1. Beware of auction houses! Some auction companies can be shockingly dishonest by controlling bids to fall within their highest commission parameters – and by directing some sales to their friends – or to their spouses for resale in their own shops. Make a detailed list before you give them anything and attend your auctions. Then kiss your assets good-bye.
  2. Before you sell your collectibles, check sculptures, paintings, carvings, china, etc., for signatures and markings – and try to determine the value by checking the Internet. A sort-of-do-it-yourselves ‘Virtual Antique Road Show.’ The money’s in the details; the devil’s in the dark.
  3. Get a longer closing date to give yourself more time to sell your stuff. You don’t want to be pressured into hustling your belongings out the door like an unwanted house-guest. Remember the rule of three: a minimum of 3 months for house closings and a maximum of 3 nights for visitors. Don’t get them confused!
  4. A yard sale is a great way to recycle. The trick is – price to sell, group similar items together and the bargain-pickers will line up around the block. Put boxes of “Free Stuff” at the end of your driveway and they’ll take that too and save you a trip to the dump. My garage runneth empty; my fanny-pack runneth full…of coins.
  5. Make a list of household items you want to sell and email or hand it out to everyone you can; friends, relatives, real estate contacts, trades people, the new buyers etc. You can sell lots of stuff this way. Be bold. You’ve gotta tell to make it sell.
  6. Parting with books isn’t easy. But a targeted donation can help to ease the teary-pain of separation. For example, I donated several boxes of children’s books to a Ronald MacDonald House, and a collection of creative writing books to my high-school teacher-niece, who made a special library for herself and her students. ‘Tis a far far better thing I do…than I have ever done hoarding my books.
  7. Charities are a great place to donate clothing and household goods. Many agencies will pick up right at your door. Recycling and consignment shops are also good options, but they have some restrictions on what they will take. A bit of homework is needed, but worth the effort. So when in doubt, don’t throw it out.

Final word: Mucking out the memories was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It’s amazing how we boiled it all down to the bones and survived the madness. The good news is – I love that a lot of our stuff has been recycled to someone else out there. The bad news is – I hate that a lot of our stuff has been recycled to someone else out there. It all depends on the day.

Now as I sit and write this rhyme,
I look back on those days in time,
Remembering how we were stressed,
And acting like two fools possessed.
So here’s the moral to my tale;
Don’t put your big-ass-house for sale!
Stay where you are until you’re dead,
The kids can muck it out instead.

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