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Thread: Clearing Out Parent's Home

  1. #41
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KayLR View Post
    My mother just passed away May 20. We are in the process of cleaning out her house, too. So far it's been an ok process between all the sibs.

    Since I am the one who has always done genealogy, they keep bringing me stuff they think I'll want to save. Some of it is helpful, other not. One thing has me a little befuddled. It's a family Bible from my dad's side of the family----from 1850!! It's about 5 inches thick, heavy, musty and stinky. There are names and dates written (beautifully) on a few of the back pages. I can simply scan those pages, but I feel kind of weird about just throwing it away. What would you do?
    Well, depends on how musty it is, and it depends on how much other stuff you keep from your family.

    but I would never throw away the oldest single artifact from a side of the family.

    I had an old blanket that was said to have accompanied a great grandfather to the civil war. I researched blankets of that era and it did seem to hold up to that story, so I passed it on to the eldest son of the eldest cousiin while I was scanning photos and dividing up stuff. We had very little to pass on to the kids today and that is fine, but each kid got something.

  2. #42
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    Kay, my sympathies on the loss of your mom.

    I am a DAR member and I know the DAR library has a large collection of family bibles; you might consider donating there:

    http://www.dar.org/library/collectio...al-collections

  3. #43
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    Bumping thread with an update. At this point, no major cleaning out of stuff has occurred since my original post. The only kind of cleaning I have been willing to do is the standard upkeep with the three rooms my dad has been living in: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and just enough to keep it clean and safe. This didn't cause the dustup I expected from sis as Dad has been spending the last two months mostly in the hospital (which has stopped the hoarding) and now that he has a cancer diagnosis, we have been focusing more on his care and not his stuff.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by saguaro View Post
    Bumping thread with an update. At this point, no major cleaning out of stuff has occurred since my original post. The only kind of cleaning I have been willing to do is the standard upkeep with the three rooms my dad has been living in: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and just enough to keep it clean and safe. This didn't cause the dustup I expected from sis as Dad has been spending the last two months mostly in the hospital (which has stopped the hoarding) and now that he has a cancer diagnosis, we have been focusing more on his care and not his stuff.
    The priority of basic safety and cleanliness makes sense. It can be a lonely process but good for you for doing this.

  5. #45
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    I hope everyone is taking a lesson from this. Ask your kids if they want any item of yours. Unless it is something you use everyday just give it to them. Keep decluttering and cleaning. I imagine most of our kids want little. One DIL told me as an only child she knows she will have to deal with her moms stuff and it already overwhelms her.

    We have very very little excess but in one of my closets are two big bins of old computer wires and so on. DH is afraid he might need them. I am thinking most is very outdated and should go. Oh well, not enough to cause discord about.

  6. #46
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    I have given things to my kids that they wanted. I have gotten rid of so much that my things will not burden anyone when I die. I think it is a great idea to just focus and keeping your Dad safe and clean. Once he passes then the real work will begin.

  7. #47
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    Bumping up for an update and some ranting: Dad has now been moved out of the home and is currently in a rehab facility while undergoing cancer treatment. His time at rehab will be over as of this Friday, after which he will be moved to a nursing care facility. He is too weak to be living on his own between lack of eating and the treatment. His prognosis is not that great and there's a possibility that continuing treatment will be reevaluated since he refused chemo last week though he allowed it yesterday at a reduced dose. The lack of eating is a real problem but he is refusing a feeding tube, which is his right to do IMHO.

    I have continued to focus my efforts on my Dad, taking him to treatments to help ease the burden on my sister and visiting him on weekends. However, now that we are facing care facility costs, my sister is back to going nuts over emptying the house, selling it and told me "we have to go in and clean out every weekend", which given the amount of crap in that place would take us years, makes no sense at all.

    Now, there is still money in Dad's retirement account, enough to cover costs for a few months. At this point I have told my sister that my efforts are focusing on taking care of Dad and not his stuff but she continues to make a fuss over cleanup. When she starts in about cleaning, I emphasize care of Dad over stuff, lather, rinse, repeat. Yesterday I let her go on and just didn't address it at all.

    Frankly I have enough in my plate with Dad and his care. I have to make a 2 hour round trip just to get to where he is on top of the trip to and from the hospital and sometimes I have had to stop at the house for things (feed cat, get some legal papers for sister and such). That is fine, but when the time comes to clean out the house, I am not making that same kind of trip on an ongoing and indefinite basis (I say indefinite, because sis insists we have to do it until it's done, whenever it's done, it's all very open ended). 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).

    Haven't gone there yet with sister who will not be happy but that will be my stance when the time comes. Get the cleanup crew, local football team, whatever, but we cannot go it alone with just the two of us. Will take forever which flies in the face of her saying it's urgent, which everything to her is.

    Ok, rant mode over. Carry on.

  8. #48
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    Totally understand. Agree with focusing on Dad.

    Do you have any problem with telling sister to take care of the house? Would you accept what she does? We pretty much allowed our brother to clean and dispose of all Dad's property. Told him to take the tools and anything else he could use. He harvested the crop and we told him to take all the proceeds. It was so worth it to us to not hassle over the stuff. (Note: not all families are like this.)

    Or can you give her a very specific time and a very specific amount of time that you can give her for this duty? If not, that is understandable.

  9. #49
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    I vote for the team approach. Hire it out. When my parents moved out here, they loaded onto the moving van the belongings they really wanted and the rest of it was consigned to a company that did estate sales. They would give to my parents anything they earned over their charge and any items left after the sale were sent to charity. Done and done. They didn't spend weeks/months going through stuff or cleaning. saguaro, if your parents have as much as you say they have, this will be a considerable effort but likely one which could be paid off by sale of items you and your sister (or any other sibs) don't want.

    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.

    I think you need to set your boundaries on this. It sounds like Sis' situation is substantially different from yours.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  10. #50
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I came across this the other day:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/swedi...7-10?r=UK&IR=T

    My wife just got back from a month's stay at her recently-deceased father's house, simply shoveling through the "stuff". OMG.

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