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Additional tips for clearing out

• When the time comes to start, “do not go into every room and start ripping stuff apart all at once. You will get nothing done,” said Michael Starks, who runs Star Estate Liquidators & Appraisers and Star Senior Relocation Services ( Instead start in one corner in one room and complete that before moving on to the next area.

• Save time and work more efficiently by taking home with you all the photographs you come across and going through them with other family members at a later date, Starks said.

• Remember that what something was worth 20 years ago doesn’t necessarily mean it is worth that now, Starks said. Styles change.

• Thinking of bringing in an estate professional? “Call right away, before you start throwing stuff out but after you have tagged everything for certain family members,” Starks said. It’s also important to ask about insurance; ask to see a copy of the policy.

In addition to the resources and services mentioned in the story, local professional organizer Linda Birkinbine offers these tips:

• The American Association of University Women (AAUW) accepts books, DVDs, CDs, audio books, puzzles and games for its annual Scholarship Book sale (May 28 to June 1 this year). Visit for details. School and public libraries are other places to contact.

• You might consider selling furniture and decorative accessories at a local furniture consignment store.

• Office Depot and Office Max offer shredding services and various recycling services.

– Susan Martin