the job. Most clean out people take any usable items to a charity, and then separate the metals for scrap. The rest goes to the local dump.

That's pretty standard around here anyways.

Estate clean outs are VERY labor intensive....it is the hardest part of our sales, finding someone to do a good job at a decent price. Even if there are items left that can bring in some money for the clean out person/company, the amount of labor/paying labor/truck costs, and time spent moving items and in some cleanouts, trash, dump fees, hazardous materials fees, etc. they have to balance what they can POSSIBLY sell (that is not always a given...they don't make their money until they sell something)......against all their costs.  I found a great guy here who is a city fireman and does this on the side and he works his butt off for my clients and after all his guys and expenses are paid, he makes a small amount of money and usually most of the really "good" stuff sells at the estate sale, that's what people come for......so even there may be useable furniture, etc, that is the most difficult thing to store, sell and make any profit on and the small stuff takes forever for them to get any money for it.....it's a very, very tough business.  And my guy also donates what he can and will give my client a donation receipt.



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