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Old 05-26-2022, 11:53 AM   #1
KTrain
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Default What to do with your parent's stuff?

This topic was briefly brought up (somewhat ironically) in the You Know What Really Makes Me Happy thread.

At some point we're all going to have to deal with our parents passing away. Some already have. The challenge of taking care of their affairs is huge, especially if our parents didn't plan for it. I thought it would be a good thread to get people thinking about these things and get some advice from people who have been through this already.

Have you had this conversation with your parents? Do they have a plan? Have they already started getting rid of some of the things they've accumulated over the years? Are you doing it yourself?

The great junk transfer is coming. A look at the burden (and big business) of decluttering as Canadians inherit piles of their parents’ stuff

Sorting, storing and disposing of old family belongings will be a labour-intensive challenge in the next decade as baby boomers age

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/cana...tering-canada/
(Apple News link if you have it)

The article is behind the paywall so here's a snippet for people without access:

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Last fall, Kevin Cameron stood in the doorway of his parents’ two-storey Saltbox home in the woods on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, the place he’d built with his dad when he was a teenager and woken up to during snowy family Christmases with his own kids. The silence felt like a punch in his gut. For the first time, his mother was not coming around the corner to greet him. His father was not in the basement, tinkering with an engine. He had died that summer after a stroke at the age of 87, and his mom, 81, was now in a nursing home, losing her memory of the house. Yet the rooms of the place were just as they’d always been, as if his parents were only running errands in town.

Wandering through the house, he saw the kitchen shelves loaded with bowls and dishes, rooms crowded with furniture, books and knickknacks, closets packed with clothes, drawers stuffed with toothpicks and razors, a full set of mouldy encyclopedias on a shelf. His dad’s workshop was filled with tools, machine parts, cardboard boxes of greasy washers. There were sheds in the backyard cluttered with chainsaws and bikes and broken microwaves, along with a 1950s backhoe his father had insisted he inherit, even though Mr. Cameron, an artist, has absolutely no use for it.

This was only the beginning. After a long search, Mr. Cameron would eventually find the registration for his parents’ car - which he now had to sell - inexplicably buried in a plastic bag stuffed with unused Christmas cards, the kind that charities send in the mail. There were keys that matched no locks. Sales receipts that went back to 1948. His parents had kept everything and thrown out nothing.

How could a house that felt sorrowfully empty also be so overwhelmingly full? “And then it hits you,” Mr. Cameron says, “all the work ahead.” He saw the months of lost weekends, the five-hour round trips he would have to make from his own home in Greenwich, in the Annapolis Valley. This was the inheritance he never wanted: a burden that would rob him of time, just when his dad’s death was reminding him, at 58, of his own mortality.

Anger and resentment sliced through his grief. Why had his parents left him with all this mess?
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:10 PM   #2
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Is there some sort of business that takes care of this? Like sets up an estate sale and also gets rid of all the things remaining after. After you have taken all the things that are important to you I guy.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:12 PM   #3
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Great intro to the topic.
So much to deal with including:
- finances and assets and mental capacity for self management
- vehicles, property, homes
- valuable unwanted stuff/junk/collectibles
- not valuable unwanted stuff
- wills, POA, etc.
- sentimental stuff (either for the parent, 1 or more of the offspring, grandkids).

I think a LOT of good stuff will go into the junk/trash and landfills where much of it could be repurposed or donated. That said who decides?
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:15 PM   #4
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1-800-GOT-JUNK

ha! ha!

as i mentioned in the wrmmh thread, this all started with my mom's desire to move. i think that is the best angle to take when trying to get parents to part with their "stuff". get them to down size and then they are pretty much forced to (i know my mom is too cheap to pay for off site storage... and if my dad was still alive i know for sure he would also be too cheap to store stuff off site).

again - like i said in the other thread, my grand parents lived thru the great depression. for those that have immigrated to canada their grand parents also lived thru 2 world wars. they know what it is like to literally have nothing... so they save everything and pass that trait onto their kids (our parents). i know my mom has lots of stories about her parents saving everything becuz you never know if you won't be able to get it again.

it's tough to part with stuff when it's been ingrained to save everything.

a friend of mine had both his parents pass away within about 6 weeks of each other. he moved into their house and started going thru stuff. he eventually just called a waste removal company and had a huge bin delivered and filled it up.

as for a plan to get parents to do go thru stuff - that's tough. one small thing to encourage is taking old pics/video and get it transferred to digital... but then i can see my mom saying something like "but i better keep the original hard copies just in case something happens to the digital files!"


**something we have been encouraging my mom to do is if there are certain sentimental things she wants people to have, why not give them that stuff now - she gets to see them enjoy it and it gets it out of her house!
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:15 PM   #5
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My dad has been pretty good at clearing out junk over the past 10 years or so. His workshop will be the biggest challenge, but most of it is good tools, even if they are old.


Finding the time to deal with my own collections is hard enough.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:19 PM   #6
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Easy way to get in a fight with the folks, I was visiting a few years ago and had a trailer that I used to start hauling junk out to the dump. Every item was a battle, tough to fight with an old Polish/Ukrainian who grew up poor.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:20 PM   #7
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We went through this with my Grandparent's house about 15 years ago. Was a monumental task because my Mom is an only child and they lived in Southern Ontario. You find some really neat things that have been lost in time, but overall we ended up donating or binning most of it. It's depressing to dismantle something two people spent their entire lives building.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:20 PM   #8
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If you are faced with a lot of "junk" keep in mind metal and wiring(any type, even Christmas lights) can all be recycled(for money, too). Yes, you have to separate it by type, but it isn't that difficult and gets you money back. Even stainless kitchen pots etc can all be recycled for $. I hate landfilling stuff that can be turned into brand new products. I've gone to this place before, which has been good.

https://www.barewirerecycling.ca

If you just pay for bins of mixed disposal it can get expensive.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:20 PM   #9
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I'm not sentimental when it comes to material object so whatever my siblings don't want I will have taken to the dump. Everything.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:24 PM   #10
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I'm not sentimental when it comes to material object so whatever my siblings don't want I will have taken to the dump. Everything.
Yeah, I'm the same. I feel nothing. For my mom's place I'll have a roll-off bin dropped off on the driveway and be done in a weekend.

For my wife's parents' acreage - if I get a vote - it'll be a front-end loader and a series of roll-off bins and call it a day.

You'll never catch me sifting through stacks of anything looking for something special or valuable. If it's so valuable, don't put it in a pile of junk. Fata it. Garbage.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:24 PM   #11
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Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of boomers had really bad taste. They also seem to have a penchant for really heavy and inconvenient furniture, that is also valueless. When my parents were decorating their room, I swear they must have chosen everything by weight to cost ratio. The found the heaviest set of drawers they could, that's also somehow made of cheap wood. I have no idea how they got these drawers into the upstairs bedroom, and have no idea how we'll ever get them out.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:26 PM   #12
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I think the obvious solution here is a TV show like 'Storage Wars' where people can buy up the contents of dead old folks but they're only allowed to peep in the front door and windows before they bid, auction style.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Yeah, I'm the same. I feel nothing. For my mom's place I'll have a roll-off bin dropped off on the driveway and be done in a weekend.
That's what we did at my grandpa's; I was shocked at just how much stuff there ended up being. He wasn't a hoarder in the slightest (and probably had a lot fewer things than most modern families), but even after selling/giving away everything we possibly could and recycling all the metal and glass items, it still filled a 30-40 yard bin. It was definitely quick though. We emptied an entire house in a day and a half.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:35 PM   #14
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My parents lived on a Ranch. We had a big auction one Saturday. The auctioneer wisely bundled crap with good stuff, and everything got cleaned out.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:51 PM   #15
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My parents lived on a Ranch. We had a big auction one Saturday. The auctioneer wisely bundled crap with good stuff, and everything got cleaned out.
Next lot, this wonderful antique chest of drawers(which are filled with the complete Reader's Digest Collection from 1962-1987).
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Old 05-26-2022, 01:37 PM   #16
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My family went through this with my granddad's passing a couple years back.

He was a handyman and a do-it-yourselfer and had been his entire life. His house wasn't 'hoarding' bad, but it was jammed with 'stuff'. Especially his 4 car garage (of which, one door was for his car, 3 for his shop).

My parents probably spent a month going through everything, and getting what they and other family members wanted out/sorted. Then brought in an auction company with the instructions to take and batch-sell the rest of it. Worked pretty good, but it was a 3 month process in the end.
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Old 05-26-2022, 01:41 PM   #17
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Old 05-26-2022, 01:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sliver View Post
Yeah, I'm the same. I feel nothing. For my mom's place I'll have a roll-off bin dropped off on the driveway and be done in a weekend.

For my wife's parents' acreage - if I get a vote - it'll be a front-end loader and a series of roll-off bins and call it a day.

You'll never catch me sifting through stacks of anything looking for something special or valuable. If it's so valuable, don't put it in a pile of junk. Fata it. Garbage.

i'm pretty much with you, but at the same time i found a couple of really cool things while going thru my dad's woodshed. we spent hours and hours building stuff in there over the years so to find a couple of gems that were hidden away was pretty awesome.
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Old 05-26-2022, 02:46 PM   #19
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I think the obvious solution here is a TV show like 'Storage Wars' where people can buy up the contents of dead old folks but they're only allowed to peep in the front door and windows before they bid, auction style.
I was thinking more like American Pickers, but like a legit company that doesn't have cameras chasing them around... but Storage wars type of thing makes sense too (assuming they're bidding on the house with the contents inside?)
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Old 05-26-2022, 02:51 PM   #20
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I'm so grateful that my mother has been going through her possessions and house since my dad died. She offers up things of value to my brother and I. If we don't want it she lists it for sale and gets money she can use now. If its junk then she gets rid of it.

The other day she sold a massive cabinet that had housed their stereo and liquor. My dad built it in the wood workshop on the American Forces base they were stationed at in Italy in 1963 out of Teak and Teak plywood. It had flip tops on all three sections of its 9 foot length. It had sliding face fronts that hid inside the cabinet when swung open. At 9 feet long by 3 feet deep by 3 and a half feet high the thing was massive and weighed around 200 pounds. I'm so glad that I'll never have to move it again. She got $75 for it. lol
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