“I got into this many years ago because I saw the elderly being taken advantage of, especially those with dementia,” Julie Hall, the director of the American Society of Estate Liquidators and a thirty-year veteran of the estate-sale business, told me. In one of her numerous books, which include “Inheriting Clutter: How to Calm the Chaos Your Parents Leave Behind” and “What Am I Going to Do with All My STUFF?,” she describes a woman with Alzheimer’s whose friends and neighbors, hearing that she was going to be institutionalized, showed up at her house and began looting the place. “What I witnessed,” Hall wrote, “was like watching a vulture strip a bone.”
The estate-sale industry is fragile and persistent in a way that doesn’t square with the story of the world as we have come to expect it.
By Lizzie Feidelson, January 7, 2022, The New Yorker
An estate sale is only a true estate sale if the homeowner is dead. If the owner is living, then it’s a tag sale, though many people use the terms interchangeably. When I went to one of my first “estate sales,” in Hewlett Harbor, Long Island, roughly two years ago, just before the pandemic temporarily forced much of the industry online, I was surprised to discover that the owner was not only alive but there, in her soon-to-be-former house. A recent widow, she wandered through the rooms, dazed, dressed in a fringed denim vest.
The house was a beige Colonial-style four-bedroom with prim hedges and a small, sloping lawn. I arrived thirty minutes early, but a…
View original post 5,587 more words