De-Stuff explains how to tidy up and move on

The U.S. Census bureau predicts the population aged 65 and older will more than double in the next 40 years, rising from 39 million today to 89 million. Seniors and their family members face a growing concern on how best to deal with a houseful of potentially valuable objects without getting fleeced.

In De-Stuff, A Step By Step Guide To Help Seniors Preparing For An Estate Sale & Downsizing, author Jan Robbins Durr pulls back the mystique of estate sales thanks to her background as appraiser and personal property liquidator. If you think the problem is one only facing those of advanced age, think again. Durr explains roughly 6 percent of Americans aged 55 and 65 move each year – creating a Baby Boom-fueled supply of second-hand goods.

The book is written particularly for those individuals who don’t know what to do with their lifetime accumulation of ‘stuff.’ It covers how to sort, research, price, advertise and dispose of items after the sale.

Through seven chapters of her 57-page, spiral-bound book, Durr emphasizes the benefits of a professional touch. However she explains the estate sale process in depth for those who are willing to try their hands at such a time-consuming activity.

Durr honorably publishes the ethics for the professional appraiser so that potential customers can frame opinions and advice. This is an often-forgotten aspect of many how-to books on estate liquidations, which is a welcome addition here. Did you know it is unethical for an appraiser to base a fee for service as a percentage of the assigned value of the appraisal? You do now, thanks to Durr.

Chapter 3 reviews items that rank perennially as popular sellers at estate auctions. The process is broken down into three major action steps, followed by a useful “Ten Steps to Organizing Any Room,” which seems a bit too simplified based on the rest of the advice.

De-Stuff is written from the perspective of an estate sale planner based in North Carolina. As such, the resources in the back of the book mentions only one West Coast auctioneer as a selling solution for high-end heirlooms. However, it does list three North Carolina and South Carolina auction houses.

At the end of every chapter is a lined page for the reader to add their own notes. Overall, De-Stuff is a useful book for someone faced with a household clean-up job or who is ambitious enough to hold their own sale.

De-Stuff, A Step By Step Guide To Help Seniors Preparing For An Estate Sale & Downsizing, Jan Robbins Durr, 2009, Catawba Publishing Co. $12. 704-717-8452, ISBN #978-1-59712-359-4.


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