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Thread: Clearing Out Parent's Home

  1. #51
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    I would just take the broken record approach. Our focus is to take care of Dad and you can clean the house if you want or we can hire someone. I do not have the time to do this. Rinse and repeat until she gets it.

  2. #52
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    As far as I am concerned, hire a crew to help, there's too much stuff and too many hazards such as rusty stuff, terrible dust, and possibly a dead pet, a cat that went missing 20 years ago and parents though she may be somewhere in the house (yeah, that's when I knew they had too much back then).
    Sounds as though you have your support level well defined. Too many people see things as of a certain value. I strongly disagree. If I had use of it, no longer need it, it has no value. No struggle to let go.
    Old stuff is just that old stuff that has served its purpose. If someone comes in and makes a great find, good for them. You are not cleaning up the mess.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  3. #53
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    I'm with you. Spend the time with Dad. It's your priority. Tell her you'll discuss his home/belongings after he's gone. She doesn't have to like your response but you really should state it and hold your ground.

  4. #54
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Wow, how blessed I am that all my mother's belongings disappeared in a fire when she was recovering from a stroke. When she recovered from the disorientation she would ask, "What happened to my fur coat?" or "What happened to X, Y, Z." and I'd say either "It's gone now, Mom," or "I saved it!"

    In any case, her demeanor was only improved by the lack of possessions in her life. She became a truly spiritual being of cheerfulness and acceptance. When she died, her "legacy" was, not a lot of IRS tax forms to fill out, but a heart of love.

    It took my brothers and I exactly 20 minutes to sort her belongings, and that was a great inheritance.

    In terms of the OPs question, I have no answers, but I think facing things like that reinforces the value of ensuring your own kids don't have to go through what you are going through, saguaro.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
    Do you have any problem with telling sister to take care of the house? Would you accept what she does?
    There is really nothing in the house that I want or am especially looking for. I myself would have no problem having her take care of it, or even selling things and keeping the proceeds, especially since she's hellbent on doing it her way. But that would be in her words, "unfair" and "putting it all on her". But it would not occur to her that it's unfair for her to expect unlimited amounts of my time and life energy while she needs to touch everything in the house.

    Sister has a thing for wanting things to be fair and is focused that I have not "put in my time" in her opinion. But this has to do with our own life choices and less to do with what is going on now. I moved out of the family home much earlier than my sisters, who stayed in what is best described as an enmeshed family situation which got more entrenched over time. I was concerned about the enmeshment as far as how that would play out when my folks were older because at the time they were still healthy and working, yet my sisters were doing a lot of "caretaking" for them while I was out and living my own life. Therefore this idea that I have not done enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    I think you need to set your boundaries on this. It sounds like Sis' situation is substantially different from yours.
    Sister lives 5 minutes away and my parents had her number on speed dial for everything, long before they needed care. I understand she has carried a lot of the burden but she has also made her own choices around this. I have told her over and over only she can make different ones, that I cannot change this for her, only she can.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    Or make a deal with your sister: you're taking care of Dad right now and that is where your time and energy are going (especially with a multiple-hour commute). When it's time to clean out the house, you'll make <fill in your desired number> trips to help clean out and close up and you are done. She can take the visits consecutively or you both can work the first weekend or two and then hold off remaining visits until there's a pile of stuff that requires your input or help in moving. If Sis wants to keep on after that, that's hers to do. But you are done.
    Plan A for me is team approach, get a cleaning crew, do an estate sale, afterward donate and done. Sister thinks there are things that are valuable and worth selling but really doesn't have a sense of what they are (nor do I) but is convinced there's valuable things. An estate seller could help with that. However, if she is hellbent on this "cleaning out ourselves" approach then the above is Plan B. I will help only so many times afterward she is on her own. If she decides she wants to sell items on her own, she can do so and just divide the proceeds with other sister, I am fine with that. I am not going down the River Ebay.

  6. #56
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    Sounds like you have some good boundaries in place. There will be a lot of guilt trips. The big thing for them is that you moved away and they were stuck for their own reasons. You are never ever going to live that down. So decide on what you can offer, Plan A, and if they don't want to do that, then your help with Plan B is XXX. That is it choose or not.

    With hoarders, everything is valuable. They have probably heard this over and over from your parents. Even if something might have some value, when time is factored in, the value becomes less and less.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetana3 View Post
    Sounds like you have some good boundaries in place. There will be a lot of guilt trips. The big thing for them is that you moved away and they were stuck for their own reasons. You are never ever going to live that down.
    To the bolded: that is really the heart of the matter. What's interesting is that while my parents were upset over my moving away and this attitude undoubtedly affected my sisters, however, at the end of her life, my late mother didn't care about any of that anymore. She was just happy that I was there. Same is now happening with my dad. But that doesn't stop the scoldings from sister on how I should "contribute". So I know that there will be guilt trips and yes, I admit it's uncomfortable for me but I also know that boundaries must happen here.

    It's because I can't give over this much of my life over to stuff anymore. I have spent lots of time dealing with other people's stuff, both in my personal life and professional life as I was tasked with cleaning out whole departments after layoffs in my previous job. I am done with it and I am currently downsizing my own possessions as I want to handle it while I have the energy and willingness to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    I read that article and I was interested in the author's advice over getting rid of embarrassing things that could cause your surviving family hurt or unhappiness. I actually just got rid of letters and cards from some old boyfriends. Not because of anything racy, far from it, but because some of them were very emotional and well, private. This was the article I read that finally made me destroy them:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...10-column.html

  8. #58
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    Bumping for another update. Dad passed away last Saturday. He took a turn for the worse the prior weekend, had to go to the hospital where he was treated for pain and a bedsore then moved to hospice care. Before that weekend he indicated to my sisters and I that he was done and didn't want to continue treatment. He was in hospice for about 3 days. I was with him when he passed peacefully in the early morning. A very profound experience for me.

    Now the tough stuff: now that he has passed busy busy sister is taking her bereavement time to continue cleaning out. Sister who lives out of state is here to help and I am using my time off to help as well. Yesterday we boxed up tons of clothes to take to Goodwill and throw out tons of old food.

    However, busy busy sister is highly emotional at this time and it's walking on eggshells around her. Frankly, she has become pretty abusive, especially yesterday morning when, long story short, she went off like a stick of dynamite when I didn't give the answer she was looking for. I got a litany of reasons of why I "don't help", "don't take initiative" and "it's not fair" among other things. All 48 hours after Dad died. She told me that maybe she should just "do it all and she will mail me the check". Was very tempted to say OK to that. Since that is a family issue and not a "stuff" issue, I will leave any further details for a post in the family forum, if I find the need to post.

    Back to the "Mess Left Behind": both sisters are very resentful of being left to deal with it, as am I. The good news is that the busy busy sister seems to want to get through it quickly, hire an estate sale company and cleaning crew. I am urging her, whenever she stresses over whether something should be left for estate sale every other second, is to leave it there and see what they say, not make a judgement call on whether it will sell or not, thereby making us move it.

    I will be so happy when this is done. The stuff is a major hassle but the family dynamics are far worse.

  9. #59
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    So sorry for both your loss and the family issues. I'd let her vent and yell...it seems to be how she deals with it. Maybe write both your sisters a letter when this is all done just thanking them for their efforts in this emotionally rough time dealing with stuff as well as loss. Use the "we are sisters through thick and thin" stuff and I bet after some time she won't even remember being so abusive. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  10. #60
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float On View Post
    So sorry for both your loss and the family issues. I'd let her vent and yell...it seems to be how she deals with it. Maybe write both your sisters a letter when this is all done just thanking them for their efforts in this emotionally rough time dealing with stuff as well as loss. Use the "we are sisters through thick and thin" stuff and I bet after some time she won't even remember being so abusive. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
    Ditto to this thought. It is a tough time to deal with it all.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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