Q4 Estate Highlights

Looking back at the final quarter of 2019 the theme seemed to be “less is more”.  We organized and liquidated fewer estates than previous quarters with a grand total of 14, which rounds out the year at 99 empty estates in total. Each of the 14 estates on our calendar seemed to pack a punch with two stand-out celebrity estates that sealed the deal that our private liquidation service is exactly what the Silicon Valley real estate market ordered.

Speaking of the market, our real estate market took a bit of a dip – stacking “pending” projects on our calendar “if” they sell.  This mostly applies to estates selling over the $3 million dollar price point, we currently have 5 estates pending a sale prior to us receiving the green light to move forward.  That being said, our January schedule is packed with 12+ estates on the calendar at this time and new projects being booked into February 2020. We always start the year off with a bang but before we get there, let’s look back to how this year ended …


We kicked off October with an estate liquidation in Palo Alto. It was a very vintage estate and shoppers loved the treasure hunt!

Once the estate was empty this vintage tool board template could really be enjoyed.  It made my entire month!

Hope Services was good to us this month, accepting 100% of our donations! Between estate and organizing projects we visit Hope on a daily basis, in some cases multiple times per day.

We celebrated Haleigh’s 24th birthday at this estate.  Man, this makes me feel so old! I was her age when I started this business! She has been a great addition to the team!

Another empty estate, another vintage wall paper mural!

Moving on, we spent weeks organizing a mega Hillsborough estate that we started at the end of September. We spent two weeks organizing, hauling, and liquidating this one! This estate was our first celebrity estate of the quarter, I can’t say the name but I can say that we had the chance to uncover treasures from a musician that once played with The Grateful Dead…

While @shopkuzakscloset seems to be so “advanced” we still keep track of purchases the old fashioned way.

It was nice to see so many treasures find a new home through @shopkuzakscloset

Shoppers picking up their treasures found additional treasures, win win!

We also got to meet our regular shopper Myla’s new bundle of joy! I was personally hoping she would trade him for some goodies but she wanted to keep him!

This is her car after an afternoon of shopping, in my defense there really isn’t room for him! Ha!

We rarely get dumpsters but this project was a big one and it was more cost effective for the client.

Sort, sort, sort! Over 145 boxes were processed for shredding…

We were all happy to be what we call “done and done” with this one! This is what we started with…

And at the end all 2,800 square feet were liquidated and broom swept! I love projects like this!

You know you are in the “junk” business when a trip to the dump on a Friday afternoon is a highlight! We were working on an estate in San Mateo so we opted to go to the Half Moon Bay dump and took a detour to the pumpkin patch on our way home.

You could say we got a little carried away…

A lot carried away! It was nice to fill the van with something other than donations and trash. My porch and my neighbors appreciated it!

Moving along, we liquidated a beautiful estate in Menlo Park with our private liquidation service.  It was filled with antiques that I especially appreciated seeing in person, including this center piece bowl…

So many beautiful things!

Shoppers agreed! Load ’em up!

The finale to the month was an estate liquidation in San Mateo.  The unfortunate part of this project is that the family hired a different company to organize an estate sale for them and it didn’t go very well.  They were left with an estate that looked like this…

The estate sale that they had was in May of 2019 and the “mess” left behind was super stressful for the family.  Thankfully my friend Judy Johnson referred them to us for an estate liquidation and we were able to finish the project.  Our email list enjoyed a day of shopping…

Our online shoppers @shopkuzakscloset also got a turn to snag primitive antiques like this amazing pie safe…

All shined up and ready for the camera!

I am so glad Judy passed our information on and these treasures were saved from a dumpster and moved on to happy homes!

So long cuties!

Within two days this estate went from this…

To this…

From this…

To this…

Moral of the story, just call Kuzak’s Closet the first time!

November marked my 15 year anniversary at Kuzak’s Closet! I wrote a blog post to celebrate, just in case you missed it click here. It’s filled with old photos and highlights, it was fun to look back!

We kicked off the month with a private liquidation at a Los Altos Hills estate tucked just up the road from my house. It’s crazy to think this beautiful view is just a few minutes away!

We liquidated a Willow Glen condo that was filled some gorgeous items! This family once had a mega-estate in Los Altos Hills so it was fun to picture what the full estate once looked like before they downsized.

See what I mean? I love the mix of Asian and Mid Century, very Silicon Valley!

We ventured to Monterey for an estate sale after one of our Los Altos shoppers asked for our help.  Her mother was just shy of her 102nd birthday when she passed away and it was our pleasure to organize and liquidate her sweet estate.  Hope, Sarah, and I went down for a day to organize, photograph, and price the estate.

This sweet cottage was filled work artwork created by our client, an expansive book collection, and antique furniture from her childhood in Europe. This was our third estate project on the Monterey Peninsula in 2019 and we are hoping to double that in 2020!

On the morning of the estate sale the line of shoppers was filled with a mix of familiar and new faces! The sale was hopping all day long!

Mallory from m.jaehomeco had a great morning at the sale with a car load of furniture and goodies to take home!

Reed from Weird Thrift Store Guy also had a great time at the sale snagging a huge record collection along with lot of vintage goodies.

We had the opportunity to stay in Pebble Beach over the weekend, what a treat! The estate was quite something, with views of the golf course and of the ocean, my favorite pair!

Jennalynn didn’t want to leave, none of us did!

Goodbye Monterey!

The next project on my highlight list is an estate in San Mateo that could’ve qualified as an estate sale but our client preferred not to have the public digging through the estate. This pink palace had a wow factor for sure.  Her father was a captain in the French Navy and was born in the early 1900s. He had an extensive library, art collection, and antique furniture collection.  It’s one of those estates that I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to see before the items that the family were keeping were removed, with all of the beautiful things that we were able to sell you can only imagine what the family kept!

See what I mean…

The rugs stole the show! We sold over a dozen, this was my favorite!

We also sold a half dozen vanity kits that were made out of leather with sterling silver brushes and bottle caps.  Swoon!

Dreamy indeed!

We spent a day prepping and drafting listings so we could go live the next day at 8:30am.  With over 140 listings popping up we didn’t have a chance to finish posting until after noon. This message really cracked me up…

I feel ya Ed! We stagger the listings three at a time, once messages are wrapped up we stagger three more. For an online sale like this one each item had 8-10 messages which just delayed the process. It all worked out well in the end with over $30,000 being sold on @shopkuzakscloset in four hours, yikes!

After we left the pink palace we took a time machine back to the 1980s! This next estate belonged to a client who was once a dealer of Nagel prints and Bennett sculptures.  She lived in the Greenhouse condos so an estate sale was off the table due to the HOA guidelines so we opted for a private liquidation.

This cart really stole my heart!

For a small condo it really packed a punch!

The Greenhouse condos are a bit of a puzzle but we lucked out with her unit at the front of the parking lot so shoppers could easily find us for pick up…

Another empty estate!

In December we had the opportunity to organize a stunning estate in Woodside. Talk about Wow!  We typically do not create a blog post to market the project prior to a private liquidation but for this project we wanted to ensure maximum exposure and it worked! This was our second celebrity estate of the quarter so being discreet was key.

This porch is everything!

The estate wasn’t expected to sell in 2019 but when an offer came in with a quick close requiring the estate to be empty by December 9th we had to act fast with the liquidation happening the weekend after Thanksgiving.

We launched the private sale on @shopkuzakscloset on a Sunday evening with pickups allowed the following day.  This allowed shoppers to have a night to plan accordingly for the rain and rent trucks for larger items. Sarah and I tagged teamed on the messages and postings over a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates.  There is always a little voice in the back of my mind that tells me “nothing is going to sell” so when every single item sold within the first 30 minutes of being posted I was so relieved.

What a wonderful collection of items!

This pine cabinet was my favorite thing and lucky for me I didn’t have to be tempted to buy it because it sold right away! What a beauty!

The crew from Caremore came to help us load up shoppers, with over 8,000 square feet plus a barn and guest house we were just too spread out to handle it ourselves…

What a project! It was the perfect finale to a busy year and a nice reward for all of our hard work over the last 15 years.  For the rest of my life knowing that we had the opportunity to organize and liquidate this estate will be a highlight!

In edition to all of the home organizing projects and estate projects on our calendar December was also filled with year-end tasks.  With three staff members on vacation for much of December-Hope went to Spain, Taylor went to New York, and Billy went to Tonga- I didn’t have much time to run my business during the day so there were many late nights spent at the office. This is the view from our window…

Speaking of our office, we were in the news a few times this month regarding the upcoming demolition of our current building. I appreciate being featured but I will say these headlines stress me out! We are not planning to leave Los Altos if we don’t have to. Jennalynn and I have an active search for a new space and we have some time. As frustrating as these articles turned out to be with inaccurate info and quotes I’m hoping they will help connect us for someone who is looking for a new tenant.

So far letters like this have been showing up in the mail which is a good sign! We need 2-3 parking spaces and a small office, just 200-500 square feet. The parking issue is what makes it tough.

Also dropping through the mail slot are notes from Military Al.  He was clearly annoyed with all of the private liquidations that hogged the calendar and I don’t blame him! In the old days our email list was given the opportunity to shop at 2-3 estate per week but with so many projects requiring a private liquidation due to location, timeline, or value we haven’t had the chance to let the whole gang in.

It worked out to end the year with two estate liquidations allowing our 4,000 member email list to shop so Military Al was happy again!

We nicknamed this estate “the Hillsdale hoarder” because she lived steps away from the Hillsdale Shopping Center and clearly loved to shop!

Shoppers found small treasures…

And big treasures!

Another empty estate! Magical that this can happen in a day!

And the final estate liquidation of the year was in Mountain View.  It was a two story estate with garage PACKED with treasures and shoppers loved it. We loved seeing everyone just a few days before the holidays!

I said packed and I wasn’t lying!

Load ’em up!

The family asked us to donate to a San Francisco charity called SCRAP and they were happy to receive the crafty items we put aside for them.  I thought I’d share this list for you just in case you are looking for a new location for your items…

That’s a wrap! Another empty estate!

With December being as busy as it was and trying to coordinate around staff schedules I gave up on having our traditional holiday party and opted for a holiday happy hour after our Mountain View liquidation. A little pizza and some cocktails at State of Mind were the perfect way to cheers 2019!

With the way the holidays fall on the schedule I decided to close on Christmas Eve and open up again with a private liquidation in San Carlos on January 3rd. Between now and then I’ll be catching up on my sleep, sipping on a few of these in my hot tub, and working behind the scenes to make sure 2020 is off to a great start!

Thank you for helping us make 2019 a smashing success as always! I appreciate your support whether you are near or far!

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