We’ve handled the estates of many prominent United States government and military officials – multiple members of the U.S. House of Representatives, federal judges, staff at agencies ranging from the CIA to the Secretary of State, high-ranking military officers, and many more. Some projects certainly required greater degrees of privacy than others – but one government official’s estate liquidation and home cleanout initiative stands out above the rest. The key to liquidating a U.S. government official’s estate in this case?
The family’s goal? Do good.
The surviving family members wanted to accomplish as much good as possible with the contents of the very large home they inherited, which is exactly why they hired us.
That job was already going to be an expensive one, and even more expensive if we did what we usually do – taking sellable items to auction and specialty dealers, transporting all donations to charities, and hauling away the trash. There was so much good furniture that wasn’t quite sellable, clothing, and household items to donate that the mountain of it was far more than local charities were willing or able to pick up on a short deadline – and very costly for us to move. The house was humongous.
With the family’s permission and help to make some local contacts, we first met with the minister of the church the deceased attended. The minister spread the word through his congregation that furniture and other items ranging from clothing to kitchenware were available to congregants at no cost: They just had to show up at a certain time and we would load whatever they wanted into their vehicles for them. Multiple members of the church who were in need found other members of the church to help them rent or borrow large vehicles.
But that made only a dent in the donation mountain.
A free yard sale to liquidate a U.S. government official’s estate?
The next key to liquidating a U.S. government official’s estate? Again with the family’s blessing, we decided to conduct a free yard sale to find second homes for a ton of donatable items while we loaded our trucks with auction goods. Neighbors spread the word on the local email list. We advertised the free yard sale on our social media and on key local websites. We put out signs saying that everything in the yard was free, and that people could take as much as they liked.
Word quickly spread from one church to another, and one family in need to another. Attendees promptly thanked our multilingual staff, speaking to us in Spanish and Korean for doing this because they couldn’t afford to buy many of the things even in second-hand stores. The free yard sale was just what they needed.
Meanwhile, college students picked up chairs and couches for dorm rooms. Parents picked up board games for family nights. Teachers carried away wheelbarrows full of school supplies. Men and women of all ages found clothing they liked. Self-described grease monkeys rescued tires and random used car parts for future projects. One elderly man filled his vehicle with plastic plants — telling us that he was too old and too poorly skilled to keep real ones alive.
The end result?
By the time we were done, we were able to keep the project on budget while also giving away the equivalent of two or more twenty-foot box trucks worth of items – including a great many that charities wouldn’t have accepted anyway. We brought a few rundown children’s bicycles to our own local Trek dealer, which in turn handed them off to a charity that repairs bikes and gives them away. A scrap metal service came to pick up recycled piles of scrap metal.
We also solved logistical problems for the family – renting a storage unit for them and filling it with items for them to retrieve the next time they came to Washington D.C. (The family promptly did so, avoiding the trap of becoming a storage unit sucker.)
Conducting the free yard sale took considerable extra effort by Orion’s Attic, but it ultimately saved the family money on labor charges and, more importantly to all of them, enabled us to give second lives to huge numbers of objects that may otherwise have gone to waste.
Our work enabled the family to promptly sell the emptied house while doing good for people in need and for the environment. Mother Earth – clearly happy to lend a hand — even keep the rain away until the moment we finished.
Check out a testimonial from the family of a former member of Congress whose estate we handled years ago. Rep. John Buchanan Jr. was a credit to Congress and a credit to the country.
Let us help you!
- Are you looking for an environmentally conscious choice to solve your estate liquidation and downsizing needs? Find out why we’re the green choice!
- Do you need help liquidating a U.S. government official’s estate? We can help — and operate with as much privacy as your situation requires. Contact us today.