Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Doesn't Hurt to Ask

I sometimes get teased by my staff about particular items that I put price tags on. Their assumption is that no one is going to buy that or no one is going to ask about that. After a few years of experience, I have learned that while pricing items, I have to think like a shopper--- and not just your average shopper. After all, these are estate sale shoppers were talking about here! :-)  Now, I'm not talking about items that you would think are trash items, I'm talking about very sellable but not your usual 'for sale' items. I have often had to come up with an off the top of my head price for items that I didn't think anyone would inquire about. For instance, cemented lamp posts in the yard, decorative cement blocks or bricks that are used to create a walk way, the rosebush or purple jew planted in the yard, The satellite dish on top of the house, light fixtures in the ceiling, the barn in the backyard and the list goes on. Many of these items we have sold unexpectedly. This is why I titled this piece, "Doesn't Hurt to Ask." Depending on the circumstances with the sale of the home, for example, if the home is going back to the bank, many of the items I mentioned can be sold. So remember, be bold be brave and always ask. We may chuckle for a second but you just never know. It never hurts to ask!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Who's Right For You?

When considering the decision to have an estate sale, families typically are already dealing with a plate full and, feeling your way through the estate sale process may seem scary and overwhelming. I'm sharing tips from a great article to help simplify the process. The main result should be to go with a person that you feel a connection with after the face to face visit-- NOT the company who quoted the lowest fee; otherwise, you may get exactly what you paid for.  I say this because there is a lot of trust involved when hiring a company to do your estate sale so in addition to doing your homework always ask for and follow up on references!

These tips are courtesy of Carol Madden with 
What do I look for in an estate sale company?
  1. CHOOSE at least several estate sale companies (if possible) to contact that work in your area.
  2. CHECK the internet for any reviews on the companies you will be calling.
  3. CALL the estate companies: Ask them about their business experience, staff, and services they provide. Be sure to ask if they are insured and, in some states, licensed. You may also want to ask them about visiting their next sale and tell them you would like to speak with past clients. 
  4. SCHEDULE appointments for face-to-face interviews only with companies you felt provided you with satisfactory answers during the phone interviews. Be sure to schedule the in-person interviews several hours apart or even on different days so they don’t overlap.
  5. SHOW the estate liquidator through the property. Point out any items that will not be included in the sale, and if you have any items where price is a concern, discuss it with them at that time.
  6. ASK them about their crowd control policy, pricing (how they research prices), credit card acceptance and any associated credit card fees, security, staffing, staging the property (when they would want to start and how long it would take), and what their current schedule of sales is. Additionally, ask how many days they would conduct your estate sale, whether they allow anyone (staff or otherwise) to buy before the sale starts (presale), whether they will be required to collect sales tax, obtain any necessary permits, and place advertising (where and when).
  7. INQUIRE as to commission or fee. What they charge is not as important as hiring a reputable, experienced estate sale company that will work to achieve the best results possible in current market conditions in your area and make the process as stress-free as possible.
  8. FIND OUT from the estate sale company how and when you will be paid and whether or not they provide clean out services (what do they charge) or do they have a company that will (again ask about the fee).

TAKE NOTES AND DON’T MAKE A DECISION UNTIL YOU HAVE MET AND TALKED TO ALL THE LIQUIDATORS WITH WHOM YOU HAVE APPOINTMENTS. Take time to review their answers to your questions and any notes you made about the estate liquidator (attitude, appearance, demeanor, apparent knowledge and any recommendations).

Monday, February 15, 2016


So after a long weekend working an estate sale I decided to go to the roller rink. Yes, there are still a few around! It was so nostalgic and my thoughts went back to those childhood days when indoor roller skating was super popular. The music, the people dancing on skates, the nachos--yes its all about the nachos :-) This experience got me to thinking about how many of my customers feel when they walk around at an estate sales. You may see an item that will immediately take you back to those carefree days of childhood and bring about a warm feeling inside. For me it would be an old perculator--- reminds me of my grandmother who wouldn't miss a day without her coffee and would sometimes let us sneak a sip or two. I remember one of my worker's almost threw away an old milk carton and I told him that someone will purchase it simply because it reminds them of their childhood. Lo and behold--it sold. What nostalgic finds have you come across in your estate sale endeavors......?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What's Hot What's Not

Just like with fashion and music, trends come and trends go. Having been in the estate sale industry for over 5 years I have noticed that we experience the same effects with our shoppers. I remember during the early years, I could get a pretty strong penny for a collection of Noritake china or vintage "brown furniture" i.e. Drexel, Broyhill etc. Unfortunately, these are items among our What's Not list. However, there will always be collectors and dealers still on the hunt for these great items and we welcome them! I'm noticing among our What's Hot list, and has been for a while, is vintage Pyrex, Albums are definitely making a comeback, more modern furniture pieces, and items that can be used for repurposing i.e. old fish tanks or TV consoles. I truly believe that there will always be a find for every shopper. What will be your next great find? Until brown furniture becomes the it thing again-- happy shopping! 

                                          Check out these great repurposing ideas!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

What Chaos?

At Count It All Joy Estate Sales, our motto is "We bring clarity to chaos." I thought the day after Christmas would be a great time to share a couple of tips on how to avoid building up clutter as we enter into a new year.

Tip #1-- So you got a special new sweater for Christmas. That's awesome! Now walk to your closet and locate that sweater that you haven't worn in the past 2 years or can't fit anymore and place into your donation pile. After all, you have this lovely new sweater to replace it with! Now what shoes shall we replace with our new Christmas pair?

Tip #2-- Get rid of the old. Start planning now how you want to handle those Christmas decorations before you take them down. If you love the joy of shopping for Christmas decorations, get those boxes labeled and ready now. With the exception of sentimental items, you can donate or sell online the old stuff. Designate a very LIMITED space in your home and hit those estate sales in January/February for awesome deals on Christmas decorations! This gives you an opportunity for a fresh new look year after year. Once that Christmas space has been filled--cut off the shopping! No, the entire attic space does not count as limited space. Pick a closet or a small square footage of space in the attic.

I will provide more tips throughout the year to help you bring "Clarity to Chaos."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


What can you expect from this blog? I hope to provide you with tidbits for navigating the world of estate sales! So if you've ever had questions like, why are there long lines hours before the doors open? Why shop estate sales vs retail/garage sales? How do I know if I've found a hidden treasure? To negotiate or not to negotiate? Am I hiring the right estate sale company? These and many other questions will be addressed throughout the course of this year. I have been in the business for 5 1/2 years and have learned a lot-- some through trial and error. This blog will be fun but informative and is designed for my estate sale pro shoppers and my newbies. Welcome to our journey together!