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Old 05-21-2014, 01:52 PM
 
Location: sumter
7,189 posts, read 4,639,763 times
Reputation: 5869

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June 18 2014 will be the first anniversary of my mother's death and nothing in her closet or room have been taken care of yet. When my father died several years ago, my mom and I got rid of his things about two months after his death, she took the lead on that. We gave anything of his to family members who wanted them and the rest went to the salvation army store. I have two sisters and a brother here in the same town and I have talked to them several times about going through her closet. I didn't expect much from my brother, but I thought my sisters would have taken the lead and do something by now. My mother had lots of nice things(clothes and shoes) and lots of hats. She was big into to hats for wearing to church on sundays and they are still in their boxes all across the top of the closet. Also lots of shoes and jewelry and undergarment, her personal toiletries, lotions, creams,and perfumes. MY youngest sister came over one day and took a very nice leather blazer out of the closet months ago and that was it. I'm thinking with them being the girls, they would have already done something by now. I can just see that as soon as I start to get rid of things, they will have a fit because I did it alone. I'm so tired of waiting on them and I can really use that room. The only thing I have is her bible, hair brush because of her hair in it, and some pictures. She have lots of things in boxes that I have no idea what is in them.
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Old 05-21-2014, 04:49 PM
 
Location: galaxy far far away
3,111 posts, read 4,398,035 times
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Sounds like your siblings aren't ready to accept that she's gone. It took me over a year after Dad died to go back to my parent's house and visit. Even then I kept expecting him to come through the door and say, "Surprise! I'm still here. I was just kidding!"

You may have to take the lead. Expecting others to do what you think they should do is not feasible for many reasons - time, fear, grief, money, old issues, ghosts of the past...

I suggest you order pizza, buy a couple of sixpacks, have some friends over, and make a list of everything. Tell your siblings what you are doing in case they want to join in and get to it. Then send out the list to the siblings and say, "Here ya go. This is what's left of Mom's life. Tell me what you want. If I don't hear back by X date, I'll call an estate dealer to come and make a bid on it. After the dealer picks it all up, you'll only get it back if you go pay for it."

Before you call an estate dealer, though, start a few piles:

1) This stuff should go to the homeless, church, domestic abuse shelter, etc.
2) This stuff could be used by Military spouses and families. (We dropped a lot of stuff off in San Diego after both my brother and dad passed away. Those families just are not being well taken care of and even our food items and dishes were gladly accepted.)
3) This stuff is just too personal to go to anyone but family
4) This needs to be shredded and/or destroyed
5) The, "Mom, what were you thinking holding on to 87 tupperware lids with no matching containers?" pile -- all the useless things that hide out and reproduce in the dark corners of our cabinets. Those get tossed.

Any antiques, hats, jewelry, crystal, interesting knick knacks can then be sold to the highest bidder on ebay or turned over to an estate auction.

It's not easy. Everything you touch reminds you of every facet of your life growing up with her and away from her. You'll discover amazing things about your mom that you never knew. She will become more human to you, and more mysterious. This is why you need your friends there. The act of making a list is like journaling her life and will help keep you from dropping into despair over the loss.

Since you wrote to this group, I would say something in you is telling you, "It's time."
You'll get a lot of advice here from all of us... complete strangers. So do what feels comfortable and be gentle with yourself. But git'er done. A weight will lift when it's finished. Thinking about doing it is harder than doing it.

God bless and I'm sorry for your loss.
RC
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Old 05-21-2014, 05:04 PM
 
Location: sumter
7,189 posts, read 4,639,763 times
Reputation: 5869
Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Cowgirl View Post
Sounds like your siblings aren't ready to accept that she's gone. It took me over a year after Dad died to go back to my parent's house and visit. Even then I kept expecting him to come through the door and say, "Surprise! I'm still here. I was just kidding!"

You may have to take the lead. Expecting others to do what you think they should do is not feasible for many reasons - time, fear, grief, money, old issues, ghosts of the past...

I suggest you order pizza, buy a couple of sixpacks, have some friends over, and make a list of everything. Tell your siblings what you are doing in case they want to join in and get to it. Then send out the list to the siblings and say, "Here ya go. This is what's left of Mom's life. Tell me what you want. If I don't hear back by X date, I'll call an estate dealer to come and make a bid on it. After the dealer picks it all up, you'll only get it back if you go pay for it."

Before you call an estate dealer, though, start a few piles:

1) This stuff should go to the homeless, church, domestic abuse shelter, etc.
2) This stuff could be used by Military spouses and families. (We dropped a lot of stuff off in San Diego after both my brother and dad passed away. Those families just are not being well taken care of and even our food items and dishes were gladly accepted.)
3) This stuff is just too personal to go to anyone but family
4) This needs to be shredded and/or destroyed
5) The, "Mom, what were you thinking holding on to 87 tupperware lids with no matching containers?" pile -- all the useless things that hide out and reproduce in the dark corners of our cabinets. Those get tossed.

Any antiques, hats, jewelry, crystal, interesting knick knacks can then be sold to the highest bidder on ebay or turned over to an estate auction.

It's not easy. Everything you touch reminds you of every facet of your life growing up with her and away from her. You'll discover amazing things about your mom that you never knew. She will become more human to you, and more mysterious. This is why you need your friends there. The act of making a list is like journaling her life and will help keep you from dropping into despair over the loss.

Since you wrote to this group, I would say something in you is telling you, "It's time."
You'll get a lot of advice here from all of us... complete strangers. So do what feels comfortable and be gentle with yourself. But git'er done. A weight will lift when it's finished. Thinking about doing it is harder than doing it.

God bless and I'm sorry for your loss.
RC
Great ideas here. Thanks for taking the time to write all of this down, I really appreciate your advice and thoughtfulness. Thanks so much.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Ostend,Belgium....
8,738 posts, read 6,175,147 times
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great post R_cowgirl!
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,433 posts, read 24,210,764 times
Reputation: 24745
I would send out a form letter or email to everyone who might be interested telling them what day you are going to go through Mom's stuff. Invite them all to help and get what they want. And those who don't show up have no complaining rights! I would send it out 6 weeks or so in advance and try to make it a day/time when most can attend if so inclined.

On that day, do it all and get it done. Then you don't have to waste any more time dreading it or thinking about it. And you get your space back!
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:28 PM
 
Location: sumter
7,189 posts, read 4,639,763 times
Reputation: 5869
Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
I would send out a form letter or email to everyone who might be interested telling them what day you are going to go through Mom's stuff. Invite them all to help and get what they want. And those who don't show up have no complaining rights! I would send it out 6 weeks or so in advance and try to make it a day/time when most can attend if so inclined.

On that day, do it all and get it done. Then you don't have to waste any more time dreading it or thinking about it. And you get your space back!
Thanks, very good advice here and I will be using these good ideas in a few days from now.
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Old 05-23-2014, 04:26 PM
 
9,347 posts, read 15,792,238 times
Reputation: 17142
I can only the echo the above. I would give notice that on this date and time I am taking care of business. Everyone is invited to come over and help, and to see if there are any items that are of special significance to you.

I don't want to sound morbid, but some of the hats may sell well at a vintage store if you have one near you.

I am sorry for your loss.
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Old 05-23-2014, 04:54 PM
 
12,607 posts, read 14,613,304 times
Reputation: 14101
When my parents died, first all my siblings met and too things we personally wanted and/or had some sentimental value. After that we let our kids (the grandchildren) have what they wanted. After that we had a garage sale where everything left was for sale and we got rid of a lot of the stuff that way. Some things we donated, like lift chairs, walkers, and other things elderly people could use. After that we gave away/threw away what was left.

I still have some of my mom's outfits hanging in a closet and I have a plastic storage container with some of their things that I wanted to keep but didn't know what to do with. Maybe later I'll want it, or maybe not, but didn't want to decide now.

And I have one container that has my dad's clothes in it, the clothes he was wearing when he checked into the hospital where he died. A pair of jeans, a short sleeve plaid shirt, a pair of suspenders, a pair of underwear, and a pair of socks. I didn't get his shoes; they found them at the hospital later but I didn't go pick them up.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:11 PM
 
284 posts, read 580,494 times
Reputation: 204
I am the oldest of five. After my mother died, the sister she had lived with set a date for the rest of us to come divide up her things. I couldn't do it on that date (had nonrefundable air travel tickets) and my sister didn't want to wait for us to return.
I would have been more upset except that Mom had already given me several items I particularly wanted.
It turned out better than I expected. My sister saved everything she knew we had given or bought for Mom and boxed up everything that wasn't wanted and asked me to take it whether I wanted it or not, some of it was junk and some of it was keepable.
So yes, set a date and stay firm - you won't be able to please everyone.
To get rid of the rest, if you don't want to have an estate or garage sale or sell it on Ebay, consider charities that provide housing for the homeless. We visited a local group that does that yesterday and I was very impressed by their program.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:04 PM
 
Location: galaxy far far away
3,111 posts, read 4,398,035 times
Reputation: 7185
It occurs to me as I read all of this, that those of us who are "north of 60" should remember what we leave behind can create huge problems for our loved ones. Maybe this memorial weekend, as you celebrate those who died, consider setting a few hours aside to get rid of things you don't need: have a tossing party (get rid of those tupperware lids!!!); send special items to loved ones, and take a load of clothing and household items to a charitable organization supporting the military, the homeless, or any other group you support. While you are at it, take a look at your wills and trusts and make sure they are current.

Then create an Executor's list with current log on information and passwords (especially for City Data so we know what happened to you!) Make sure your other financial records are up to date and the Executor list has bank info. If you have a storage locker, send that info to your executor with a spare key. Put keys in a lockbox somewhere so those who need to can quickly access the places you've squirreled away your stuff. None of us is here forever. Make it easier on those you leave behind. They will celebrate you for it! (even more than they already will because you are such a wonderful person, you know....)
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