Estate sales are a lot of work, and they can feel overwhelming at times—especially if you’re foregoing professional help and running the estate sale on your own. Use this guide on what to do before an estate sale in order to make the process run as smoothly and peacefully as possible.

Evaluate What You Have

Go through the home and take an inventory of all the items. Make sure to check in places people commonly hide or store valuable items, such as dresser drawers, jewelry boxes, safes, and underneath furniture. As you’re completing the walk-through of the house, keep an eye out for family heirlooms or other items you or your family members may want to keep.

Handle “Not For Sale” Items

Clearly mark the items you or other people in the family may want to keep. If you need to move these items over a long distance or if moving them on your own would be too difficult, look into hiring a third-party logistics company to pack and ship your items of value. They can come pick up your items, pack them, and ship them for you.

If you’re unable to move the items prior to the sale, choose one or two rooms of the house to fill with the “not for sale” items, and keep those doors locked to prevent confusion and accidental sales. If this isn’t possible, simply label each item “not for sale” so that customers will be able to identify them with ease.

Update What You Can

For older pieces of furniture or décor that your family wouldn’t mind passing on to another home, try to update or clean the items. You may be surprised what a dusting and a wipe-down can do for an item’s value. You can give old dressers new life simply by exchanging the handles and knobs for updated ones or by giving it a fresh coat of paint.

Price Everything

Doing the proper research on every single item in the home may be unrealistic, but knowing what things are generally worth can really increase your profits and negotiation power. Good resources for pricing items are resale apps and websites as well as local antique stores. If you think you may have a unique item or something worth a fair amount of money, see if an expert can take a look at it. It never hurts to try to sell larger or more niche items at antique stores or online before your estate sale. Be sure to clearly label items with their prices to reduce work and confusion during the sale.

Promote Your Sale

One of the biggest hurdles in an estate sale is getting people to show up. Get the word out and remind people often of the day and time of the sale. Post on your personal social media accounts and on local estate sale pages. Put up signs in public locations such as parks and shops, and clearly mark the route to the home from nearby major streets.

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