The Kuzak’s Closet private liquidation model is unlike any other liquidation option available. I spend the bulk of my time talking to families, real estate agents, and shoppers each day about what makes our unique service option so special. With so many new eyes viewing our website and instagram pages daily I thought it would be a good time for me to share a refresher as to how the service works as I look back at some of my favorite estates from 2022.
Our process happens over the course of 2-3 days from start to finish. How is that possible? An incredibly savvy and well trained staff that includes estate specialists, haulers, a donation team, a metal recycling team, and lots of trucks. We are able to control the entire time frame of each project because we do not have to wait on third party vendors to pickup and transfer. We not only uncover items that have value, we also work really hard to uncover and list items for sale that shoppers will buy. Finding items of value and items that people will buy seems to be redundant so to clarify – we identify and sell high value items like Midcentury furniture, artwork, and sterling silver but we will work just as hard to make sure the food processor and vacuum make their way into a shopper transaction. In addition to selling items we also work extremely hard on trash prevention. We list low value and items we know that our donation partners won’t accept on a variety of local websites to encourage them to be repurposed vs.dumped. We process 2-3 truckloads of metal recycling each week and our last resort is always trash. Our goal and responsibility agreed upon in our contract is to leave each property broom swept and empty. If you can move it, we remove it. We pride our selves in being a one-stop-shop for families and real estate agents to work with.
We have liquidated some pretty amazing estates over the last 19 years and this year did not disappoint. We started off the year with an architectural gem in Los Altos, made from reclaimed wood from a pier in San Francisco. The creek from the front door was used in the audio for the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. The estate was filled with artwork, books, vintage rugs, furniture, and salvage materials. It took us five days to liquidate because of the value and volume.
I asked my clients what stood out to them once the estate was liquidated and their response:
“The one thing that sticks out in my mind is one comment you made to me in an early conversation. You said “all you need to do is keep the things you want and we will take care of the rest.” Clearly you recognize what is of value. You know who to market to and how to do it. I would have guessed incorrectly about the value of many things. I still feel fortunate that we connected with you.”
My next favorite estate was a San Francisco estate that belonged to a famous musical family. The estate was located across the street from the Palace of Fine Arts with amazing views of the park and city. The estate was filled with designer and antique furniture and decor as well as dish ware, crystal, clothing, sterling, brass, and rugs. We sold more brass jardinieres that week than I have sold in my entire career. The client was a delight and we came in after she and her husband moved out with the help of a professional organizer. The estate spanned three large levels with a garage, it was a huge project and we all got our steps in each day.
Not all estates are glamorous and my next favorite estate was quite the hoarders paradise, especially if you have an affinity for military models and vintage Thunderbirds. This estate is on a popular thoroughfare in Los Altos, I drive by it daily and was thrilled to have the opportunity to process each and every treasure. We worked with an out-of-the-area trustee who relied on us to identify and locate valuable items like jewelry, cash, guns, and coins. We also sold 9 cars out of this estate.
The next three collages are preview marketing from my next favorite estate – one we nicknamed “Sippin and Sellin”, each project on our calendar has a nickname and we choice this one because our client loved to have a cocktail and also loved to sell antiques and collectibles online. He had the most fabulous collection of Native American baskets and weavings, glassware, and art that I’ve even seen in a single estate. It was all packed into his townhouse in Willow Glen.
We had several rounds posts and live sales over the course of three days with all purchases being picked up on the fourth day of service to limit traffic within the townhouse complex and safe shoppers multiple trips as most shoppers piled up their purchases @shopkscloset. I’m so thankful to the real estate agent, Barbara Sauer for thinking of us for this project as the alternative would have an an auction that would have never been able to handle the volume and variety that we were able to handle directly from the estate.
We headed to St. Helena for a very vintage Mid Century estate that I saw virtually for a consultation but not in person until we started the service. Wow, when I turned the key and opened the door for the first time I almost fell over. It was the most amazing time capsule in such an unexpected location.
Shoppers from San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and the Peninsula were able to snag some rare MCM treasures like this George Nelson EOG desk and credenza…
Because we use @shopkuzakscloset on Instagram we can attract shoppers from all over and shoppers are always willing to head to Napa, especially if the trip can involve midcentury goodies paired with wine.
We had a long streak of Atherton estates this year. A handful were high end designer estates while the rest of the mix were very vintage classic estates. What really stands out to me is what we are able to sell and find new homes for, whether it is a pricey piece of artwork like this Senaka Senanayake that could have been easily tossed if the family had opted for another service.
Or the common but pricey household items from this estate – a Peloton, Traeger, weight bench, Bloomingdales and West Elm furniture, etc. that would have never made the cut for an auction but added up to thousands of dollars.
One estate will probably stick with shoppers for years is the East Palo Alto art estate that we completed in October. I received a youtube video from the client asking if we could help and let me tell you, she had me at hello. Her father purchased the warehouse to store his collections to keep them out of his house per his wife’s request. It turned out to be a great real estate decision and a fabulous place to house his collection sourced from local estate sales, auctions, and Goodwill – basically anything in a frame.
We didn’t even attempt to photograph and measure each piece, it would have been an impossible task. Our game plan was to sort and research and set up a staging area to host QVC style video sales. Shoppers tuned in for 2 hours at a time over the course of three days, it was wild but effective. In addition to the sales process we liquidated the entire 29,000 square foot warehouse with multiple dump runs, donation hauls, and the 6 massive loads of metal recycling. I have to share the following before and afters so that I can never forget how massive this project was, these are the projects I live for.
Each estate has a unique story and no matter the size or location, we never mix items in from another estate. My opinion has always been that things collected over a lifetime should be sold together from the estate they are located in. We don’t allow shoppers to come into any of our projects to shop because we want to make sure each and every area and item is reviewed by a Kuzak’s Closet staff member. At a recent Los Altos Hills project I was processing the linen closet and uncovered a small box in between the towels that had a rare Stanford football cleat charm that we sold for $125. It was my favorite thing that I had sold that week.
Another favorite item like that from the year was this Rolex that we found in a drawer in a closet. We asked the client if she had accidentally left it behind, she appreciated the check-in but wanted it to be sold. It fetched $6,500. Both of these items could have been easily overlooked at a sale open to the public.
The tail end of this year we have completed some really wonderful vintage estates as well as some smaller projects. No matter the size I’m always amazed at how much everything really adds up to be. Big ticket items like sterling and jewelry always help but every $10-$20 item really encourages shoppers to make multiple purchases. Last week’s Mountain View sale was filled with $10-$20 items, well, it was really filled with $5-10 items too. Because of the volume we opted for two live sales on Instagram, it was a vintage lovers delight and added up to close to $8,000 which is amazing!
I’ll wrap up this post with a final favorite, our over the top Atherton estate from November. Although this estate was packed with beautiful designer items, it made my list because the clients were trusting of the process from the start. They called me on a consultation day so I was already on the road, we had an opening to make one more stop and they gave us the gate and door codes so that we could go in and Face Time them for a virtual consultation while they were out of town. The elements of the project changed as the new owners made decisions on what they wanted to keep but we all rolled with the punches and had a very smooth and successful liquidation. His note to me after the service was complete…
“The team at Kuzak’s Closet made departing our home of 25 years quite manageable. We were impressed by the seamless full-service approach to moving all of our “treasures” to new owners in a variety of ways. Your services are professional, seamless, efficient and environmentally friendly. Thank you for what you do!”
Well, I hope this behind the scenes look gives you a bit more of an insight into how our private liquidation service works. This is just a handful of the projects from this year, I wish I could go through all 100 but that would be a novel! Our 2023 calendar is already shaping up so please reach out sooner than later if you have an estate that needs to be liquidated.