The third quarter of 2018 did not disappoint with our estate organizing calendar packing in 30 projects. The summer heat didn’t slow us down and with the current political and economic market local families and real estate agents wanted a broom swept and empty estate ASAP.
We kicked off July with a fun “Summertime Splash” estate sale in Atherton and it was a hit! The estate was filled with beautiful home decor, an amazing library of vintage books, and antiques. Shoppers lined the drive to get in the doors.
I love this candid photo of Hope snapping a photo of the line through the peep-hole just before we opened.
Once we opened, shoppers dashed in to grab their goodies. Seeing a shopper loaded up like Dan in the photo below was a common sight all day long. The sale was sold out by the end of the day and the family was thrilled!
We organized several estates for clients moving and downsizing, most of which you didn’t get a chance to see unless you purchased an item on our Instagram site, @shopkuzakscloset.
It was fun to mix several of our services into a single project at this Palo Alto estate. We organized and packed the items to be moved to multiple destinations in Southern California, managed the move, liquidated the remaining contents, and left the home broom swept for the new owners. Our client is terminally ill so our services allowed him to breath a sigh of relief knowing everything would be taken care of.
This estate and another Palo Alto estate featured grand pianos that we helped find new homes for through a local charity thanks to shoppers on our email list.
We organized estate liquidations at 9 estates in July. My favorite was the home of a San Jose school teacher who had beautiful collections, rusty crusty vintage treasures, and beautiful furniture.
This recipe catalog screams “organized teacher” don’t you think?
We posted several items on @shopkuzakscloset the day before the liquidation to help give shoppers a preview of what would be inside. It was great to see so many beautiful things find new homes. One of the highlights of this service is knowing that treasures are passed on and given a new life.
This photo illustrates that you don’t have to sleep in your car and line up early to snag great things at our estate liquidations. Ken popped by this project at 10:45am and pulled these vintage crocks out of the garage. Good eye Ken!
Our summer crew was XXL this year with Julian, Cole, Aloi, and John joining the team for internships and summer gigs. We were often spread all over the Bay Area on a daily basis so it was a treat to all work together at this fun liquidation.
Another empty estate!
It was a privilege to be invited to a special vendor open house for a project that we liquidated back in March for Nancy Goldcamp, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. This property was completely transformed and we were excited to be a part of the process. Billy and I went to the open house and he couldn’t believe his eyes!
This is what it looked like when we were liquidating it…
And here it is at the open house! She painted the exterior and interior, landscaped, staged, the list goes on. Bravo!
With 9 liquidations on the calendar, Big Red often looked like this and sometimes multiple times per day! We do use larger trucks and vans, but Big Red is a part of the team and we don’t like to leave her out.
It is always fun to see the vintage labeling and organization systems in the estates we liquidate, especially once they are empty…
One of the most popular estate liquidations in July was this beautiful estate in Los Altos. It came on my radar at the last minute with the family only having 7 days to empty it. Despite the time crunch, we were able to accomplish our client’s goals with the help of @shopkuzakscloset and our estate liquidation email list. I listed 30 items online the night before, and every single thing sold within 5 minutes of it being posted. Totally wild!
At the end of the 2 hour liquidation sale, we had one small load of donations and a truckload of trash/recycling in Big Red. The rest went home with happy shoppers. I thought we would be at this estate for 10-12 hours but it only took us 7 to leave it empty and broom swept. Love it!
If you wake up to a street lined with cars like this, it’s a sign that Kuzak’s Closet is liquidating an estate nearby!
At the end of July, we liquidated a wonderful estate for a wonderful couple, Bob and Betty, in Palo Alto. They were a delight to work with for many reasons but especially because Bob loved to shop at estate sales and he appreciated our service and process. He and Betty stayed with a friend across the street so he popped in and out during the liquidation and enjoyed chatting with shoppers about their purchases. I know many of you enjoyed chatting with Bob as well!
And when I say Bob and Betty stayed across the street with a friend, they were staying at the historic Squire Mansion. Talk about the perfect way to spend your last week in Palo Alto! This gorgeous home has always caught my eye so lucky us to work across the street for a few days.
Another empty estate! Bob was a teacher and a school principal so maybe there is a common theme for my favorite estates in July- estates of teachers!
After each estate project I send an invoice and a donation list to the family/client and let’s just say my printer has been out of ink a few times this month.
One of my resolutions for the summer was to accept invitations we’ve received over the last few years. Shirley, our “estate mother” who always brings us coffee and snacks, has been asking us to go to Dim Sum with her forever. We kicked off August with a special afternoon at Dynasty in Cupertino.
It was such a hoot to see Shirley in action, ordering all of her favorites and making sure none of us left hungry. It was my first time having Dim Sum and I couldn’t imagine a better experience.
August was the busiest month for estates this quarter with 12 project- 2 estate sales and 10 estate liquidations.
There is nothing like our estate liquidation shoppers! Watching them scatter through a house when we open the doors and let in the first 25 on the list is always entertaining for me. This San Jose liquidation was the first of many for the month of August- shoppers stocked up on tools, home decor, furniture, and more.
Our client lost her husband too soon and then fell into bad health which required her to leave her home before she planned. Hope, Sarah, and I worked with our client and her daughters on this project and they were a really special bunch. Seeing her husband’s workshop empty was a sad sight at the end of the day for everyone.
I was able to sneak away for a few days in August to visit Magnolia in Waco Texas. This trip has been on my bucket list since The Silos opened a few years ago. Many of you have asked me about it so please head over to the blog for three blog posts highlighting the trip… 1- Waco or Bust, 2- Inside the Hillcrest Estate, 3- Magnolia Table, Silos Baking Co., and More!.
Billy also traveled in August and was in Tonga for most of the month. He clearly missed us because he often called me to check in on what we were working on. He’s too funny!
Our Saratoga estate liquidation on Sobey Road was a highlight because of the huge crowd that braved the narrow driveway to come to shop. I always say being on our email list is just as great as having a gym membership. Our “early morning workouts” always involve lifting, running, squatting, and on this project- hill climbing.
I walked to the end of the driveway to bring the shoppers up from the main road and I couldn’t help but crack up at seeing everyone hike up the driveway together. What a group!
Although the sales are pure chaos once we open, they always start very organized with the help of Michelle who lines everyone up.
This liquidation was Cole’s last project for the summer. All of our summer help really enjoyed the challenge of working at Kuzak’s Closet, but it was an especially nice break from the norm for Cole who is a professor at San Jose State during the school year.
His thank you note to us at the end of the summer says it all. Thank you Dr. Armstrong!
This is a photo that I took at the end of the Saratoga estate liquidation. It was a good reminder that the shadow of where the memories once hung are why I’m in this business. What a privilege to have the opportunity to meet so many interesting people, some in person and many more through their lifetime collections.
Our first estate sale of August was in Morgan Hill. It was a nice treat to get out in the country and also give our South Bay shoppers a break from commuting to the Peninsula to shop with us.
It was Julian’s last project before he headed off to Humboldt State for his Freshman year of college. He was so ready to go, I mean, if you had to drive to work with me most days, you’d be ready to go too- ha! The sale was at the same exit as a drive thru Starbucks. We went through twice to make the most of it, Caramel Frappes for all!
Shoppers snagged some beautiful antiques at this sale!
We capped off the month with a huge estate organizing project in Mountain View. It was so big that it required the keys to have their own organizational system!
Billy arrived back from Tonga just in time to help with this one. Nothing says welcome back like a mega hoarder. Love it! This project is my all-time favorite project so far this year, hands down. The client and the real estate agent were amazing to work with, and the late-owner of this estate was one of the most interesting people I will never meet.
This estate was totally packed, from floor to ceiling, in every room. We had a timing challenge with the estate closing escrow in just a few days after we started, a dumpster issue because it was in Mountain View and their regulations are a pain in the rear, and an insurance issue with the estate not having a current homeowners policy so we couldn’t let shoppers on the property. What we were able to accomplish in 4 days was nothing short of a miracle.
Here are some before and afters…
Utility room before…
Utility room after…
There were many nooks and crannies at this project so it was critical that we move through the project systematically. We worked on the main house first and then went through the backyard, sheds, and guest house clockwise from the left side yard. We were able to sell items on @shopkuzakscloset and other online sites to bring in some revenue for the estate. We processed 4 box trucks for metal recycling and had 6+ packed van loads of charity donations. This cute candid shot of Aloi and Taylor on their way to drop items at donation sites shows just how packed the van could be!
This client was a huge Diana Ross fan with a fun collection that we were able to piece together and sell on @shopkuzakscloset.
Here is a candid shot of a @shopkuzakscloset shopper who got out of control shopping and managed to fill up her entire van once she came to pick up her item. Talk about a shopaholic!
Taylor celebrated her birthday at this estate and I got her the best gift that I could, a dumpster! We don’t get dumpsters that often because of liability, timing, and restrictions, so this was a special day!
I didn’t leave this project during the day for consultations because I simply didn’t want to lose momentum. I was the project manager so I tried to schedule my consultations and meetings after 4pm which meant leaving goal lists like this one…
I know I say it all of the time but I’ve got the best team. Every one of us has a different strength and skill that when put together is perfection.
When a mega-project like that ends, I often get depressed. I’m not kidding, I get a bit sad that it’s over. In most cases it’s a few weeks or months between mega clean outs but lucky for me in this instance, we wrapped our Mountain View project up on a Saturday and started a San Francisco estate cleanout on Monday. It was packed, don’t get me wrong, but it seemed like a walk in the park compared to Mountain View.
This is a photo of a house up the street from the estate we organized. I love that San Francisco charm!
For our San Francisco project our goal was a bit different than normal. We needed to organize the contents of the home, remove the trash and recycling, pack up paperwork for storage, and leave some items in place just in case our client was granted permission to move back in.
Here is a look at what we started with…
This estate featured a taxidermy cat, something I’ve never seen before. I’ve often told Harper I’m going to stuff her when she goes to doggy heaven but after seeing this I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.
In comparison to Mountain View (4 solid days from 7am-6pm) this project only took us a day and a half. Like I said, a walk in the park. We started downstairs in the garage and storage areas and then worked our way upstairs. We couldn’t get a dumpster because the estate was located next to a bus stop so that slowed us down a bit.
Here is a shot of Taylor sorting paperwork in the master bedroom. It took her 6 hours to get through the room.
Most of the personal paperwork was boxed and labeled by location in the home. You might be wondering if any of the paperwork was really that important and the answer is no. It was mostly notes and clippings to read but this is what she wanted, and that is what is important.
Here is our guide. The room names were created by our client. I especially love the “junk room” considering the photos I shared above.
Boxes filled our van and headed to storage where they were neatly lined up in rows by color.
We were able to sell a few items from this estate on @shopkuzakscloset.
A reward for our meeting our goal on @shopkuzakscloset was homemade cookies from our shopper Ruth who snagged some vintage goodies and came by to say hello.
At the project’s completion, the estate looked a bit more livable. And yes, the cat stayed in place. I just rotated her to have a different view.
The finale to the month of August was a quick Midcentury Modern estate sale in Palo Alto. Our client Eva kept the home clean as a whistle and everything was in mint condition. We sold out by the end of the day surpassing my sales goal by $6,000 so she was thrilled.
By September we were all ready for a bath, especially poor Vanna White. She is a work horse and is often neglected.
In the month of September we organized two estate sales and 6 estate liquidations. It seems like a light load with only 8 estates but the reality is that it is still more than most companies do in a year! It was back-to-school month so our focus was heavy on maintenance sessions with our regular organizing clients.
Our first liquidation of the month was completely packed with vintage electronics and ham radio gear. Shoppers went nuts for it and the family was tickled to know many of their father’s treasures found new homes. There is nothing better than loading up a shopper’s car with treasures! This shopper brought his own LP to test out the stereo turntable (Van Morrison Moon Dance). Gotta love that!
So many attics, not enough time!
My personal favorite liquidation of the month was just a few blocks from my house in the Los Altos Country Club neighborhood. It was dusty and crusty, a real diggers sale.
Chris helped me dig through it on a Sunday afternoon to find items to list on @shopkuzakscloset. Isn’t this vintage Chimayo jacket amazing! This estate will likely be bulldozed so what a treat to give items like this a new life!
I told shoppers on our email list to bring a flashlight to help with the dig.
Our San Jose liquidation in the east foothills was also a favorite. The estate was fabulous, the views were fabulous, and the client was even more fabulous.
We did a pre-cleanup day at this estate so shoppers could have the best chance at finding goodies during the liquidation. We cleared out the loft in the barn, unpacked and organized items from boxes, and listed items from the home and basement on @shopkuzakscloset to give shoppers a preview.
It was a busy liquidation as always!
All of the garage guys came to dig. I’m telling you, if you are interested in dating a guy over the age of 60 who likes to fix things up and likes to shop you should start coming to our estate liquidations!
All of the tools and machinery found new homes and the estate was empty at the end of the day.
Our client is moving into this estate and that made it a great ending to a fun project. He is excited to remodel a bit and make the place his own. His dad built the house so he’s got a great foundation to work with!
The duo of Vanna White and Big Red, working hard as always! Many of our liquidations in September were private liquidations which means we liquidated without shoppers. We always prefer projects where shoppers can participate, but in many cases it doesn’t make sense due to lack of volume or value in the items.
We celebrated Ese’s and Billy’s birthdays in September. Ese is 34 and Billy is 69 this year. Funny considering Billy told everyone he was 70 last year. He is now going backwards in age.
We celebrated with them at our “Sun-Sational” Sunnyvale estate sale. This estate sale was total mayhem with a huge crowd for two solid days. The estate was sold out by Saturday afternoon and we were able to sell $14,000 OVER my original sales goal. It was wild!
Michelle had her work cut out for her when it came time to line up the 93 shoppers on the list. Another 30 arrived after that and kept streaming in all day long!
What a crowd! The estate is on the far left and shoppers wrapped all the way around the cul-de-sac.
What a fun group! We are nice to people so we attract nice people. It’s as simple as that!
Kate from JetKat Photo snapped great photos during this sale and at the Menlo Park estate sale in September. It’s always so busy once we open the doors of our estate sales that what happens during the day is all a blur. We like these behind the scenes shots!
After we enjoyed the tidy Sun-Sational estate where you could literally eat off the floor, we moved on to this estate in Sunnyvale. It was a private liquidation due to the condition and the goals for the project. The family could’ve easily called in a junk hauling company for this one so I’m glad we had the opportunity to dig through it and organize contents for the beneficiaries. We were also able to salvage many items that would’ve ended up in a landfill and processed 3 vanloads of donations for local charities.
This estate was in a sad state…
The entire home was liquidated as well as the backyard. Here is an after…
In addition to our standard liquidation services we also removed the carpet, the window treatments, and the appliances. It’s now ready for a much needed makeover so it can be sold.
Sprinkled in with that private liquidation in Sunnyvale were several additional private liquidations also in Sunnyvale. It was nice to be able to tackle multiple estates at the same time with our trucks and crew rotating from one to another. Typically we can handle 3-4 projects in one day including estate sale setups, liquidations, and organizing sessions. If you could see my master calendar you would faint!
We welcomed two new employees to Kuzak’s Closet in September. John has worked as a summer intern for the last 3 years. He recently transferred to San Jose State and decided to accept a position as estate specialist. If you’ve seen him in person you know he has the strength of 10 men.
Aloi also became an employee this fall when she accepted the role of estate specialist. She’s sweet with shoppers and is great at sorting and organizing estates. Next time you see John and Aloi tell them congrats!
The finale of the month was “Milton’s Magnificent” Menlo Park estate sale. Milton was an avid estate sale shopper and his home was decorated with treasures he had dragged home over the years. If I had a larger home I would’ve bought half the house.
Harper has had some bad luck this summer with her health so with her rising vet bills I decided she needed to put in some hours at the family business to pay me back. She helped Sarah and I price Milton’s estate.
Shoppers lined up on Friday morning and we had a nice steady stream of shoppers all day both Friday and Saturday. It was much calmer than our “Sun-Sational” Sunnyvale estate which was nice. Shoppers could really enjoy Milton’s collections!
Ginny is one of my favorite shoppers. She is a professional dealer with flawless taste. I say that because she likes everything that I like! Ha! We both love antique furniture so it’s fun when she stops by so we can ooh and aah together.
With our beautiful weather this fall we’ve been able to set up our payment and hold areas outside. It opens up the house so more shoppers can get inside at a time and gives some breathing room for folks who want to make piles.
It’s always fun to add up shopper piles and see what they are headed home with. Every single item tells a story.
Well, that is my recap for the last three months. It was memorable and exciting as always! Thank you all for shopping with us, both in person and on @shopkuzakscloset! You help make our job more fun and our clients and families are grateful that you are able to give their collections a new life.