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Thread: Nothing like cleaning out a hoarder's house to motivate

  1. #11
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    Some people honestly think they are sitting on a goldmine of priceless heirlooms. The fact is few people want more stuff. Chipped statues, ragged towels, boxes of photos of unidentifiable people and must old books have very low value today. Even China and fancy silver, too much maintenance for most people.
    I remember my friend who was an only child literally carrying most possessions to a dumpster he had put on property. He just did not have time to take off work to clean out the house. A friend and I were literally taking anything we thought might have value to the local goodwill and Salvation Army, in the hope they could keep it out of the landfill.

  2. #12
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    Herbgeek, am I understanding correctly that you are finished or very nearly finished in MIL's apartment? I'd like to congratulate you on finishing that huge job!

  3. #13
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    My sister and I are cleaning out our parent's home after my Dad passed last fall, Mom has been gone for nearly 3 years. Mom and Dad not only kept everything, they kept grandparents' stuff (both sides), stuff belonging to one grandma's best friend and my great uncle. Then there's all the various purchases, still in the shopping bags because in their later years, if they lost track of something because it was buried somewhere, they bought that item again. While the house is now cleaner than it has been a long time, there's still a lot to go through. Sister thinks a lot of stuff has value and we are going to make a killing in the estate sale but I think she will be disappointed. The only value I personally see in an estate sale is largely so we have help in getting rid of the stuff, because right now that's the only help she's considering. Maybe in time, when she is tired of having to touch.every.single.thing she might consider getting a dumpster or calling a junk removal place.

    I have been decluttering our own home for years but this process has made me think even more critically over what is really worth keeping. Stuff that I would not have parted with years ago is now making it's way to Goodwill or the trash.

  4. #14
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    "Some people honestly think they are sitting on a goldmine of priceless heirlooms."

    Uh, yeah. That is my mother.
    She has serving dishes "Why, they are 50 years old!" Well, yes, and they were mass produced and sold by the thousands and you can see them in any thrift store.
    She doesn't understand that "mail order book club novels" have no value at all. And she has literally thousands of them. She won't even let anyone else read them!
    And 21 Christmas trees and decorations for each one. She put out no decorations this last Christmas.
    And dozens of china teacups and saucers that haven't been out of the box in 70 years- tell me, what good is that?!

  5. #15
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    You all are giving me anxiety! My dad is gone and mom is 93. Time is ticking, and she won't let go of anything. She is legally blind. I've asked to start downsizing books - she literally said that books were her friends! There's no response to that, just wow!

    She has a shopping addiction. There are so many clothes, many of which have the tags still on them. I can assure you, there is not even ONE item in my closet I've not worn. Also, items she wore when I was a child, and I'm now a grandmother. Ugh!

    Then there's the RoyalDoulton figurines. They may be collectible to her, but not to most people. (PS: That's why you find them on eBay for $30, nobody wants them!)

    I feel for you, OP, and anyone else wading through or facing this situation.

    PSS: my son and daughter-in-law seem to be in full acquisition mode too. Maybe it does alternate generations!

  6. #16
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lmerullo View Post

    Then there's the RoyalDoulton figurines. They may be collectible to her, but not to most people. (PS: That's why you find them on eBay for $30, nobody wants them!)
    Yes, both my MIL and mother were huge Royal Doulton, Hummel, etc. collectors. We have them packed up and BIL has them in a storage locker (what a waste of paid-for space). Oddly, it's DH who keeps saying "maybe they'll be worth something someday." If that's the case, I think they'll have to survive at least a few generations. My kids sure as heck don't want them.

    My BIL was reading me a NYT article this morning about how millennials want nothing to do with big houses, nice cars, designer clothes, etc. They want experiences--and not just for themselves, but they have to be "Instagrammable". For that reason, Marriott has a new brand--Moxie--which has teeny sleeping spaces but they have all sorts of events that guests can partake in.

    So the status symbols of the 21st century are the photos you take at music festivals, tattoo parlors, and mountain peaks and then share.

    At least at that rate, our grandchildren likely won't need a dumpster when they're our age and they're cleaning out our kids' tiny houses.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  7. #17
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Herbgeek, am I understanding correctly that you are finished or very nearly finished in MIL's apartment? I'd like to congratulate you on finishing that huge job!
    Thanks Ms Chris, but we took the cheaters way out. After we sorted through and separated out either1) personal papers/photos to go through later 2) stuff we could recycle through our town, the rest was just junk. I had bagged maybe 20+ kitchen sized garbage bags and 12 larger bags but then we just gave up and hired a person to take the rest of the junk away. Very little is actually being kept: a couple of coolers, an interesting plate, some clothespins and drying racks. My husband took back a dresser he'd given her. A grand daughter took a hutch and a dresser.

  8. #18
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    Thanks Ms Chris, but we took the cheaters way out. After we sorted through and separated out either1) personal papers/photos to go through later 2) stuff we could recycle through our town, the rest was just junk. I had bagged maybe 20+ kitchen sized garbage bags and 12 larger bags but then we just gave up and hired a person to take the rest of the junk away. Very little is actually being kept: a couple of coolers, an interesting plate, some clothespins and drying racks. My husband took back a dresser he'd given her. A grand daughter took a hutch and a dresser.

    But good for you, that IS the way to do it, nothing cheating about it. Unless the elderly resident hid cash amongst their objects, there is no reason to touch each object. It is easy to eyeball the place and pick out the few that someone may want, and pay someone to jettison the rest.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Yes, both my MIL and mother were huge Royal Doulton, Hummel, etc. collectors. We have them packed up and BIL has them in a storage locker (what a waste of paid-for space). Oddly, it's DH who keeps saying "maybe they'll be worth something someday." If that's the case, I think they'll have to survive at least a few generations. My kids sure as heck don't want them.
    My mom had tons of figurines such as Hummel, Lladros and a few others. Also a doll collection. Neither me or my sisters want them. It wasn't so much that Mom thought they were valuable, it's that she figured her 3 daughters would want them. Same thing with her china. Lovely pattern and she wanted us to split it between us but none of us can use it, it will just sit there. So it's going into the estate sale. It's rather sad but taking it on anyway (out of guilt, sadness, or whatever) only kicks the can down the road when someone has to clean out after us!

    DH's family are the ones who keep stuff because they think it will be valuable. Also have hoarding / packrat tendencies. Sister's home is a total hoard because of all the things she thinks are valuable. Every Christmas she would give DH a Hallmark ornament telling him it would be "worth money someday". We expect that when FIL and MIL pass, she will clean out the house and as far as we are concerned she can have it all. DH was cured of the family "packrattiness" after a few moves between 3 apartments and a house.

  10. #20
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    Herbgeek,

    Sounds perfect to me! The things anybody wanted have gone home with them, the rest is being taken care of by someone else. Not your problem anymore. I'm sure you will have enough to do with the personal papers and photos.
    Last edited by mschrisgo2; 2-26-18 at 5:46pm. Reason: spelling!

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