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How celebrities sell their stuff without a yard sale -- and how you can shop their homes

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Photos: Shopping Ron Howard's family home
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It's a timeworn pattern: You decide to move to a new pad, and you realize you've accumulated an awful lot of stuff you don't need. Perfect time to wipe the slate clean. Yard sale!

But what if you're a celebrity on the move? You wouldn't mind making a few bucks off that perfectly good cabinet that just doesn't fit in your new home; maybe you'd donate the proceeds to charity. But you can't exactly post an ad on Craigslist and dump all your stuff on the lawn. Even if you weren't worried about security, what would the neighbors say?

Drew Barrymore parted with this vintage typewriter.

Drew Barrymore parted with this vintage typewriter.

If you're an extra-fancy celeb, then Christie's or Sotheby's might be an option, but they're so formal. Estate sales aren't what you're going for, either; you're not liquidating a whole household.

Enter One Kings Lane, the home shopping website. It's become the go-to site for stars who have valuable possessions they'd like to shed, but no obvious way to sell them. Recent completed sales include items from Drew Barrymore, Patrick Dempsey, Diane Keaton and the inimitable designer Iris Apfel, who has amassed quite a collection in her 90-plus years.

Right now through Sunday, One Kings Lane is running a sale of decor from the family home that actor/director Ron Howard and his wife, Cheryl, just sold for a record-breaking price. (Click here or on an image for a slideshow of some Howard items for sale, including pictures of items as they appeared in the home.)

One Kings Lane co-founder Susan Feldman tells Yahoo Homes that the celebrity sales are part of the site's evolution. OKL launched in March 2009 with daily events selling branded merchandise, often at a discount, for a brief time. The media calls them flash sales, but "we don't use the F-word anymore," Feldman says.

Patrick Dempsey and his wife, Jillian, sold items including their collection of the Southwest Blue Book, a social registry.

Patrick Dempsey and his wife, Jillian, sold items including their collection of the Southwest Blue Book, a social …

The next year, OKL held its first Tastemaker Tag Sale with designer Nathan Turner. The idea was that customers might not be able to hire a big-name designer, but they could shop the style through highly curated offerings -- particularly one-of-a-kind items, perhaps made by the designer or discovered on trips to far-flung countries.

The Turner sale was a "huge success," Feldman said. "Designers started coming in droves wanting to do something on the site." So One Kings Lane started brainstorming: Now what?

The answers rolled in. Destination sales -- "places people can't get to." One Kings Lane started traveling around the world with their tastemakers, gaining entree to "all these great vintage dealers." These led to "other fun initiatives," Feldman said: sales from movie sets like "Maleficent" (a real coup because it was Disney, which tightly controls its brand). Estate sales. And anything else that brought to OKL "really interesting access to products you could not otherwise get." Designers and sellers could "bring it to life on One Kings Lane," she said.

Cheryl and Ron Howard with the piece that she'll have the hardest time relinquishing (Guess I'll just have to sit on his lap!). Click any photo for a ...

Cheryl and Ron Howard with the piece that she'll have the hardest time relinquishing (Guess I'll just have to sit …

Celebrities were a logical offshoot of that strategy, said Feldman; "they're tastemakers, obviously, in their own right." Stars now often seek out One Kings Lane because "we do such a great job of presenting them, their brand, their aesthetic, telling their story," she said, describing their thought process this way: "Oh my god, I love One Kings Lane! I have all this stuff I want to sell!"

For celebrities, as for everyone else, "home is an expression of who you are," Feldman said, and she's discovered that most of the stars whom OKL has worked with are design aficionados who "really love their homes" and put a lot of effort into decorating. OKL offers a "huge marketing platform" for tastemakers to publicize their brand, putting it into a context that's personable and unintimidating to the customer.

Click here or on an image for a slideshow of some Howard items for sale, including pictures of items as they appeared in the home.

Here's Susan Feldman last year, talking about One Kings Lane and offering startup advice:

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