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

  1. #21
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    Nothing wrong with hiring it out if that is what you want to do. My MIL was a hoarder but fortunately she only lived in a 2 bedroom trailer so only so much stuff you can put in there. She died unexpectedly 10 years ago and we were still working f.t. but did it ourselves. A big house is another whole issue. Ugh! My Mom asked me to help them downsize when I was 30 and she was 64 and we took 2 years to do it at our leisure. It was a fun experience doing it together. then they moved to a 2 bedroom apartment. In her late 80's she knew she was dying so disposed of lots of her stuff herself including her pics after we took what we wanted. She was a awesome lady. My Dad was very ill by 59 so she made all the decisions and he went along. If he had been well things would have been different. I imagine they would have kept the house longer although not forever because he was a practical man. I am determined not to leave a mess to my kids. My DH's kids will have to deal with his junk if I die first but right now I keep it contained but if I was gone I shutter to see what would happen to the house. My son said after all 5 kids took what they wanted he would just hire junk people to take the rest. He is the executor and not worried about it.

  2. #22
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I just returned home after what was supposed to be a 1-week trip to clean out my mother-in-law’s home. She passed away 2 years ago. We’ve worked on the project for weeks at a time during these years, but hadn’t gotten to the meat of the problem yet.

    She lived in a huge 4-story Victorian home for 60+ years, and was a bit of a hoarder.

    Our 1-week visit stretched to nearly a month of continual effort. One day my fitbit said I exceeded 271 flights of stairs.

    We took 4 large dump trucks of just pure junk out of there (1-800-GOT-JUNK people are saints.). We took another 3.5 truckloads of material to Goodwill or an auction house. There was a moving truck with 150 moving boxes full of academic material that got sent to a college library. There were another ~50 boxes of books that went to a bookseller, who bless his heart, came to the home, sorted, boxed< and carried them out. There was a truck with about $350k worth of art that had to be driven down to a gallery in Arizona. There were two moving trucks full of furniture that we sent to a cousin who is setting up a home - it fully furnished his new house.

    Today the last wave of junk removal is occurring, 3 flatbed trucks full. There are approximately 6 cords of firewood in the carriage house still.

    We still have a storage locker full of a mid-sized u-haul truck worth of material that has yet to be sorted through.

    OMG, don’t do this to your kids.

  3. #23
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    That was one huge house. I think it is a terrible thing to do to your kids.

  4. #24
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    Reading these stories, dealing with stuff from a family member who died, and listening to friends who have had to clean out houses has been enough to motivate me the last couple of years. Reading threads like these rejuvenates my decluttering in those times when I seem to "slack off". I know it is somewhat selfish, but I don't want the "cleaning out of stuff" to be the last thing people remember about me. Congrats to all the progress everyone is making/has made.
    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. - Anon.

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

  5. #25
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Latest news on my transition from NJ to Vermont: my New Jersey son is telling me (repeatedly, as in "don't forget, Mom!") that he and my DIL are VERY interested in renting the New Jersey house from us starting spring 2019. Downside is, we have to commit to living in VT full-time by then. Upside: it will force us to go through that process of getting rid of our 30-year cache of stuff, because they want to bring in their furnishings--they don't want to rent our house furnished.

    Another upside: We get to visit our own home. I should offer to turn half of the garage into an in-law suite.

    If that happens, I really look forward to going through the purge process throughout the year, even though it's not going to be easy. At least I'll have the peace of mind that I won't be doing to them what some of the relatives in this thread have done to you guys. If DH and I stick to living in 700 sq ft, there's only going to be so much stuff to clean out when that time comes.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Latest news on my transition from NJ to Vermont: my New Jersey son is telling me (repeatedly, as in "don't forget, Mom!") that he and my DIL are VERY interested in renting the New Jersey house from us starting spring 2019. Downside is, we have to commit to living in VT full-time by then. Upside: it will force us to go through that process of getting rid of our 30-year cache of stuff, because they want to bring in their furnishings--they don't want to rent our house furnished.

    Another upside: We get to visit our own home. I should offer to turn half of the garage into an in-law suite.

    If that happens, I really look forward to going through the purge process throughout the year, even though it's not going to be easy. At least I'll have the peace of mind that I won't be doing to them what some of the relatives in this thread have done to you guys. If DH and I stick to living in 700 sq ft, there's only going to be so much stuff to clean out when that time comes.
    This would not be a positive for me, since I could not do business with my son--if they couldn't pay the rent, I could not evict them. I would also want that cash to get a bigger house in Vermont, but then that's me, I am really trying to upsize, having been living in very small spaces for the past twenty years, and really want to spread out a little, even if only up to 1200 square feet.

    I guess for me it would be how it fit into my retirement plans, and how it would be to have my largest asset tied up with family, who are younger and at the height of their earning years, while mine are behind me. To me, it would not feel fair, as though I were still subsidizing them, but I guess it depends on how much you have, how much you like living in the 700 square foot space--it definitely ties your hands to rent to family, and I know that you can't rent to family and get the normal tax benefits of renting. So that is something you probably want to check into before saying yes.

  7. #27
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Tybee, I think your points are very well taken. I'll think about it. But I know I want to downsize. It will be interesting to see how I feel about living in 700 sq.ft. When I did a 6-week stint in Ocean Grove, I LOVED it. Everything was right there. Tidying up was a snap. If I wanted to put my sweater away, the bedroom was about 7 steps from the living room. It felt like a cocoon. The big unknown now is, living small was great for 1 person, but how will it be with 2? That's the big IF.

    With regard to my kids, it felt like a win for me because it would be stripping off the band-aid just a little bit more. And my son and DIL are both working professionals--he's a lawyer for the State, and she works for a Fortune 500 in cybersecurity. Next year their child care expenses will be cut in half. Unless a disaster happens, I don't see them as not being able to pay their rent. BUT I fully understand the land mine of doing business with family and friends (as we talked about in another thread).

    Sorry for the brief hijack..
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  8. #28
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    This conversation reminds me of a woman I met here in Co Springs who has actually made her livelihood off of befriending older folk without heirs; they have paid for houses full of stuff. She helps them navigate old age, driving them to doctor appts, preparing meals, doing taxes, etc and some have even left their houses and possessions to her in wills. She now has a dozen or more rentals with some of them from these relationships. I helped her clear out a house of the last elderly person she did this for; she spent nearly a year going through a huge amount of stuff kind of like Bae did with his MIL's house.

  9. #29
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    We have rented in the past to our son and dil with no issues. Eventually we sold the property because we wanted the $. 1 person in 700 sq ft is fine but 2 if DH is messy will be a disaster in my opinion. I would have to kill dh. Plus we need to be able to have separate spaces. The smallest we can live comfortably in is 1400 sq ft and still not many steps to put things away.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    1 person in 700 sq ft is fine but 2 if DH is messy will be a disaster in my opinion. I would have to kill dh. Plus we need to be able to have separate spaces. The smallest we can live comfortably in is 1400 sq ft and still not many steps to put things away.
    I think it takes the right relationship, along with now to make a small space a success. It varies with each person.

    We have ( per tax records) 985 sq ft in Florida, and have lived here comfortably for 30+ years, even raising two children. Our NC vacation home is somewhere between 600 - 650 sq ft, and it's not comfortable full time. We'd need to rework something to be anything other than snowbirds. It gets too close feeling, for sure!

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