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Death, divorce, and dramatic life changes can mean you need to get rid of an entire household’s worth of stuff, pronto. Estate-sale companies can do this quickly and with less hassle than if you tried to DIY, coming in and evaluating, pricing, merchandising, and selling everything from furniture to rolls of unused paper towels. The usually ultimately leave you a clean house and a little bit of profit.

Most estate sales take place over two or three days, usually on a weekend. You’ll want a company that knows how to appraise your belongings, assigns them appropriate values, and the runs a well-advertised, profitable event.

Though no certification exists for estate liquidators, the industry has two membership organizations, the American Society of Estate Liquidators and the National Estate Sales Association. Searching their databases and asking local eldercare or estate business for recommendations can lead you to trustworthy pros, plus we’ve got a list of questions to ask anyone you’re considering hiring.

For more advice and help, check out our articles on how to get rid of your unwanted stuff and clothing resale options.