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Why Have an Estate Sale?

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (13629)

Cheryl Cockrell Estate Sale Crew of Lafayette LA are waiting to

What do you do with your family’s things after they have passed away and you want to sell the family homestead? You know what I’m talking about –the mountains of stuff that took a life time and sometimes even two lifetimes to collect—the kerosene lamp collection, the horse collar from Grandpa’s mule “Babe,” the 1953 baseball trophy that cousin Scooter won in 8th grade, the pictures (oh Lord the pictures), the bedroom set, the pots and pans,the pump organ that was willed to Momma from Grandma on to infinity. With Baby Boomers’busy lifestyles and cluttered houses of our own, we are being deluged with atsunami of inherited movables as our Depression era parents are passing away. Mix in the volatile combinations of guilt, nostalgia, and sadness over disposing of our folks belongings, plus the fact that our kids often don’t want this stuff, and you will find people that are drowning infurniture they didn’t choose, pictures of folks they’ve never met, andcollectibles they don’t even like or have space for. What do you do? Well, you can call an estate sale coordinatorand have an estate sale!

I am a retired 12 grade Comeaux High English teacher who for 35 years my seasons were marked by what I wasteaching. Fall meant Beowulf, winter was Macbeth, and spring was the dreaded Senior Research paper. I rambled, pranced, and cajoled my way acrossthe classroom stage and I sincerely loved every minute, but about 12 years agoI knew that I had another career in me besides the one that I started at 21years old. My friend Al Cain, a realestate appraiser, asked me in 2001 if I would hold a “living estate” sale for his client who was selling her home. This sweet elderly lady was selling her spacious home and moving into a small “Assisted Living” apartment and she needed help! Over a weekend with the help of my daddy and husband, I sold everything that she left behind and this sweet lady was so thankful and relieved that she had freed her family from the burden of dealing with her life’s acquisitions. The sale was fun, and I wasdealing with people who were excited to be there—a reaction that teachers don’t often experience ! From the moment of that 2001 sale, I’ve come a long way and although my daddy J.P. Jones and husband Brent Cockrell are still working with me, I have added associates Patricia Foster, Katrinka Mothersbaugh, Nancy Cech, and Angelle Marsh . An estate sale coordinator, like a teacher, must inform, entertain, and “boss,” but we also bring relief to these folks who have inherited all of these THINGS .

The estate sale team sells all moveable property both inside and outside of a house over a two to three day period. We organize, research, price, and advertise whatever is left in a houseafter the family has chosen what they want to keep. Next, I send out 2350 emails to folks who’ve asked to be on “the list,” an email invitation to come into the house a day before it’s advertised to the public. And boy do the shoppers come and buy; we can sell the contents of an average home sometimes within a few hours.

The “Weekend Hunt” or garage and estate sale shopping is a big hobby in the Acadiana area. With $20 in your pocket and change for a doughnut and coffee, you can go “saleing” on a Saturday morning and maybe find a sterling silver brooch, some mixing bowls like the ones that your grandma gave to your sorry cousin, a one armed mannequin (I’ve sold one—I still promise to look for theother arm), an outfit to wear to church,or your momma’s next birthday present. I have sold the unique: a Tiffany sterlingtoothpaste key, and the ordinary --George Foreman Grills by the dozen.

“Junking” is the great equalizer because everyone likes adventure and bargains. I have new immigrants furnishing those first apartments, young “hipsters” who fashion themselves afterthe “Mad Men” series, blue haired matrons who are hunting for those collectibles, antique dealers who are shopping for their stores or booths, and then just average people looking for, well, a slightly used George Foreman Grill. I recently went to the National Estate Sale Convention in St. Louis Missouri and heard many horror stories about unruly and dishonest shoppers across the land but I can proudly say that the estate salehunters in Acadiana are the nicest and most trustworthy people that I have everhad the privilege to know. They’ve helped me make correct change, found personal items that the estate family would want to keep, asked about my Momma,brought me fresh caught shrimp and Heaven help anyone who tries to cut line orbe rude to me—well, in other words they’re family.

To be a successful shopper, you just have to get up and go to these sales and make friends with the estate coordinator. As your mom always said,“Being nice does matter” because we react better to polite shoppers . Also let us know if you are looking for something in particular because if we have it, we’ll call you. I have one client who wants original tasteful “nude” oil paintings and since she gladly pays the prices, she’s always told ahead of time if we have a “naked” painting.

Also sign up for email notifications through this website at "contact us for upcoming sales" and when you get that email about a sale, call your friend, get your 20 dollars, and come--We'll be looking for you!

Estate Sale Myths

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (3347)


I've heard the following comments about estate sales for the last 20 or so years that I've been involved with them and I am saying that each one is untrue. Give us a chance, sign up for email notifications, and come out and find out for yourself--


1. Estate Sales are filled with fancy "antique stuff" that I can't afford.

I've sold brand new appliances, cars, camping gear, up to date designer handbags, and jewelry all at bargain basement prices.


2. Estate Sales are just filled with old broken trash that no one wants .

Now you really have to come out and see that this isn't true. If you will always check out the "Upcoming Sales" page on this website you can see pictures of what's in the sale.

3. The lady in charge is hard headed and just won't lower her "high" prices.

We are motivated to sell everything in the house in three days. If you will ask, often we reduce the price. But I have been known to be a little "sassy".

4. Estate sale companies bring in a bunch of junk from other estates.

few times we do bring in items from other estates, but it is never junk.

5. Estate sales are just for old people and there is absolutely nothing that I would have.

This is absolutely false! Our sales are filled with young people in search for that cool vintage find for their homes.

6. It must be really depressing and creepy to buy things from folks who have passed away.

It's the happiest place that I've ever been. Everyone loves a bargain and it's a chance to see how someone lived. Sign up for email notifications and "see you at the next sale"--

"Well, if it doesn't sell, then I'll just sell it on Ebay"!

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (2081)

I've held estate sales in the Lafayette area for over 15 years and when I tell the inheritors that their grandma's 500 piece Milk Glass collection isn't worth the money that Granny promised it was, I always hear these words--"Then I'll just sell it on Ebay!"

Now don't get me wrong, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Ebay and I've made lots of money for lots of folks using this tool, but it isn't the answer for every selling woe.


Here are just a few hints if you are thinking of using this internet auction site.--



1. Look at the item and think, How am I going to package and mail this sucker? I've sold an airplane propeller and a huge crystal chandelier and let me tell you, after I finished packaging these monstrosities and paying for the shipping, I almost broke even-- So if it is extremely heavy, fragile, long, or flammable, Ebay might not be your answer.



2. Always do an "Advanced Search" and see what the item actually sold for. Dozens of people have told me that their beloved silver plated candlesticks are listed for 300 dollars on Ebay. Well, as my old Daddy always said--"Asking ain't getting"--

Go to the "Advanced Search" setting on EBay and scroll down until you see "Sold Items" and click here and the items like yours will appear in green and you can see what they have recently actually sold for-- This might be very interesting to see.

3. Be aware of the current market and do know that collectibles and antiques that were extremely popular in the 1980's and 1990's are now a "buyer's market". Carnival glass, depression glass, crystal, tea cups, silver plate, figurines such as Hummel's, Precious Moments, Hallmark, and Lladro's will sell for very little or not at all on Ebay.

My next blog will discuss what sells well on Ebay and

remember that we are looking for you at the next sale---Cheryl


Valuable "Junk" Hiding in your Closet

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (1771)

With the down turn in our economy, everyone is thinking about how to turn a few quick bucks! You might not even realize it, but you probably have items lying around your home that people want to buy. Thousands of items sell on Ebay ever day and here is a short list of stuff lying around your house that can bring in cold cash PLUS clean out a closet.

1. 10, 14, 18 K gold jewelry--So many people take their broken or outdated gold jewelry to pawn stores or the "We Buy Gold" shops, when they could sell it themselves online and get so much more. Group according to karat weight and take good clear pictures and include the gram weight. You can get an inexpensive electronic scale that weighs in grams and tenths of grams.

2. Sterling silver flatware or hollowware. Note silverplated items do not sell well online but sterling is "Smoking!" To check to see if it is sterling, look for the word "sterling" or "925".

3. Your old cell phone or computer. If you recently updated your phone or computer, sell your old one. Note that really outdated electronics do not sell.

4. Designer handbags, scarves, shoes, costume jewelry, belts, or luggage. Of course lines like Chanel, Luis Vuitton, Coach, Burberry would sell great, but some of the lesser known designers sell well too. Check the label and be aware if the designer items are the "real deal" and do not try to sell fakes.

5. Audio equipment--vintage audio equipment is an "in demand" item--Do your homework though and see if the item that you have is selling and for what price.

6. Historical items like WW II maps, early picture post cards, early advertising, early regional ephemera. Recently I bought an early Austin Texas phone book at an estate sale for $3. Our local market is not interested in this, but I listed it on EBay and sold it for $50 to an Austin Texas native.


7. Mid Century Modern (1950's-1960's) Decorator items such as wall plaques, clocks, glassware, clothing, furniture that you can connect to a designer, printed linens, costume jewelry, handbags, lamps--

8. LP records and 45's--Many records are worth absolutely nothing! but there are some that are worth money. Vintage blues, soul, rock and roll, and music made by small obscure labels have a following. Music that has NO VALUE is easy listening, show tunes, and most popular music from each decade. I have literally seen hundred's of Herb Albert, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, etc.

Another thing to look for would be concert posters and concert shirts from your youth. Folks are collecting these--

9. Obscure weird items--I once sold a Mardi Gras handout from the Times Picayune that described Rex floats for a 100 dollars. Plus I have sold several early New Orleans Mardi Gras invitations for 50--100 dollars each. Other strange items that I've come across that sold well is an Humble Oil sign for $2,000, a WW II flight jacket that sold for $850, a toy train car (yes just the car) for $500, and a Rolex watch BOX (no watch) for $150.

I can list dozens of other weird things that sold well in a nationwide market.

I bet that you have money lying around your house just waiting to be found.

Don't be afraid to sell on Ebay and remember to take clear pictures and give honest and complete descriptions.


I can't wait to see you at the next sale!


Don't Throw Money Away!!!

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (9120)

Well, it happened again this week--TWICE! I had two hopeful families call me asking about my estate sale services and they had many questions. But I always begin the phone call interview with a few questions of my own such as where is the estate?, have the heirs taken what they want?, and finally have you done any cleaning up before you called me? On both calls we exchanged information but when we got to the last question about clean up on both calls there was a LONG LONG pause.

The voice on the other end of the line answered, "Well, I did give all of the WW II memorabilia to my gardener's son who said he was a collector. AND I gave momma's costume jewelry to my 8 year old neighbor because she might like to play dress up, AND I took all of daddy's tools and gave them to the nice neighbor who dropped over and said he could sure use them."

I continue to question --Do you have any scrap books, old toys, vintage cookware or barware or linens or handbags or local early advertising? And the dreaded words come--"Oh, that old stuff?--I threw it away, but I have a lovely Maple Ethan Allen 30 year old dining room set and a really beautiful King sized bedroom set, but it does have a stain, and two 1980's TV sets that work just great!"

What these two families have in common is that they ruined their family's estate sale prospects. If you are ever in charge of an estate---

1. DO NOT begin to indiscriminately give things away. Of course, you want your heirs to pick out what they want, but again don't be hauling things to a local charity or rounding up the neighbors to take the things from the estate AND then plan to have an estate sale.

2. Don't have a garage sale or sell on sites such as "Craig's List" and then call a professional estate sale conductor to finish the job. Once the word is out that you have been selling ahead of time, it is very hard to get a professional Estate Conductor to

come and finish the job.

3. Most importantly, DO NOT throw anything away before you call a professional estate sale conductor to hold a sale for you. Of course, remove the medications, the personal papers, the photographs, and opened food, but DON"T REMOVE anything else. That scrapbook might contain old football ticket stubs, etc. (I sold two 1970 Super Bowl Ticket stubs this summer for 750 dollars and yes they were just stubs!)

All professional estate sale coordinators make a "no obligation" visit to your family's estate. Call someone in to advise you because you only have one chance to get it right for your parents' estate.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and think of me if you are ever in charge of an estate.

Cheryl Cockrell

What to Expect at an Estate Sale

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (11414)

Hey estate sale shoppers! I just had a very large estate of a popular small town family and many people that had never been to an estate sale, shopped for the first time. Many called me on the phone so worried that they wouldn't know how to shop at the sales and I quickly realized that not everyone has been to the many estate sales that are cropping up across the land.

So in my best school teacher voice ( I taught 12th grade for 35 years) I will give you a few pointers as to what to expect.

1--Register to receive emails of estate sale coordinators in your area which you can find on websites like If you check out my web page that reads "sign me up", you can register with us but PLEASE make sure that our emails do not go into your SPAM folder. Because I send out 4100 emails, many times my email is sitting in the junk folder of your computer. With my Constant Contact email provider, many company emails block this service. You will get consistent notifications of sales through emails and I PROMISE that I will never share my email list with anyone.

2. Come early and be prepared to wait in lines if there is something that you really want. Bring a chair and bring a friend to help you nab that special item. BUT if you cant' come first, then come LAST. Many times the houses have to be completely cleaned out and we are making deals in those last few hours.

3. Follow the rules--If the coordinator announces that the sale will close at a specific time, believe her and don't try to buy after that time. If a door is off limits then follow the signs. We are usually following the estate sale family's wishes and they have the final say.

4. Be prepared to pay for your purchases. Find out what form of payment the estate sale coordinator takes. I take credit cards over 100 dollars, but many do not take credit.

5. Be prepared to pack your items and move them to your car without our help. You are getting that sofa for 75 dollars so don't expect delivery--(this isn't Olinde's) We will certainly help you if we can, but often times we are short handed and swamped.

6. It is expected to haggle about the price AFTER the first day. PLEASE don't tell us what you will pay for items. If you are polite and ask "our best price" you will often be rewarded.


7. When the sale begins pick up the small items you want to buy and precede to the check out counter to pay. If it is a large item, pull the tag and pay. We will give you a sold sticker and you can pick it up at an agreed upon time.

8. Finally, remember that this sale is someone's inheritance and our job is to get as much as possible for this family.. I DO NOT have permission to give the item to your charity or sell it to you for a pittance.

Come out to our next sale and I promise you'll find something you didn't even know you wanted and you too will be hooked! See you very soon Junk Nation--

What to expect when you need an estate sale

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (213)

Hi Junk Nation,

I am recuperating after our huge historically rich estate sale April 21-24th in Youngsville. It was a doozie of a sale that took six weeks to prepare but boy did you all come out and support us! Thanks to all and more importantly a big hug to all of you who waited so patiently and were so kind and complimentary to me and my crew. I want you to know that your kindness does NOT go unappreciated.

I get calls to visit with many who need to host an estate sale and I want to cover a few points that will help if you are deciding to have an estate or downsizing sale.

1. Do your homework before you call an estate sale coordinator to view your property. Make sure that you know exactly what is for sale or what is not for sale. Ask your sister, brother, grandchildren to decide what they want BEFORE you call a coordinator out to visit. We get paid on a commission and we need to know what will be for sale to make an educated decision about hosting your sale.

2. Don't clean the house out before you call us--BUT do remove the trash, open foods, mail, old and broken appliances, and soiled clothing. We are not expecting a clean and orderly house, but it has to be safe for us and our shoppers. We DO need electricity, water, and home owner's insurance to safely host a sale.

3. Check into the estate sale coordinator's background. Our area seasoned coordinator's are happy to provide references, examples of past sales, and provide an idea of how we do business. Please don't judge us just by what we charge because as the old adage goes, "You get what you pay for". Here are some questions to ask

a. Do you have insurance?--we do

b. How many workers will be at our sale?-- up to 15 depending on the size of the sale

c. Where do you advertise?

Facebook-we have close to 2,700 followers, Estate Sales.Net, our area email list that now reaches 5,000, newspaper ads, and our professionally made signs. The ONLY cost to you is if you would like print ads which run around 45 dollars for a basic package. The rest of the costs including internet videos are absorbed by me.

d. What do you charge? I charge a straight commission with no hidden up front fees. The ONLY out of pocket charge to you is if you would like a print ad, but many are opting out of that service.

e. Can I see pictures of your past sales? absolutely!

Finally, I hope that if you are planning an estate or downsizing sale, you know that I will make it as painless as possible and you might even have fun, make some money, clean out the house, and feel a great burden lifted off of you.

All the best and until we meet very soon--

Love, Cheryl

Holding an Estate in 2017

Posted on September 30, 2017 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (13918)

A new year is almost here and January is a time for new beginnings. If you find yourself in charge of an estate, this is the time to make decisions and move forward with the belongings and don't get mired in the past.

Here's a few suggestions if you find yourself in charge of an estate --

1. Don't get weighted down with guilt--You can't be expected to keep every belonging of your loved one. If you do, there will be no room for your own life.

2. Don't get weighted down with inertia. The longer you wait to disperse an estate, the harder it becomes to sell the items.

3. Don't take the easy way out by putting your estate in storage units. You WILL want to move them out of there one day, and what will you do then? You cannot have an estate or garage sale at a storage unit. When you factor in the monthly rental fees, you will be shocked at what you are going to pay. Deal with these items now and don't prolong the stress.

4. Don't start tossing or giving items to charity and then decide to hold an estate sale. Call a professional and get a no obligation opinion before you do anything. I have been called many times to hold a sale and the good stuff, the rusty stuff has been tossed in a dumpster long before I get there.

5. Don't let your emotions control you. Get along with family members and remember that things aren't worth hard feelings with your relatives. Make a plan and work it out because you will be happier if you do.

Make 2017 the year to move forward in every part of your life and if it includes an estate sale, please remember to call me for a free consultation.