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Friends, retirement and how to do an estate sale right

January 30th, 2006 at 07:22 am

Friday night was spent as a girl's night out and we had a great time. Stayed at a friend's house, brought treats to share, danced some salsa, laughed and met some new people. A reminder that friends are important!
My newfound $$'s aren't ringing in my bank account, yet, but they're definitely ringing in my head. There's a TEFL course in Barcelona for 4 weeks that would get me certified to teach English as a foreign language. I've applied to two schools for their March programs and we'll see what happens! The kicker is that any training I do needs to be before my third trimester since it's not good to travel after that. I checked out programs on the west coast for certifications, but they cost more money, were accredited by the same institutions and took at least a semester to complete. Forget it!
So, on to estate sales. My parent's sale was such a success. The woman they contracted to do the sale was very organized, professional, and knew her stuff. She and her workers took about a week to sort books with books, kitchen stuff with kitchen stuff, and so on. I.e. they made it easy for people to find the stuff that interested them. Once they had beds taken apart in the bedrooms and had everything laid out on either tables they had brought or bookcases they had brought, everything got a number. By numbering things, it helped to figure out what had gone missing or what hadn't sold.
Next came the pricing. I'd definitely suggest getting someone to help you price your things if you don't have a lot of experience in it. They got $175 for some crazy German soup kettle that was a wedding gift that they were originally going to give away. Paintings didn't sell for much, so if you buy artwork, buy it because you like it, not as an investment (in general). The bedroom sets were a big hit and went for almost the same prices they were purchased for. A good tip to make sure you know what things cost before you go to an estate sale!
On the day of the sale, Saturday, people first on the scene were given a number. The sale didn't open until 8 AM no exceptions. 25 people were allowed in at one time and the estate folks had a person in every room to keep an eye on buyers and answer questions. The second day of the sale was 1/2 off of everything and even then, my parents got good prices for things. They ended up selling 95% of their belongings and are now footloose and fancy free to travel down south for some much needed down time.
They've been retired since my mom turned 55, my dad a few years younger, but they never allowed themselve to actually do fun stuff. I think they felt guilty for retiring early and also felt that they needed to keep up the same standard of living - middle class house, middle class neighborhood, etc. It's taken them almost ten years to realize they really don't want all the middle class status symbols. Or maybe they realized it before, but never had the impetus to actually do what they wanted. Either way, I think they're happier.
So, if you're trying to retire, make sure you really enjoy it! And don't tie yourself down with what you think you're "supposed" to do when you're retired. You'll be much happier.

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