My Dad died in September and my brother was only able to be here for two days before the funeral and the day of the funeral before he had to fly back to go to work. Which meant that we needed to make decisions about the stuff in the house very quickly, as my sister and I were the ones who were going to be clearing it out after the funeral.
We sat down and talked to each other about it and made the decisions right then and there so my brother could take back things with him and not have to have it shipped or try to figure out if he wanted it from it being held up to show him during a Skype call.
Since my sister and I have the only grandchildren, it was decided that the only valuable item (new large screen flat panel TV) would be given to one of the grandchildren via a drawing. Each of them would write their name on a piece of paper, it would go into a basket and my brother picked out the name.
We were lucky in that there was no one outside of immediate family that wanted anything from the house. Dad had gotten rid of a ton of stuff after Mom died 10 years ago, so there wasn't as much left as there might have been.
Now, this worked because we are all mostly reasonable adults and because nothing was truly valuable....just sentimental.
When my sister and I cleared out the house, we divided stuff up as we went along and put stuff aside for our children. We only had one issue and that was when my sister protested my youngest taking a rocker recliner chair because she (my youngest) had won the tv drawing.
I had made the choice when going through the house that I would restrict what I took to only things I had sentimental attachments to, which meant that out of a three bedroom house with a full basement and two car garage, I had taken the equivalent of three grocery bags full of stuff for myself
. This was mostly because I wanted my other choices to be things my children could use.
My sister had chosen to take all kinds of things for herself and for the three weekends that we had worked on the house, had filled up the back of her spouse's pick-up truck each time.
I pointed out to her that I had not chosen anywhere near as much as she had and she disagreed.
So I started listing and finished with "and I haven't filled up more than a grocery bag while you've taken pick-up truck loads home with you." She got really embarrassed, apologized and I told her that I thought it was pretty amazing that we could distribute the entire contents of the house with only one minor disagreement.
I learned after my in-laws died, leaving a huge house stuffed with everything they had bought over 40 plus years, that having family take and use stuff was the best possible way to dispose of everything. Most things only get pennies on the dollar and furniture especially, many people won't buy because they worry about odors, urine and bedbugs.
The most interesting way I've ever heard of family dividing up valuable household possessions is to have them basically hold a family only auction. If you want the item and no one else does, you get the item. If other family members want the item, them people bid against each other and then whoever wins, pays the estate, knowing that they will get back part of the money when the estate is settled. I've seen that done a couple of times and it does seem to work fairly well.