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We moved to our retirement house about 4 years ago, after spending ~30 years in the old house. We had accumulated a ton of stuff. It comes from having the space to save it<sigh>.

Some of it was the accumulation that two boys acquire as they grow up. We gave the usable toys, skates, smaller bikes, etc. to the church and other charities.

Some of it was from departed parents and relatives. We didn't really need three sets of very dated silver plate (service for 12) cutlery nor the Zweisel crystal. (That was disposed of in an estate auction after my Mother died, along with kids BR furniture.)

All in all, it took about 6 weeks to sort through the stuff and pack. Discarding the true junk was helped by having a dumpster that the folks fixing up the old house had brought in. Another week or two was spent packing and moving the more usable stuff for future disposal.

If you are targeting May of 2014, consider holding an estate sale in April. An "estate sale" is a fancy name for a "garage sale" implying older, quality items. Sales have the drawback that not everything sells. The alternative is holding an auction.

Sort the things to sell, photograph it and inventory it. It facilitates describing what's available, especially if you hold an auction. (Most auctioneers post photos and inventory online at I encourage you to peruse the website for auctions in your zip code to give you the flavor of what they do and what is for sale.)

Unfortunately, most auctioneers are lousy photographers. They do an adequate job on tools and such. I set up a tripod to photograph unusual things for the auction before packing them in boxes. We included the quilts that Mom had and MIL's large "piano doll" and some German porcelain. That helped draw a larger, different crowd.

You have my utmost sympathy. It's a monumental task, but it is doable - and survivable.


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