Entering the too-full home begins to get uncomfortable from the get go. The front porch is too cluttered, the entrance-way is filled with papers and stacks of books, the hallways are smaller than they were meant to become, piled high with broken furniture and once-hung paintings, children’s playthings from years gone by and boxes of God-knows-what stuffed past the tops. Deciding whether or not to help this poor family stems more from past phone conversations than it ever would from seeing this dilapidated homestead…filled with memories that tear at the heart and challenges too large for any single family member to attempt clearing and cleaning enough to market the property.
We begin with an overview; a walk-through, a general assessment. This allows me the ability to report back to the family if they are not there with us, with a guesstimate as to the value of the home’s contents. Vast collections of pottery or art might pale in value next to garages filled with early primitive tools or closets shoved full of postcards and costume jewelry. Merely because something appraises highly with an insurance company doesn’t mean a hill of beans when it comes to unloading it to the public in a four-day sale. Better you should have items that are currently collectible and hot with the general public than to get stuck with a home so fancy no-one would have a use for their museum-like items that most of us admire but never want.
My guess is that we have fared better over the years, for our clients as well as our own business, with a nice eclectic mix of useful household items and general collectibles interesting enough to make a decent marketable sale. People like to come and browse, digging through fishing tackle boxes, drawers of silverware, shelves of old musty books signed by the author’s and first editions hidden on the pages for the strong of heart and adventuress to discover. Truth be told the more vast the collection of items at hand, the better your chances of emptying the contents through a sale and discount day vs free and dumpster-fillings.
What other livelihood would allow it’s breed to feel so needed and appreciated, useful and sought after? We are a lucky lot that survive via junk and solutions to too much of it. It is few and far between that have found this path and made great struggles to succeed in pushing items from one family to another, making a living from moving items not wanted to other people who need and will pay for it. No formal education or earned diploma could give a person the gumption and know-how to empty a house and make money from doing so, box up a garage and pay for a dumpster through the goodies and know how to tell the difference. Although I have spent many years in school and am glad to have acquired the certificates I managed, no college credit I have mustered could have given me the satisfaction of earning the reputation I have in working for myself in this competitive field of junk-peddling and liquidating estates throughout the area. It makes me proud to be trusted and gives me pleasure to be needed.
My nearly twelve-year-old daughter, having read a bit of the above asked that I ‘dumb it down’ and try to write more smoothly and less smart. She has told me it is hard to read and sounds like it is more boring when I ‘write smart’ or don’t talk to the average person. My girl tells me it would be ‘easier to comprehend’ if I wrote more plain and simple. I don’t buy it. I have always thought we gave people less credit than they deserved. I think given a druther, most of us would rather be talked to as adults and bright, challenging people than to be talked down to.
At any rate, I am glad we can help others. I am relieved and blessed every time we finish a home, a week or so after entering the dwelling. The way we leave floors mopped and windows washed, closets empty and hallways clear. I like the feeling of completion nearly as much as the initial challenge. I like knowing we did the best we could, although we never sign a contract promising to do as much as we do, we seldom leave anything less than perfection and one would be hard-pressed to find another company anywhere that would work as hard for the money or do as honest of a job. I like our business, I think I may have been made just for this; solving problems and fixing families.