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Getting rid of Mom and Dads stuff
Old 03-01-2013, 02:49 PM   #1
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Getting rid of Mom and Dads stuff

Hopefully my parents will live forever but on the off chance things dont go according to plan what will i do with all their stuff if they ever do pass on?.
At the moment they are in their late 80's and in good health but they live in an 8 room house thats just choc full of a lifetime of accumulated possessions, The prospect of one day having to clean out that house strikes me as a daunting task, figuring out whats worth selling and whats just junk is also going to be a major headache,
Any one have any ideas as to where i'd begin with such a task?
Thanks
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:51 PM   #2
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A recent thread with some applicable information: Emptying a House
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:01 PM   #3
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Depending on where they are, it may be S.O.P. (or advisable) to get an estate appraisal. It may not be necessary tax/estate-wise, but may give you a better idea of what's worth (or not worth) chucking vs. hanging on to or selling.

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Old 03-01-2013, 03:16 PM   #4
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To complicate the problem they are permanent Florida residents, i'm a permanent Canadian resident.
Thanks for the link REWahoo
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:51 PM   #5
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Been through that and it is daunting. Give access to relatives/friends who may want some special mementos. Have estate sale. Sell or donate all remaining things to thrift shop.

The toughest thing is the car full of stuff that you cart home. Any single item you dispose of represents the last time you will see it and there will be no further items from Mom or Dad. everything you toss diminishes the tangible ties to them. Makes getting rid of the most trivial things very difficult.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:48 PM   #6
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Been through the "empty the house" scenario a few times. Much easier to be even a bit pro-active & minimize the hoarding in the 1st place . OR....Had one elderly relative who passed her later yrs putting labels on stuff noting which relation was to get that item after she passed. Other stuff was marked "sell" or "junk". Sounds a bit morbid, but actually she felt comforted knowing her 'important' things would go to folks who wanted (even cherished) 'em. Upon her passing, her 'quirky project' was indeed appreciated by the family.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:48 PM   #7
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Estate sale is the answer from what I can see. Happens every weekend here in my retirement community. Sometimes two or three on any given weekend. We have people that specialize in these type sales. Family can come in and take what they want prior to the sale and then the balance is sold and a percentage goes to the sales company, usually 25%.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:53 PM   #8
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I do encourage talking to your parents about their stuff and the history of different items and if there are things they'd like given to particular people. I've done that with my mom and it was a great opportunity to learn some things about our family history.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:16 PM   #9
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I agree with Fishingmn but as a practical matter our parents often don't want to deal with the end of life.

My SIL has significant health problems, she fell recently and is in rehab... when DH went to see her she mistook him for their younger brother... and they do not look at all alike! She told the younger brother that she will not leave her home, one that is not accessible at all. What is holding her back? All the 'treasures' in the basement!

My advise is to try to reduce the collection of 'stuff' but understand that you may not be able to make a dent until both are gone.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:34 AM   #10
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We just went through that with selling FIL's house. Family members were given the choice of taking what they wanted, the rest was either donated or trashed. This was simplified because we live 35 minutes away. Even though FIL lived simply we were still surprised by the volume of stuff to deal with.

Nonetheless, DW is still sorting through piles of stuff in the basement. Anyone want a green-shaded desk lamp?
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:37 AM   #11
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We've told our kids to take what they want and sell/give away the rest. I think they'll use our house as a vacation spot so that will take care of the furniture. We did a pretty good job downsizing when we moved here so that helped but a sale seems like the answer for the other stuff.

Not sure what "personal" items they'll want and what I think they will want might not be on target. When my dad died, I was given the clock he received after working 25 years- it's nice but after putting in over 28 with a megacorp myself, it didn't mean as much as I know the sentiment that came with it, just a union contract requirement to them. The only other item I really have of sentimental value other than some photos is the head from the hammer he used in the workshop. I used it as a hammer for a while, the handle broke so I cut it off and put the head in a tool box. Whenever I see it, I think of my dad and the times we spent in his workshop which are my best memories of dad.

I think the other comments about bringing home a lot make sense, once you have it, I would bet it would become a bit harder to get rid of.

Jambo101, hopefully you'll get some help from your parents before you have to decide, my mom was really good helping us figure out what was important to my dad when he died. She then moved to a much smaller place so that cleared out a lot. Don't think it will take long for us to sort through things when mom dies.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:44 AM   #12
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The only other item I really have of sentimental value other than some photos is the head from the hammer he used in the workshop.
I can understand that. Still in my dresser drawer is a large nut that fell off a railroad train. My grandfather painted it gold and used it for a doorstop. When I was five years old it took both hands to lift it. For some reason it was, and remains, important.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:29 AM   #13
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This thread brings back painful memories to me. Some of them about cousins getting into our deceased grandparents' homes first and helping themselves freely without being asked to. They even took the light bulbs. Awful. I have never talked to some of them again since then. This was 22 years ago.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:29 AM   #14
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To complicate the problem they are permanent Florida residents, i'm a permanent Canadian resident.
Thanks for the link REWahoo
I've just gone through the process of clearing the home of my surviving parent who died in November. Clothing to charities, and rented a 20 cu. yd. dumpster for most of the attic and basement contents. My sibiling and I chose what we wanted, and shipped it to our homes. Parents home was in the Midwest; sibling lives in the Southwest (US); and I shipped several small cartons across the Atlantic.

The rest (furniture, household items, and car) were sold at public aution. The auction was held at the home, end of December, at the end of a blizzard. We still made more than the original estimated valuation. After going through the experience, I would recommend turning it over to an auction company (estate sale). I must admit that the auctioneer was "disappointed" about the dumpster. "There is no such thing as junk!"

My real reason for posting was to alert you to a problem that I encountered with probate. You mentioned you're resident in Canada. My parent had named my sibling and myself as co-executors. In this paticular State, the court will not allow you to be an executor if your residence is outside the US, although the lawyer looking after the estate keeps me fully informed and responds to my wishes. (My sibling and myself get along great, so no problems there.) As a consequence, my sibling has ended up dealing with all the legal paperwork, as well as paying all the bills to keep the house going until it's sold.

Just something you may want to check into whilst you have the time. The rules regarding executors may well be different in other States.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:58 AM   #15
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My uncle moved from his long time home and used an estate sale company to sell off most of his stuff. They do all the work, including research into pricing and clean up afterwards. It seemed very easy, and not too outrageous in price compared to the work involved. He was happy with the results and got some surprisingly good prices for some unusual stuff.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:59 PM   #16
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DH's grandparents (89 and 90) died within months of each other. They were still living in the family home and had plenty of stuff. The house was in Connecticut and their two sons lived in Colorado and Indiana. The eight grandchildren were adults with their own homes in various states.

We all went to the 2nd funeral and then went back to the house. Each grandkid got a set of colored stickers and all were invited to go through the house and tag anything they wanted. There were a few things that were agreed upon before this started, (Grandma always said Joe got the secretary cabinet). Luckily, there were no big blow ups or arguments. It went very smoothly.

We had our car there so we brought things home with us, most everyone else had their items shipped later. The two sons had an estate sale for anything still left, donated the rest and then sold the house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
The toughest thing is the car full of stuff that you cart home.
Yep, when my father moved to assisted living I came home with a full carload. I sold some things at a consignment shop and split the proceeds with my sister. DH took many things to Goodwill. I still have some things to sell on eBay.

I also brought home the contents of my Dad's desk and a huge trunk of all his old tax returns and important paperwork. He wanted me to shred it for him. There was far too much for a home shredder! I found a local industrial paper recycling place that had a community drop-off place and took a load in.

My Dad is quite spartan and practical and did not keep a lot of possessions and still, this was a lot of volume and a lot of work, physically and emotionally. The toughest stuff was the family pictures.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:21 PM   #17
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:46 PM   #18
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I am in the process of clearing out my mom's house. It is tough. There is a LOT of stuff. I plan to hire an estate auction company, but just getting it to that point is a major job. Lots of paper to go through and decide whether to keep or shred. My parents kept everything...think tax returns going back to the forties and cancelled checks from the fifties. Executor of the estate is a tough job emotionally. However, I find some pleasant surprises like my mom's grade school report cards. I am not exaggerating when I say they kept everything!
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