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Old 11-26-2016, 08:10 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,842 posts, read 18,867,840 times
Reputation: 33748

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I did it for the smaller of my parents' homes and my ex and I did it for his parents' small apartment.

His parents had been friendly with a young couple next door so we let them have anything they wanted in regards to furniture. Out went the living room furniture and the furniture from both bedrooms! They asked around at work and more young couples came and got stuff. Clothing and kitchenware was packed into boxes and taken to the Salvation Army.

My ex was an only child and that made it easier. We did call his cousin to see if there was anything she wanted. I think that's a nice thing to do because often they will want a keepsake. And she did come over and help a little bit.

Small things, we packed into boxes and took home with us to sort through as time allowed. That part took forever because we wanted to go though all the papers, old pictures, jewelry, keepsakes, etc. You never know what you might want to keep or what you might find.

With some things I just called the local auction house and they came and got things to sell. The check in the mail felt like pay for our work.

Luckily, my parents had gotten rid of their real house with basement, garage, and shed. I have a sister from H*** who got to the Florida house and stole whatever she wanted--something you just cannot believe--but thank goodness my mother had a will and had asked me beforehand if there was anything special I would like.

After that I helped a friend whose mother had passed away. A totally different ball game because she was a hoarder and had never sold the house she had lived in for 50 years and never downsized on anything. He had already filled several dumpsters with the help of friends and he still had a house full of furniture. Mostly I helped with the decision making as to what was valuable (keep or sell) and what to dump. That was a horrible mess, it took him forever, and he did call someone with a truck to do the final cleanup and take everything away.

It's much easier if you live close by like we did because you can go on the weekends and you get to take boxes home, empty them, and go back and get more. You get to take your time--within reason. With someone far away, I would probably just go there and box up the small things to look through later and then hire a professional to run an estate sale. The rest gets donated.
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Old 11-26-2016, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Finally the house is done and we are in Port St. Lucie!
3,488 posts, read 2,075,631 times
Reputation: 9735
My dad had passed away years ago. My stepmom passed away this last January. We were very close. She was my mom. Still hurts.

Anyway, I live in Florida and she lived in El Paso, Texas. I stayed at her house (I was sole heir and executrix) and went through all the papers and everything. I had the help of my daughter who stayed for about 3 weeks (she flew down to be with me as I got there before mom passed and stayed with me at the hospital with mom. We were both there and the neighbor when Mom took her last breaths) and hubby came and helped for about a week. He couldn't stay longer as he had to work or he would have stayed longer. We started by filling up garbage bags of just junk. One time we had about 4 of them lined up in front of the garage. The next morning they were just gone! Ok....So we knew to not leave anything out that we wanted to keep!!

We ended up renting a dumpster and as we were filling it (and getting worried about how full it was getting and we still had more to toss...a lot more) some guy asked if he could look through it for scrap. Talk about a god send. If they hadn't come along, we would have had to pay to have it dumped a couple of times. Dad had a wiring job at one time and there were spools of wire and all kinds of stuff that mom had never cleaned out from his passing years before. After we turned in the dumpster, I figured out that when I came across something that wasn't worth anything for selling or giving away, if I left it at the curb...someone would snatch it up by morning.

I kept the things I wanted, gave a lot to my daughter and son. I stayed there until the estate was settled. My daughter drove back down from Michigan and we rented a U-haul for the things that were going either to Florida or Michigan (both my kids live in Michigan). Her and her husband drove the trip with the U-Haul with myself and their two oldest following in the car that had belonged to mom that was now mine.

Mom's neighbors were very much a family to Mom. I gave Mom's house to her and her husband. They were such a blessing to mom and did so much for mom. Whatever we didn't take (a lot of kitchen stuff and a some yard stuff, tools etc...) they would be more than willing to find homes for whatever they wouldn't use.

Their daughter and her family now live there. She had named her daughter after my mom. Little Erika called my mom "grandma". That family truly deserved that house.

I still have to figure out what to do with a few things that are still sitting in a couple of boxes. I will deal with it when we finally move into our new place. Mom was German and there are quite a few pieces of German stuff that I can't wait to display in my new home. I know I will think of her every time I look at those things. A German cuckoo clock, some memorabilia from Germany.

Go through all the papers, you may be surprised what you find. I found some items that are priceless to me. Marriage papers, mom's citizenship papers. Dad's Army papers and awards. Just priceless stuff.

Oh, the major learning experience? Knowing what to do to make it easier for MY kids. I've already told my daughter that there are things that mean absolutely nothing to anyone else but me. I will label the folders as "can be tossed without going through them" LOL. Yeah, we did a LOT of shredding. We bought a shredder that was a work horse but could only be run for 2 hours max before giving it a rest. So we did shredding mid morning for about 2 hours and evening for about 2 hours. It still took a couple of weeks. She had kept everything. I found paperwork on houses that they hadn't had since the 60's and 70's. Cars that were probably at a scrap yard years ago. All paid bills from Lord only knows how far back. Every time I opened a drawer or cabinet I found more shoe boxes filled. Not to mention the closets.... Oh boy!

And the pictures. Priceless. It is amazing how much more you learn about those that have passed just by going through everything. It helped so much to have my daughter with me. We had laughter and tears.

Wow, sorry this is so long. Didn't really mean to just dump it all like that.
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:23 PM
 
5,430 posts, read 3,452,633 times
Reputation: 13714
Do you have to put the word 'death' in the main title of the thread? haha joking, but not joking! Now I have to shut my eyes every time I scan the list of threads, ha - which is an impossibility. too stark a reminder for me. Plus it's in bold print, ha.

This task of cleaning out a home after a death has nothing to do with retirement per se, other than older people sometimes do it (but adult children often do it too, along with other age groups) but I understand the Retirement Forum now encompasses all topics having to do with being older, being in the senior age group, problems of aging, etc. I enjoy all the topics.

Last edited by matisse12; 11-26-2016 at 11:04 PM..
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in deep in Maine
3,658 posts, read 2,812,119 times
Reputation: 4436
After doing my Mother in Law's house, I was able to get my wife to throw a massive amount of stuff away, and I can actually walk through the garage now.

It took her and her two sisters two solid weeks. And by the end, the ended up hiring someone to do the rest. It was a massive job.
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Boston
277 posts, read 205,773 times
Reputation: 755
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robino1 View Post
My dad had passed away years ago. My stepmom passed away this last January. We were very close. She was my mom. Still hurts.

Anyway, I live in Florida and she lived in El Paso, Texas. I stayed at her house (I was sole heir and executrix) and went through all the papers and everything. I had the help of my daughter who stayed for about 3 weeks (she flew down to be with me as I got there before mom passed and stayed with me at the hospital with mom. We were both there and the neighbor when Mom took her last breaths) and hubby came and helped for about a week. He couldn't stay longer as he had to work or he would have stayed longer. We started by filling up garbage bags of just junk. One time we had about 4 of them lined up in front of the garage. The next morning they were just gone! Ok....So we knew to not leave anything out that we wanted to keep!!

We ended up renting a dumpster and as we were filling it (and getting worried about how full it was getting and we still had more to toss...a lot more) some guy asked if he could look through it for scrap. Talk about a god send. If they hadn't come along, we would have had to pay to have it dumped a couple of times. Dad had a wiring job at one time and there were spools of wire and all kinds of stuff that mom had never cleaned out from his passing years before. After we turned in the dumpster, I figured out that when I came across something that wasn't worth anything for selling or giving away, if I left it at the curb...someone would snatch it up by morning.

I kept the things I wanted, gave a lot to my daughter and son. I stayed there until the estate was settled. My daughter drove back down from Michigan and we rented a U-haul for the things that were going either to Florida or Michigan (both my kids live in Michigan). Her and her husband drove the trip with the U-Haul with myself and their two oldest following in the car that had belonged to mom that was now mine.

Mom's neighbors were very much a family to Mom. I gave Mom's house to her and her husband. They were such a blessing to mom and did so much for mom. Whatever we didn't take (a lot of kitchen stuff and a some yard stuff, tools etc...) they would be more than willing to find homes for whatever they wouldn't use.

Their daughter and her family now live there. She had named her daughter after my mom. Little Erika called my mom "grandma". That family truly deserved that house.

I still have to figure out what to do with a few things that are still sitting in a couple of boxes. I will deal with it when we finally move into our new place. Mom was German and there are quite a few pieces of German stuff that I can't wait to display in my new home. I know I will think of her every time I look at those things. A German cuckoo clock, some memorabilia from Germany.

Go through all the papers, you may be surprised what you find. I found some items that are priceless to me. Marriage papers, mom's citizenship papers. Dad's Army papers and awards. Just priceless stuff.

Oh, the major learning experience? Knowing what to do to make it easier for MY kids. I've already told my daughter that there are things that mean absolutely nothing to anyone else but me. I will label the folders as "can be tossed without going through them" LOL. Yeah, we did a LOT of shredding. We bought a shredder that was a work horse but could only be run for 2 hours max before giving it a rest. So we did shredding mid morning for about 2 hours and evening for about 2 hours. It still took a couple of weeks. She had kept everything. I found paperwork on houses that they hadn't had since the 60's and 70's. Cars that were probably at a scrap yard years ago. All paid bills from Lord only knows how far back. Every time I opened a drawer or cabinet I found more shoe boxes filled. Not to mention the closets.... Oh boy!

And the pictures. Priceless. It is amazing how much more you learn about those that have passed just by going through everything. It helped so much to have my daughter with me. We had laughter and tears.

Wow, sorry this is so long. Didn't really mean to just dump it all like that.
You gave away a house??
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Old 11-27-2016, 01:00 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
749 posts, read 569,317 times
Reputation: 1538
This is great information, but people may be missing it as it might be better in the Grief and Mourning section?
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Old 11-27-2016, 01:11 AM
 
Location: Northern California
269 posts, read 154,635 times
Reputation: 548
I have a friend who owned one of the houses where evil Ramon Salcido killed some of his seven victims. After killing his wife, he kidnapped his three daughters and that sick **** ended up slitting the throats of his three daughters and dumping them like garbage, but girl one survived.

I've never gotten up the courage to ask my friend how he cleaned his house but I know the police did not do the clean up, it was all on my friend.
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:52 AM
 
Location: Ypsilanti, MI
2,440 posts, read 3,666,532 times
Reputation: 4805
There is a nationwide franchise titled Caring Transitions that will handle this need as well as the down-sizing of household goods when a retiree is moving into a smaller home.

Estate Sales, Downsizing, Senior Moving, Packing - Caring Transitions

I know they aren't the only company that does this as my SIL works for such a company in Grand Rapids MI.
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Old 11-27-2016, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Finally the house is done and we are in Port St. Lucie!
3,488 posts, read 2,075,631 times
Reputation: 9735
Quote:
Originally Posted by 50states View Post
You gave away a house??
Yes, I did. They were family to Mom in every sense except for blood.
Mom's wishes were for me to sell the house to them very cheaply. I just went a bit cheaper.
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
17,053 posts, read 17,369,523 times
Reputation: 41484
Quote:
Originally Posted by 50states View Post
You gave away a house??
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robino1 View Post
Yes, I did. They were family to Mom in every sense except for blood.
Mom's wishes were for me to sell the house to them very cheaply. I just went a bit cheaper.
My siblings & I gave away land worth close to $100,000 (in today's money) to close family friends/neighbors that had helped our late parents for many years. Our dad was working on the gift before he unexpectantly passed away and we followed through with his wishes.
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