Q3 Estate Highlights

I’m so happy to have Q3 behind us! It was a beefy three months packed with estate projects that I’m simply amazed that we were able to pack in with some of the personal challenges we endured as a team.

In a quick summary, the major setbacks rank: Billy had a house fire, Sarah broke her collar bone and Jennalynn’s sister died. Yikes! We are like a family so we help each other through as much as we can.  We all pitched in to help Billy clean up the damage, we’ve been carpooling with Sarah and taking on more heavy lifting so that she can rest and heal her collar bone, and we’ve been hugging Jennalynn and trying to keep her mind busy.

Needless to say, it’s been a juggling act but I’m always impressed with how we are able to rise to the occasion as a team and adapt.  Our service stayed on par and we were able to liquidate a total of 28 estates over the course of July, August, and September. The breakdown is: 11 estate liquidations, 12 private liquidations, 5 estate sales, 2 auto sales, and 49 estate consultations.

July

Someone created this faux CD cover and it cracks me up.  Monday mornings look just like this, the crew assembles outside of the current estate project.  In this case it was a classic 1960s ranch in Los Altos.

We liquidated it by 3pm with the help of the shoppers on our email list!

We ventured to Daly City for a foggy liquidation which was a highlight because it gave us a break from the July heat.

It was a highlight for shoppers who live north on the Peninsula too! I was shocked that we had such a great turnout!

Teamwork!

Another favorite estate project was a tiny two bedroom estate in Menlo Park that was PACKED with goodies! The family had tried to empty it with garage sales but didn’t make a dent so I’m glad they called Kuzak’s Closet! No one can attract a crowd like we can!

Shopper piles added up!

And our charity partners greatly appreciated the unsold items that we delivered to them! After the service the family wrote me the nicest note, thanking us for taking the weight off their shoulders and finding new homes for all of their aunt’s treasures, so sweet!

Another empty estate!

We expanded our service areas a bit in July with projects in Aptos and Novato. Aptos was a neat and tidy estate with artwork, tools, and quality furniture.  We invited shoppers from our email list to shop and it was a really fun day, I mean who doesn’t want to go to the beach? Novato was a small private liquidation.

My absolute favorite project from July and probably in my top 10 of all time was the jungle estate we organized in Atherton.  It was a spectacular estate with AMAZING items inside! It could’ve been an estate sale but the family did not want it to be open to the public so we opted for our private liquidation service. I mean, the carpet alone, wow!

@shopkuzakscloset was on fire for this one.  Shoppers snagged each and every listing, many people wanted to buy something just so they could come to see the house and who can blame them!

Vintage bath…

Powder room…

Kitchen…

It was a house that I wish I could’ve spent more time in, two days was not enough!

The last estate highlight for July was a fun private liquidation at an Eichler in Palo Alto that was packed with beautiful antiques and collectibles.  We were able to offer some amazing pottery and clocks along with furniture and rugs on @shopkuzakscloset.

At the end of the service the client came back to check on the house and it was good timing because I wanted to review a handful of items i.e. paperwork for shredding, photos, and old passports with her.  When I explained that we found these items at the estate she said “no shit, I left them here so you could get rid of them.” You can picture her saying this to me waving her cane at 5 feet 4 inches tall, 90 pounds, 94 years old, etc.. I followed up by asking her if she would like us to shred the items and she said “I don’t care what you do with them, throw them in the street if you want to!” So now, forever I will drive by her estate which was on the very popular Louis Road in Palo Alto and giggle to myself hearing her say, “just throw them in the street if you want to”, ha!

Well, that’s July! Good old Julian sneaking in a nap after the end of a long day, I feel ya kid!

August

August was TOO busy with 11 estates organized, three of them being estate sales which is pretty crazy considering how much extra work they are for us with the setup, pricing, marketing, and cleanup. The first estate was a beautiful hillside Los Gatos estate.  There was extremely limited parking so we took a risk and still offered it as an estate sale to the client, asking shoppers to park downtown and walk a half mile up the hill and it worked! Shoppers loved the cardio challenge and we loved seeing their smiling faces coming up the hill!

We had a staff member stationed at the bottom of the hill and another in the driveway to coordinate pickup appointments for shoppers to drive up the hill to pick up their goodies.  It was a bit of a logistical dance but it worked out well.
These shoppers drove all of the way from Sacramento to shop! It’s amazing how far our marketing reach is for estate sale projects.  Our photos really bring people in and I’m not saying that just because I take the photos.
Another empty estate!
We had a project pop up that should’ve been an estate sale but the family and the real estate team needed it empty within 5 days of the initial call.  We’ve worked with the real estate team on many occasions so we made it work and offered a private liquidation.  We listed over 100 items on @shopkuzakscloset and sold over $15,000 by noon, insane! The family was thrilled with the outcome and the house was able to go on the market the day after we completed the service.
But wow, this estate was filled with so many gorgeous things…
It was great to see so many happy shoppers thrilled at the opportunity to buy a part of our client’s amazing collection. My favorite part is watching the guys haul items out the door!
Another empty estate!
Julian has really gotten down and dirty this year with his internship.  He’s found his place on the team, he knows his strengths, and he seems to enjoy it.  He is taking a year off from college so we are lucky to have him with us until September 2020.
We organized an estate in Palo Alto that I nicked named “50 pianos” on our staff calendar.  When I saw it for an initial consultation in 2018 there were 3 grand pianos, 2 organs, and 3 upright piano in the family room and dining room.  Crazy right? From that date the fiduciary worked with a few local charities to take the pianos that they could us leaving us 2 upright pianos to find homes for.  We work with a group out of Santa Cruz that rescues pianos to pick up pianos that are not sold.  When they arrived to pick them up from this estate we were shocked with 5 dogs ran out of the back of their truck.  Apparently they started rescuing puppies as well as pianos! Since this project we’ve seen them 3-4 times and the puppies are still riding along and the’ve added a few new members to the pack.  What a hoot!
Yep, all of the pianos were in this room.  With this project lingering for over 9 months I was extra excited to see another empty estate at the end of the day!
Our hauling team is the smallest it’s ever been with only Billy, Kevin, and Antonio remaining from the original group.  I’ve been pitching in more to help Billy load the trucks because there really is no one else designated for that role at this time. When I’m tired I just have to remind myself that I’ve gotta keep up with 70 year old Billy who never takes a break.  70! We are still looking for the right person to join our team!
This next project was a highlight because the client emailed me for service, let me know exactly which service she wanted (exactly what we did for her friend Jan), an estate liquidation, and the date she wanted it on.  Gotta love an organized client! I was able to put it on the calendar right then.  Referrals are wonderful!
Kevin and Antonio are a dynamic duo and I don’t know what we would do without them! We call them “the uncles” because Kevin is Antonio’s uncle and any given day you’ll hear Antonio say “uncle, come help me with this” about 50 times.

Our second estate sale of the month was in Palo Alto right across the street from Shirley’s house.  I was hoping it would be good enough to be an estate sale and that the timing would be right because that would give us at least 4 working days to be across the street from her.  Lucky for me, it was! The house was a time capsule that remained unchanged since the 1950s.  After the service was complete I received this email from the client…

“Thank you and your team for doing such a professional and efficient job. I did not expect the sales to amount to that much, and I am a bit amazed that you could clean the whole place out for such a reasonable price. I will definitely recommend you to others.”

Makes it all worth it!

Sarah and I ventured down to Carmel for another private liquidation.  This one came up with a very short time window, it needed to be empty within 5 days of the initial call. Since the client was referred by 2 of my favorite clients I had to figure it out.  The greatest obstacle was the it was car week in Carmel making it impossible to find a hotel to stay at and the traffic could make it difficult for shoppers to pick up but it all worked out!
We even had time for some fun! A.W. Shucks is my favorite spot and there were two barstools waiting for us! Margaritas and clam chowder for all!
I love Carmel! It’s been a treat to expand down to the Monterey Peninsula little by little.  I can picture us having a little office down there at some point!
Another empty estate!
We organized another estate liquidation on Louis Road, giving me an opportunity to drive by the other estate multiple times and laugh to myself “you can throw it in the street if you want to!” The marketing list was packed and the shoppers from our email list really scored some great treasures.
If you’ve never made it to a Kuzak’s Closet estate liquidation it’s worth the trip.  They are so entertaining to watch and even more fun to shop at!
The last shopper to load for the day was Shirley.  Gotta love her! She and Kevin has become besties, it’s a friendship we all get a kick out of.
We organized an estate sale for a wonderful woman named Jane who formerly had a shop in Los Altos called Treasure.  I was a bit nervous to set the sale up because I wanted to make sure we met her merchandising standards. I asked her to stop by the house before the sale to say goodbye to her collection on last time and she left me this note after her visit.  What a compliment!
The garage was packed with goodies and we continued to pull items into the house until 10pm the night before. Billy and I had a date night with pizza and price tags.
Of course when I left to go home at 10pm the list had already begun.  Seems wild to me every time!
It was a very eclectic estate and shoppers loved it! Each room felt like going to a far away place on vacation.
Debbie and Military Al are fixtures at all of our estate projects. They met 25 years ago when Debbie was having a garage sale and they’ve been friend ever since which is pretty impressive considering how crazy Military Al can be!
I had to snap this photo of a shopper’s car leaving the sale. She really shopped until she dropped!
We went back to Naglee Park for an estate liquidation.  It was just 3 houses down from our legendary estate sale on 14th avenue back in March.
The estate was a real stunner with great woodwork and detail. We spent a day listing items on @shopkuzakscloset to ensure the beautiful furniture would be able to find buyers and it did.
We also listed the rugs and a collection of small decor items, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  The email list came through the next day and snapped everything else up.
Another empty estate!
By the end of August I could really relate to this little girl…

SEPTEMBER

We organized ten estates in September but the number that stands out to me is 25, that is the number of consultations we had.  I am now scheduling consultation days so that I can meet 8+ families in a single day and get the schedule ironed out at once.  It has saved me a lot of running from projects to meeting and also has helped me from over scheduling projects. With Sarah’s broken collar bone it’s been even more important for me to stay at a project from start to finish so I can help with the listing, managing, and driving donations.

We kicked off the month with an estate liquidation in Palo Alto.  It was the home to a professor who taught sexuality at Stanford so there were some really interesting items inside.
He kept every single box that he ever received in the attic so we spent quite some time breaking down recycling.
Another empty estate!
We organized some really great private liquidations in September, the first was in Los Altos in a beautiful home right downtown.  The client was a district judge, fun fact, after this project was completed we officially could say that we liquidated estates belonging to the first three female judges in Santa Clara Country.
This estate had something for everyone and it was a treat to see so many new faces coming to pickup their @shopkuzakscloset purchases. The power of Instagram is pretty darn amazing!
Another empty estate!
Our next private liquidation highlight was in Portola Valley.  The clients took my card three years ago when we liquidated their neighbor’s estate.  They are a young couple who decided to sell their home and travel around the country in an airstream. There was a nice collection of items to sell and shoppers really had fun.
Especially this guy! Seeing this hillbilly hot tub being loaded up was a hoot! Don’t worry, he didn’t drive away with it in this position!
Another empty estate!
Our 25 consultations had me driving all over the place, including a stop to San Francisco to see one of the most interesting estates.  I’m not sure if we will do the job but it was worth the trip just to see the quirky collection of items inside.
We also traveled to Watsonville and Monterey for consultations, I’m loving the expansion!
Another Eichler in Palo Alto – I think Palo Alto was our most popular service city this quarter.  Our client’s mother had put her mother’s items in boxes in the garage after she passed away so we spent a day unpacking all of the boxes.  It was fun to uncover dishsets and old photos for the family.
The art collection was quite nice so Jennalynn held a pop-up sale on @shopkuzakscloset.  She has really taken a liking to listing items which is great for everyone! It’s trickier than you’d think, some staff members are intimidated at the thought of finding, photographing and pricing the items.  The Instagram platform is great because multiple users can log in from the team so we can divide and conquer.
Another empty estate!
I post an image of each house I visit in the insta-stories on @kuzakscloset on Instagram on consultation days. When I posted this image I instantly received multiple messages asking why I was at a consultation at 9:30pm.  So I had to explain that a real estate agent asked me to stop by and view the home, that no one was living there and I could use a key from a lockbox.  Then the folks messaging thought I was crazy going into a stranger’s home at night etc..  I ran a poll on Instagram and asking who would go inside with me only 20% of people said they would.  A request like this is so common that I didn’t think twice, ha!
We organized one estate sale in September in September.  I was a small, neat and tidy home with a wonderful garden full of plants and garden art.
The dining room set was a hit!
We also broke out our new point of sale system.  It’s been 7 years since I purchased our original point of sale system with Square so it was time for an update.
Load ’em up!
Our Mountain View estate liquidation attracted a crowd!
Shopper piles!
Shopper PILES!
With all of the shoppers and piles it’s no wonder this estate was empty in a flash!
We liquidated another estate that has been in the pipeline for almost a year.  It was a small townhouse in San Jose but it was packed with goodies.
Who would’ve thought these fun finds would be inside! The client previously had a midcentury home in Palo Alto so I can only imagine what he had at one time!
Another empty estate!
This estate was back to back with another private liquidation in Palo Alto.
So many fun things! Aside from the midcentury furniture and fun collectible items there was a collection of music equipment that belonged to Jeff Lynne from ELO, we still have no idea what the connection was but it was an interesting find.
Remember the estate I visited at 9:30pm? We opened it up to shoppers later in the month for an estate liquidation.
I arrived to work and was given this note from Mark G. with notes on an upcoming garage sale featuring golf gear for women.  I’m glad someone is looking out for my game, on the back of the note there was a map to get me there!
And inside the estate there were lots of fun golf books and collections including this bag of pencils given to be my a shopper named Ruth.
Load ’em up! Another happy shopper, another empty estate!
Just when I thought I’d seen it all in September I received a few photos of a hoarder project in Hillsborough.  My friend Helen, owner of Top Move Management received a call about the project and didn’t have enough availability to tackle it on her own so she ask if we could partner up.  Of course I said yes, I mean, how could I resist a pile like this! I ran over there that day to see it in person and once I met the client I couldn’t help but want to help.  Helen and I sent out bids in and there were accepted right away, time to dig in!
We started with the garage to give them a clean slate to use for a staging area for the items that family is keeping. It was pretty expansive with lots of cabinets, and a bedroom and bathroom off to the right.
At the end of the day we packed up 32 trash bags of cans for recycling, over 75 bags of clothing for donation, and filled a 30 yard dumpster.  The space was swept out and items being kept were moved back inside for Helen and her team to professionally pack for shipping and storage.
That garage gave me a lot of steps let me tell ya!
Helen and her team are taking the first 2 weeks of October to pack up the items that the family would like to keep and then we will come in for a 4 days to clear the rest out.  I’m really looking forward to going back to finish the job!
Well, that’s a wrap on Q3! As always, thank you for your support! Q4 marks my 15th year in business and I couldn’t do it without you cheering us on!
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