Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 68

Thread: Clearing Out Parent's Home

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    117

    Clearing Out Parent's Home

    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.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,423
    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.
    if it's really worth anything you could probably sell it on consignment (say nice furniture) or have an estate sale (if it's really worth anything). Otherwise I have to doubt whether it is really worth much.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  3. #3
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    By a lake in MO
    Posts
    4,089
    I feel for you. The time and effort to put things on EBAY is not worth your time...or effort. If you find things worth value I'd probably make some donations to my favorite thrift shop and ask for a tax receipt cause I sure don't want to have a yard sale.
    Its daunting and I'm sorry you are going through this.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  4. #4
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,299
    Having done the severe downsizing 2 1/2 years ago after DH passed away,
    - I chose what I wanted/needed,
    - offered the kids and spouses their choice of what they wanted in one weekend,
    - needed a massive clean-up so sold contents for a prepaid $$$ amount for clean-up of the large shed to a young man starting out,
    - and then gave away the rest. Minimal hassle for moving a huge amount of old stuff.

    My wonderful family helped with a simple move but it was still a lot of work. Happy with my choices and new home.

    My personal philosophy is that I use/enjoy the purchases that I make and after that they have no value to me. Clear them out. If someone fixes them up and makes a little money, that is their gain. I have peace of mind which is priceless.

    A friend went through something similar to you after his mother died. Lovely home with quality furnishings. Sibling lived out of area so my friend and his wife did the massive clean-up. After all their work, expenses of an auction, the two siblings gained $2000 each. He deeply regretted making all the effort for a poor return. He said he and his wife would have been further ahead to simply open the doors and let people take what they wanted and then get a dumpster for the rest.

    If your father has used and or enjoyed whatever is in the house but no longer needs it, it has no value, get rid of it anyway you can. Wait until he had moved out and then clean out using a dumpster. Stop struggling in the dusty mess. It is not worth it.
    Your sister may not agree but she makes her choices and you make yours; yours probably should be to protect your health.
    Last edited by razz; 5-8-17 at 2:27pm. Reason: clarifying
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  5. #5
    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    SW Washington State
    Posts
    1,504
    We're going through this right now too, in my family, cleaning out Mom's house now that she's moved into an assisted living facility.

    My older sister, like you, is majorly stressing over the whole thing. I keep telling her there's no urgency, no deadline, the house/stuff isn't going anywhere. It does help her get some perspective. She's a bit on the Type A side, me not so much. I told her maybe when mom is more settled (she's having trouble adjusting and older sis is dealing with her most of the time since she's not working) we can set a reasonable deadline in the future to try and have the place cleaned out.

    As long as your dad is still in the home, I'd say just chip away at what you can; deal with the rest of the stuff later. At least you'll know what you're up against. Maybe just asking yourselves why the need to clean out is so urgent right now--- and fighting against dad--- might be helpful.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    2,675
    The flag for me here is "dad continues to hoard things in his room..." Is he bringing in more stuff or just holding on to stuff already in the house? If he is refilling the space you are clearing out, stop. You will only increase the total scope of the job. Also if he is actually hoarding, the cleaning out might be making that worse.

    The only thing I would suggest is to find and take the things of your mothers that are important to you now. That way if you have to use a more extreme cleanout method down the road you won't be searching for or missing them.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    11,094
    Echoing this others, do not try to sell this stuff on ebay, not worth it.. Do not fret it, it sll aint worth it.

    My mother had moved a few times in her senior years and gave things away each tme she moved, yay! But still, she had stuff. I took the silver and an antique punch bowl and sold it all, splitting the money with my brother. I looked over her jewelry, 90% costume jewelry, and told mu sister in law she could have all of it. My mom had given me the one big family ring a few years prior.

    My brother said he would eBay the rest. i told him "go for it, buddy, you keep all that of the miney you can get for it, I dont care." He and his wife would set up a garage sale, take it down and box up leftovers, open up shop again, rinse and repeat. in other words they were pretty obsessed with Stuff. he ended ip selling some of our mom's things on ebay, but when it came time to close on her house, most was chucked into a dumpster.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Offshore
    Posts
    6,707
    We've been going through this for 1.5 years now after my mother-in-law passed away.

    It's hell, and I wish you the best with dealing with it.

    What's holding us back is too many involved people either have emotional attachments to items, or "want to honor Mom's wishes".

    Well, Mom should have dealt with this pile of junk while she was still alive - she had 90 years to do something about it. My first inclination was to hire a dumpster and the local football team, and spend a weekend throwing most anything out. The "treasures" inside this home are for the most part not worth significant amount of money, nor will they find a place in any of the relatives' homes - it's just old stuff. Too many people just don't want to let go.

    (Really, who cares about 50 years of back issues of academic journals - every single character of those journals is now online... Yet some people have spent countless hours trying to find an institution to accept this "collection"....)

    #screeeeeeaaaaaaam

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    3,012
    I have dealt with this several times in my life and it was one of the main motivators in simplifying my life and possessions years ago. Having to go through other people's stuff is just so painful. When I moved here, I helped someone I met go through an entire house full of stuff after she inherited the whole mess. Basement so full you couldn't walk through it. Multiples of everything. She knew of my antiques background so I went and looked at all the glass and china. Truth is most of it is no longer collected even though just a few decades ago, it would have been considered valuable. She got merre dollars for it by having an estate sale. There isn't much you can really do other than chip away if there is still someone residing there as I see it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    11,094
    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.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •