Helpful Info

A few tips for Home Clear Outs

Staying on-site during property removal may be difficult for some clients.

Many of our clients have lived in their homes for 20+ years and have accumulated many items over the years. When it comes time to hire a company to clear out a home, you may be overwhelmed by how much time you’ve already spent clearing items – knowing there is still much more to do.

Our team works efficiently and quickly to clear out an entire home. We normally ask that the client is not on-site for the clear out, but sometimes a client wishes to stay and watch.

The process of watching people taking art down from your walls, boxing up dishes that have been in your family for generations, and emptying closets of your old clothes may be stressful. It is also very emotional for some people. This may be a time when you may want to stop the moveout process to cherish the item one last time or maybe tell the team how you acquired the item.

Our team understands your attachment to your things and want to put you at ease – we also are very mindful of your time and try to work as quickly as possible to clear out your home in the most efficient manner possible.


Be aware that when the client stays on-site and asks the team to halt operations this may add extra time to your estimated total work. We’ve had clear outs last 2 weeks that were only estimated for 2 days because items were pulled off the truck, unpacked and then repacked.

Be assured when we pack up your home you will receive tax deductible receipts for all items donated and an inventory of your items you’ve decided to send to auction. You should also take photos of your belongings before the clear out begins so you know exactly what has left your home. This will ease your mind and allow you to step out of the home every now and then when you want to.

CLEARLY label items you are not removing from the property.

This is very important step. Once we begin to clear out the home, the team has been instructed to remove all items from the premises. We have been hired to tear down shelving, remove appliances and completely empty storage units. If an item you want to keep is not marked, we have no way of knowing you do not want it removed from the property.


A good way to do this is by placing tape on items that have clearly marked ‘Leave‘ or ‘For Family‘ marked on them. We will bring blue painter’s tape and markers and will conduct a walk-thru with you to label these items.

You can also set aside a room or closet and mark it ‘Off-limits.’ This will ensure the team does not disturb any items you definitely want to keep.

We ask that you don’t schedule other services while we are conducting the clear out.

You may be at the tail end of getting your home ready for the market. You have quite a bit to get accomplished in a short amount of time. When you schedule a home clear out, just be mindful that our team is working quickly and will be going in and out of the home.

  • Schedule painting for after the clear out is finished. This will save you many headaches.
  • Try not to schedule other contractors to perform work while our team is on-site. We are not responsible for other workers going in and out of your property.
  • If you must have other companies on-site please inform the manager on duty or team lead so they know who is to enter the home and where they will be located.

We hope these tips help you to prepare for your home clear out.

A Teacher’s Treasures.

As the Fairfax Estate Sales team prepares for our ‘Teaching Traveler Estate Sale’ I found myself surrounded by very familiar sights: heavy boxes of outdated schoolbooks, lesson plans spanning decades, notes, term papers, yearbooks so old you can’t read the covers, photos of everything, mementos and various small treasures given to a beloved schoolteacher. I remember seeing these same items in our home and all the letters and notes were addressed to my father.

Those same stacks of dusty letters and cards containing wedding photos or newborn baby pictures with other happy updates were scattered around the home. These from students that had moved on to the next phases of their lives, but wanted to share their wonderful news with their educator from when they were younger.

I saw the same type of faded class photos from each year he taught going back 30+ years, the stuffed animals, gifts and trinkets kept from those students that meant the world to him. And, as I helped clear the stacks this weekend, I was reminded of those same faded class pictures with all those smiling faces I would see in our garage or the shed and wonder where they all were now.

I always wondered why did my father keep all of these things? Why keep all of this paper & clutter? We could be using the space for OUR things! Who were these people taking up space in our home?

Why did all of these useless boxes have to follow him around? These dirty boxes packed with items from his teaching days in New York City tagged along with him all the way to Florida where he remained until he passed away. Why did he keep all of this junk? Was this even normal? We worried about this for many years.

We lived in a house surrounded by these mementos from these ‘other children.’ The ones that came before us and yes, we were a bit jealous. These ‘other kids’ were his family before we came along and would remain in his life until the end. We had to share apparently and we accepted that fact. He was so proud of those other children, as well, and we all needed to share in his admiration.

My dad and our current client are some of the great ones. The ones that shaped lives and gave all they had each and every year and the students were thankful for the opportunity to have crossed paths with such a fantastic person. How do I know? Because the mementos that are left behind speak volumes. Teaching is a gift.

As estate sale professionals, we don’t read the letters or cards, but if they are anything like the ones my father possessed, those cards are testament to a genuine person doing their best to train a child to be a good person. And, we all have that teacher that we remember who did this for us. For me, her name is Irene Matza and she was my Jr. High Science teacher. She was just delightful and so cool! I still remember her long dark hair and the hippy vibe she had. If you were lucky enough to land in her class you were truly blessed. After graduating my friends and I stayed in touch with her for years, but somewhere in college we lost touch. However, to this day I still think about her and how she made science a little more interesting & less intimidating for me.

I always wish there was more time to properly reachout to a huge community when a great teacher passes. Maybe if there was more time, we could track down as many people as possible and see if we can reconnect them with an item or memento or just let them know about the passing. There’s just never any time to do that and the items end up lost to history – such was the case with my father’s collections. When he passed away we no longer knew who all those children were and those fond memories were laid to rest with him. We no longer needed those yearbooks and class photos. It was time to let them go.

I do take solace in knowing that somewhere out there my favorite teachers kept something I gave to them and it was my teacher’s treasure. All the notes, the cards, the stuffed animals, the pictures, the letters…they are still out there continuing to bring a smile to their faces.

I wish we could take photos of all the items we are currently sorting or any of the items we sort through each sale like this, but it’s best to keep that private. I can just share that those gifts were their treasures and it didn’t matter how small or seemingly insignificant, they kept it with them.

You may find yourself thinking about that one special educator that pops into your thoughts every now & then and you wonder where they are now or how they are doing. You wonder if they ever think of you and do they still have that special Christmas ornament you made or purchased for them in 1981?

Just know this: you meant a great deal to that person and they genuinely cared about you. You touched their lives as much as they touched yours. Yes, they kept that ornament and it was delicately wrapped for each and every move. We honor that special bond you had and it will never be broken.

The WaPo Explains ‘Death Cleaning’ and Why Americans Could Learn from the Swedes

“If your family doesn’t want your stuff when you’re alive, they sure won’t want it when you’re dead.”

The Washington Post – ‘Death Cleaning’

It will save your family hours and hours of sorting through your things after you’ve passed. Speaking from experience, it is no fun sorting through years of items that will eventually be tossed. Do your family a favor and #CleartheClutter!

Getting rid of sentimental items.

Here’s useful information from #TheMinimalists. This should help you get started.

Actually the title of their blog post is much softer “Letting Go of Sentimental Items.” However, they do say sometimes it is best to just rip off the Band-aid.

The Minimalists – Getting rid of sentimental things.

If you want to get started and it’s just too overwhelming, we can help. We KNOW the feeling. It takes time, but you can do it! It took years to build that collection and it will take time to reduce it.

Just give us a call — (703) 609-3535.

#EstateSales #EstateLiquidations #Minimalism #Reduce #Reuse #Recycle #KISS #KeepingItSimple #Minimize #Declutter

Need help sorting through this??

Yes, we do that too!

This DC client travels frequently and was coming home to stacks of junk mail, packages and important documents tossed in. The client wanted to sort through all of it and recycle the unwanted items, but just didn’t have the time to do it.

Now, packages are brought inside and placed in a neat pile — so it does not appear the client isn’t home. The overstuffed mailbox is emptied and sorted. Junk mail is removed and placed in the recycle bins. We do a few more tasks for the client as well when needed (drop off/pickup dry cleaning, pack & ship packages and we even walk the dog!).

A ThriftFrog Valet will sort, organize and recycle your mail when you don’t have time. We even have home cleaners, movers and minor repair people on hand to fix things around your house. Don’t have time to put together that item you just purchased? We do that too. We provide experienced people to help you with all things HOME when you need it.

We are happy to help you get organized, downsize and clear the clutter!

#JunkMail #HomeOrganization #HomeChores #Tasks #HomeTasks #ThriftFrogValet #Reduce #Declutter #Destress #Recycle #HomeValet


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