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Thread: Clearing Out Parent's Home

  1. #11
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    This reminds me, now that we have our trust and will in place, I need to write a letter to trust officers to assure them they should get rid of all of our STUFF as quickly and painlessly as possible. I have said this verbally, but it needs to be in writing, too.

    I want them to NOT attempt to honor me in any way thru my STUFF.
    +1

    My MIL has been cleaning out over the last few years. Has become downright minimalist. She started with condensing 50,000 slides onto CDs sent her children copies and pitched it all. By the time she is done the only thing left may be the barrel of ugly china that came over on the first ship and has been hidden in closets for the past 200 plus years. My parents will be a little harder, true farmer mentality of "that'll come in useful someday" but it's organized and not horded by any means. It will be easy to have a farm auction after we all get what we want including the land. Farm auctions in that part of the state are quite the event. Food trucks, reunions, friends buying in support/need/ or "that'll come in useful someday".
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  2. #12
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    So sorry you have to go through this saguaro! What makes it more difficult is your sister and also having your dad still living there....hoarding. My mother rented a condo from us for like 25 years. She really trashed it. We had to spend a lot of money fixing it up to sell after she moved into a nursing home. But it was easy in the sense that I was doing it myself, and didn't find a whole lot of stuff with memories. But still.....it was a hard, disgusting job.
    If your sis wants to keep things, then make her take them home with her. Just to make it easier on you after your dad is gone, throw out/recycle everything you can now. You can take things to Goodwill. We even had some charity organization pick up stove, fridge, furniture, etc.

    Even if something there might have great value.....the question becomes...is it worth all your trouble to sort through everything and find it and clean it and keep it in your house or sell it? After your dad is gone, you and your sister take what you want, and then have everything auctioned off.
    I feel a great need to not do that to my kids....so I'm always trying to clean out. And I tell them that unless they really want something, don't think you have to keep it for my sake.........'cause I won't know the difference!
    Even though it might cost a bit for a few months after your dad goes, you could also rent a storage unit to keep things you're not sure you want to get rid of........then after a couple months, make the decision. Sometimes having things away for awhile helps you decide when you go back and look at it.
    I don't envy you. So much junk to deal with. Good luck!

  3. #13
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    I understand what you are going through. I posted often three years ago several times of my struggles after mom passed and dad in house and still is. I tried the eBay thing. In the end decided the stress vs actual money to be made from the trinkets. For me in the end it was not worth the stress I was dealing with and then selling the prized possesions that really ended up not being that valuable. Breathe and take time to not stress,,,,I know hard to do when you are in the tornado so to say.

  4. #14
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    Having just gone through this with In-laws and elderly mom, I agree that ebay would not be worth the hassle. I was able to sell things like depression glass through a consignment store-not a lot of money, but was something. The rest was just donated.

  5. #15
    Senior Member UltraliteAngler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saguaro View Post
    I wasn't sure where to post this, either in Organizing or Family but here goes. This a vent but also would appreciate any feedback.

    My sister and I are in process of clearing years of stuff from my parent's home, a 3rd sister lives out of state. Dad is still living there, though not sure for how much longer, Mom passed away two years ago. Last year, Dad finally permitted us to start moving things out of the home but only Mother's stuff, however my sister is so aggravated at this point that she's dealing with his stuff anyway. Not anything he would miss, just the years of newpaper clippings, magazines, and bags of leaves that he insists he will use to mulch the garden but is still sitting there years later. Not sure that's wise, but her call (she will do it no matter what I say) and since she lives five minutes away, she deals with the brunt of it so I can see why she's taking matters into her own hands, but the family dynamic is something for another post.

    Attic, basement, garage still with tons of stuff even after spending the last six months cleaning out. Dad continues to hoard things in his room and now he's taken over my mom's room which had been cleaned out to some extent. Sister and I did a major amount of cleanup in the basement all day yesterday (Dad was out) and at this point, I am just discouraged over how much longer this will go. I can't believe the basement has turned into what it has, it was always organized now stuff is just piled all over the place. Same thing with attic. Garage is a downright hazard. Plus not only are we going through parent's stuff, we are going through grandparent's stuff because when our grandparents died / moved out of their homes, where did it go? Into my parent's attic.

    Aside from the difficulty of letting things go that my mother wanted us to have because there's too much for us to take on, sister is worried about money and is insisting that some stuff will be valuable such as antiques, depression glass, china. Not sure if any of that would net much, maybe it would, I don't know. Anyone here have any knowledge / luck with that?

    Sister has suggested I go on and ebay the stuff (because I have an ebay account), but I refuse because I will not bring all of this into my house and furthermore spend more years of my life dealing with this stuff. DH and I have been decluttering our own house, because DH will be 62 (still working) in two months and we expect to move in a couple years to a smaller one level home to accommodate our own aging.

    And there's the fact that Dad is still there so really don't think that selling things is doable, he will object and sister likes to get ahead of herself. But I am just so discouraged. I can't imagine doing all of this. Not to mention the dust levels are horrendous, I am coughing / sneezing for days afterward and I have no history of allergies. Am fine after a few days back home. I am wondering if we should just stop/slow down until Dad is out of the home which could be soon.
    First and most important thing: I am sorry you have to go through this. It sounds like a nightmare of hoarder proportions. Vent on this thread as needed!

    If I had any bit of advice I'd say be wary of succumbing to materialism. It is an urge we all have whether big or small. But it is not worth it. Let the stuff go -- no harm in selling a big ticket item or two. Just don't don't take that mountainous hoard onto your shoulders!

    Godspeed and good luck!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  6. #16
    Senior Member UltraliteAngler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    I want them to NOT attempt to honor me in any way thru my STUFF.
    This right here is a million dollar insight! So smart and right on.
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  7. #17
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    More people have been physically damaged and damaged their relationships over stuff that has little value. Sure there might be a $200 glass in there somewhere but it is going to take weeks and months of valuable time and effort to get any value from it. Do you want to work for $1 an hour? If someone does, let them but dont let them force you to participate. Tell them your time will be spent disposing of stuff in the quickest and easiest method possible.

    When my Dad died, we told my brother to take whatever he wanted out of the tools and equipment and to take the harvest money since he did 100% of the work and we did not live on farms. He took 25 pickup loads of paper trash out of the house and all his work was a blessing and helped to sell the property. (Dad had every piece from 1949 to present). He deserved the money. We shared the sale of the property and that was more than enough.

  8. #18
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    Hi everyone, thanks for all the replies and perspectives. I know that I am not alone but it helps to hear what others have dealt / are dealing with.

    Yes, I am getting stressed out with this. When we first started last September, when Dad decided he would allow us to clean out, I took it in stride but with the last couple of clean outs it's getting to me. There is no hurry but sister is very high strung, micro managing sort. She can't let it go. In part her personality but it's also family dynamics. There's arguments and fights between sister and Dad. Between the grimy / disgusting condition of the house and the tension, I hate going there.

    It also doesn't help that I had a mishap tripping over some wood in the back yard that my Dad has been keeping forever. Sister flips out about Dad keeping the wood and proceeds to pick up the wood and pitch over the fence near the trash cans. Dad sees this and I have never seen a 89 year old man bolt out of the back door so fast. Immediately a fight starts over the wood even as I am lying there. Dad wins, sister puts wood back. it hit me right there that this is going to be an uphill battle and is it really worth to keep doing this, if he is going to undo our work. He will check out the trash and bring things back. His hoarding in his room is confined to mail and magazines that he says he will read but doesn't. Because of piles blocking access to the dresser, he's piling his clothes on the floor.

    So now I am thinking we should just stick to Mom's stuff and deal with the rest later. There is no hurry here good luck telling my sister that. Just because we have to do it, doesn't mean we have to do it all now. Nor should we have to do it the hard way, something that my family seems to like doing. Martyr complex runs strong.

    Some boundaries have emerged however, on my part:

    1. No traveling down the river Ebay. I know it's not worth it, far more hassle than what you get for it. If I did the Ebay thing, I would be at it for years, not worth my life energy.

    2. No taking stuff home anymore to sort out. It gets sorted out at the house and goes straight to Goodwill. Sister is taking stuff to her home and cleaning it first. The first months I did take home my mom's quilt and knitting supplies to sort and be given to charity knit and quilt groups but that's all done. Not doing any more of that.

    3. Refusing to deal with large furniture. Not killing my back over this. Sister wants to move dresser down from attic. No way, so now she wants to break up the dresser and bring down the pieces. Why? Anyway, not going to happen at least with me.

    4. Summer is coming. Uninsulated attic is awful during summer months. Even last September while working up there I felt I was going to pass out. Told sister I am not going up there for any length of time during the summer. I pushed to clear out attic as much as possible during winter months for a reason. Luckily it was a mild winter so not too bad.

    5. Being very choosy on what I do keep. Requirement is that it has be something I will use or enjoy which eliminates about 99% of the stuff. Much of it is junk, unuseable (from my perspective) or not my taste. Or I have it already. Best to pass along to others who will enjoy them. Keeping it just because it belonged to my parents is not only obviously counterproductive to my decluttering goals but it only kicks the can down the road.

    More boundaries will follow, no doubt. Sister is not going to be happy and while I want to support her, she has made her choices around this situation. I have told her only she can make different ones that won't take so much of a toll on her, and I will support her establishing boundaries but only she can do it. It's not the end of the world if she does.

    I hate that my parent's legacy is dealing with their stuff/junk. To be fair my late mother did make efforts to deal with it and she managed to some degree but it was too much and even she wanted to hold on to a lot of things because she thought we would all want it. Plus there was my Dad who made minimal effort.

  9. #19
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    I'm unclear why this is happening with Dad still there? It sounds like more emotional turmoil than is worthy of your time and your heart. If I were you, take the things of your Mom's that have meaning to you and step out. You could ask your Dad if there is something specific he wants you to manage for him.

    Yes, I've been through it. I have 5 siblings. I cleared Dad's things per Mom's specific instructions. Then when Mom died, I was asked by my brother to take charge of clearing the house to take advantage of a 7d possession cash offer sale. Did it in 1 day with 3 pickups and 2 trailers to haul away furniture to the person who wanted items, 4 strong guys and my niece who drove back/forth to goodwill till we were done.

    Let your sister spin if she likes but you do not owe anyone your emotional capital to chip away at this problem. It's a great time for some Tough Love.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardnr View Post
    I'm unclear why this is happening with Dad still there? It sounds like more emotional turmoil than is worthy of your time and your heart. If I were you, take the things of your Mom's that have meaning to you and step out. You could ask your Dad if there is something specific he wants you to manage for him..
    Sister has been stressing for years over the big job of cleaning the house. She as well as my other sister lived under my parent's roof for far longer than I did and both saw it all piling up. I suspect she pushed Dad to OK cleaning it out but she's starting to overstep because she just can't help herself. Entirely possible that once Dad figures out what she's doing, he's going to call a halt to the whole business. That might not be a bad thing as far as I'm concerned.

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