Follow
Share

My husband and I are currently living with her, for going on 7 years as her 24/7 caregiver. She has so much stuff, and we have some things here and we are over crowded. She is on a waiting list for a nursing home. Just need to start moving some of her things at a slow pace. What is the easiest and fairest way to do all this?

Find Care & Housing
The best way I had encountered was when my best friend's dad was diagnosed. He was giving eveything away.. I told them to slow down, too may empty spots on the book shelves. His SO knows who gets what, and so forth. The next time we visited, they put other thinks in those spots, to lessen the blow. He was like another dad to me. He chose Valentines day to cross over. Pefect timing !!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MAYDAY
Report

freqflyer mention about mice and boxes. NOt fun, not fun at all. I moved a box of halloween stuff.. as I was carrying it, the box started jumping around and I just dropped it and screamed. A rat flew out.. YUK.... Next think I know it's following me, and runs towards me, between my legs and flew over the wall. like it wasn't there. Then I grabbed gloves to go through the box... Well It looked real, and I didn't remember it, but I think it was a mummified RAT. YIKES!!! Not sure if it was real or fake.. Deep down, it was realllllll really scary... That box ended up in trash.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MAYDAY
Report
MumsHelper Mar 28, 2019
Teehee! Too funny.
A few moth balls in boxes will keep those rascals out.
(1)
Report
my BIL did an estate sale for a percentage... Went way to fast for my spouse, and I certainly did not want to get thrown into that issue, I stayed cleared away.

Looking back, wished I had known about those services when mom passed..... BIL made a lot of money... so did the estate sales people, estate brokers, whatever they are called.

They inventoried EVERYTHING DOWN to the lil box of staples. They arranged everything in home into every lil corner or nook & cranny by item or accessory.

All in all they did a remarkable job, I honestly didn't know my MIL had so much stuff. Left my kid's things there. It was too stressful to look and take stuff out of the home... My hubby tole me to stay away, for my sanity...They he asked where all the documents for his mother's volunteering signed by the presidents of the US. She voluteered so much she had at least 3 presidents sign docs about her volunteer hours.... Yup he could have gone up and looked around.. IT WAS TOUGH.

The estate people took a percentage of gross made.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MAYDAY
Report

Before my grandfather passed, he had picked out one thing specific for each of us- 1 daughter and 3 granddaughters.
The other antiques, guns, furniture and such went onto a list that was sent to each of us. We numbered from 1 to 27 what we would want most. The lawyer went from oldest to youngest working down the list. The rest of the knick knacks and what not were all set out in a room. We got together and starting again with the oldest, chose one by one until it was all spoken for. Then we traded amongst ourselves too. It was smooth and easy, with lots of memories remembered and shared stories.  Grandad was a smart one. I miss him still.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to AliceAnn
Report

Ah, clearing out a parents house was physically and mentality exhausting. For myself, someone here on the forum board had suggested that I "swap" out items I have and use items from my parent's house. That worked GREAT !! I then donated or trashed my items.

This week my sig other is finally going through moving boxes he brought with him almost 15 years ago when he had moved in. He was surprised what were in the boxes. Thankfully he has donated or trashed 95% of the things. His two children are in their 40's and have no interest in family heirlooms. And I need to have a family meeting with my cats :P

If anyone has boxes in the basement, attic, garage, or outside storage shed, please note that mice are pretty clever about getting into those boxes. For the first time I saw and held a mice nest, and was so amazed at how wonderfully soft it was, and perfectly round shape. The mouse used packing paper, old photos, cotton stuffing, and whatever they could find. Boxes were sprinkled with bird seed hulls. Thus, some of the items in those packing boxes were damaged. Best to store things in locked-top plastic bins.

Plus I need to have a family meeting with our cats :P
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to freqflyer
Report
Lymie61 Mar 27, 2019
"family meeting with our cats" Hahahaha
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
This is a really good question with really good answers and ideas. Mother has two living children and DIL whom I think of same as blood sister. Between the three of us there are seven grandchildren. I also want to be fair about things when she passes, but right now she has no interest in communicating what she would like to bequeath to whom.
My thinking is to have the ten of us list two or three things that are sentimental and label them with our names. Then move on to her brother and sister, if they are still living, and have them do the same. Then sort through what is left and come back around and ask who might be interested. Then donate or junk. Mother has a lot of "stuff", so it feels overwhelming.
Meanwhile, I have been trying to organize and store things to make this easier when the time comes.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to MumsHelper
Report

As you have that luxury, ask your mother to nominate recipients. If parting with the items troubles her, begin by merely labelling them according to her instructions - you can create an inventory, or you can literally pop discreet sticky labels on the things themselves. This can be quite a fun exercise for her, tactfully handled, and reveal all sorts of snippets from family history and her own experiences.

At this stage, by the way, your being executor is neither here nor there. It gives you no special status until after your mother has passed away, so it is important to be clear that you are handling her property with her permission, at least her tacit permission.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

I’ve been involved in several split-ups of belongings, mostly positive.

My own first marriage split, age about 30, Martyn and I went through all our possessions and chose in turn, documented in two columns. The third column was the agreed value, which was totalled and compensated at the end. For some things like CDs and Vinyl (this is a while ago) we just took a grab alternately. I got all the ‘Who’, he got all the ‘Pink Floyd’.

When Martyn died last year, there was a lot of stuff from our first marriage, that I had actually bought with him. The issue for executive daughter was what to do with it. Me and all the ‘child’ generation including from the second marriage went through the house contents and put their colour stickers on things they would like. More than one sticker, someone usually bowed out gracefully or compromised in turns. This wasn’t compensated for differing values, but it wasn’t so relevant in that case.

When my mother died, my sisters came from interstate and we split in terms of who wanted what. We took it turns to say what we would really like. The thing I most regret is actually the children’s books, which my younger sister took because her children were then the right age. I got left with cleaning up ‘all the rest’. I quite enjoy seeing our mother’s things when I visit sisters. Our mother had great taste in Scandinavian furniture!

My DH’s mother’s was a disaster, after a horrible clear out of their house when they went into a facility. One family member turned up with a large bag and removed all the small valuable things. Another cleaned out all the cupboards and put them in a huge pile, then walked out. But MIL had already split up all the jewellery between the DILs, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. This first exercise for DH's family was so destructive that my DH (executor etc) sent everything to auction, with details to rellies about how to bid. In fact, the auction house refused to deal with some of it, and we ended up storing it in the containers on our farm and working out something useful to send it too. It took me months to sort through her clothing, mend what needed mending, and get it to OpShops at the right season.

Best wishes, and I hope that you can choose a method that works for you. The worst one is open house and grab.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report

I don't remember exactly how my great aunt's lottery worked although I remember there were multiple parts. I know that larger pieces were grouped according to perceived value and numbers were drawn out of a hat.
As for the auction - my grandmother's things were sold at an estate auction with the idea that we could bid on what we wanted but unfortunately those of us just starting out in life did not have the cash to buy anything but trinkets - still feeling a little bitter about that. I think it would be good the have people get items that they really would like, keeping an eye to making sure everybody gets at least one item they find meaningful and of reasonably equal value.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to cwillie
Report
motherofdreams Mar 25, 2019
Thank you. I got nothing from my one grandmothers for the auction reason, I was in college and i cried so much going I turned around and didn't go in. But all the grandkids are on their own and doing well. Thank you for your input.
(0)
Report
When my mom started to pass on some things she used a lottery system. She would take three things that she felt were similar in value. Then we drew straws to see who would pick from the equal groups of three things. Then just took turns on going first.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to gladimhere
Report

Should have been grandchild needed to arrange with their parents to do any bidding at the auction,
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to kymkne
Report

When my Mother's parents died the family chose to have a family auction of the household belongings. If any of the grandchildren wanted anything they needed to arrange for their parents and maybe were lucky to get it. My Mother was the only one who didn't live local and wasn't able to attend but had a sister who was able to get what she wanted. She thought it was a fair to handle things.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to kymkne
Report

As others have said, being an executor of her will means nothing while she's alive. So make sure she's on board with all this.

On another note, is she gong to be on Medicaid? If so, have you shielded the house from recovery? If not, this is the time to do it. Since you have been her primary caregiver for over 2 years, you can take advantage of child caregiver exemption which allows you to transfer the house to you as an allowable transfer under Medicaid.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to needtowashhair
Report
motherofdreams Mar 25, 2019
I merely laid out: I am basically in control, of the will, of her medical and finances. The house is in our name. I have a living brother, and one recently deceased. There is nothing of value other than sentiment. Mom has dementia and cannot make decisions for herself. She is on the list at the VA home which does not use medicaid but through the State VA. Years ago, she said put everything out for sale on auction, and if they want it they can buy it. The money goes back into the pot. I don't know if anyone has done this before with success. Just fishing for the easiest and fairest way to disperse of her things. like I said, when my dad died, my mom rushed to get rid of his things, guns, fishing stuff, tools etc. Some got much and some got nothing or little. i just don't want a free grab like before. Feelings were hurt. Just looking at suggestions.
(0)
Report
Do you have siblings or other family members who might want things that are of sentimental value or who might be likely to protest should you get rid of things. If it's just you this is simpler than if you have other family members in play. If you can wait till she's moved to a nursing home that would make things simpler.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to faeriefiles
Report

If she is on board with some of this maybe including her. My grandmother had her children "tag" things that were special to them and then asked her grands too if there was anything particularly special to them. Some of those things that she didn't need around her or no one else had expressed interest in she gave to loved ones while she was still around to enjoy giving it. Then once she passed my mom and her siblings took turns choosing things that were tagged by more than one and basically choosing piece by piece. Things two of them say wanted got worked out either by one giving up something else or simply the turn thing (deciding what was more important this thing or that because they are both going in round 1. Kind of like the NFL draft I guess!

When it came time to clean out the mounds of stuff that didn't get claimed that way, it was a mix of my mom's my GM, my GA, my GGM stuff, my brothers, my husband and son all spent a few weekends at the house with my mom organizing and tossing which made it easier for her in many ways. We had talked about having my DH and my SIL (brothers wife) go through one of the really sentimental stuff because we had such an attachment and would keep more than was practical, we trusted them to not toss things they weren't sure about but my mom actually got much better at throwing stuff out once we all got going together.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Lymie61
Report

I would wait til, she is in a NH. This is what I did.

First, get all her important papers together. I kept the present years utility bills and thru out the rest. IRS and state income tax filings should be kept 7 yrs my accountant says. Bank statements at least 5 for look back. I kept receipts for things Mom still owned or was paying off like her heater. Receipts for anything major done to the house. Helps when selling to know how old a roof is, the water heater, a/c and heating.

Then I cleaned out her closets. Old clothes went to the clothing bins. Others trashed. Same thing with bureau drawers. Keeping only what she needs in the NH. My Mom had about nine outfits. But I washed once a week, NH seem to collect every day. Take nothing to the NH she won't need. I saved Moms winter coat but I kept it at my house. Only took a couple of pairs of shoes, clothing just for the season. I then cleaned out the attic. Most of that stuff got trashed. Then I started on the kitchen. Sorting junk from good. Junk went to thrift shops and Church yardsales. The rest was looking thru furniture to see what Mom had. That stuff too was donated or thrown out. Where Mom lived stuff could be put on the curb and people would stop and take. But also have thrift shops that wil, come and pick up. Habitat of humanity will take stuff and sell it in their shops. Now what is left is the important and good stuff. If there are things you do not want, then ask family members, if they don't want it then sell on FBs yardsale sights.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Executor comes into play when she is dead. You cannot act in the capacity of Executor while she is alive.

Do you have POA for money and health?

Who owns the house? It appears from you post that you and your husband moved in with you Mum 7 years ago. If it is her house, then no you cannot dispose of her belongings without her permission in order to make room for your own things.

If Mum is in agreement to start clearing things out it will have to be at her pace. I am faced with this with my Dad. He hoards, not to the extent of the TV shows, but there is far too much stuff, old food, old newspapers, a couple thousand books, etc in his home. He tends to hoard durable food, but buys far more than he can ever eat. I find food that is over a decade old, rancid, infested etc.

Last June, he allowed me to clear out one kitchen cabinet. He sat at the table and watched me as I went through it shelf by shelf. There is pantry that is full of old food that needs to be gone through, but he is not willing to let me clear it out yet.

So my suggestion if Mum is willing to work at this is to sit her comfortably and involve her in the process. Have boxes and bags for donations. I know with Dad he finds it easier to let go if the things are being donated (not the old food).

2 years ago when I was helping Dad, I used clear garbage bags. He did not trust me to not throw out things he 'needed' and the clear trash bag reassured him. That year he let me take down old curtains that where shredded and a tripping hazard.

Please do not ask her to get rid of something then replace it with something of yours in her home. That could make her feel you are erasing her from her home.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Tothill
Report

Easiest will be to wait until after she moves to the nursing home, once she is settled everything can be cleared out without her knowing or interfering.

If fairness is important then the simplest way to ensure that is to sell everything, cash is easiest to disperse. Of course she may use up every penny for her own care so there will be nothing left over to worry about any way. If there are special heirlooms that should stay in the family my great aunt used a lottery system to divvy them up.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to cwillie
Report
motherofdreams Mar 24, 2019
That is what I was looking for.. the lottery system. How did you do that? Please and thank you. I am POA for both medical and her finances etc. She will go to a VA home she is on the list The house is in my husband and my name.
(0)
Report
What are the issues? Are there other relatives who would like to take some of the 'things'? Because they like them and for keepsakes, or for the financial value? Are you concerned about fairness? Is the issue how to do it without upsetting mother? Is it to get the highest value for mother's benefit? Is it how to find some way to dispose of them usefully? Are you wondering what could go with her to the nursing home?
Being executor of your mother's will has no legal effect until she is dead. Your right to do it depends on whether you are POA and whether she is still legally competent to make her own decisions.
More facts, please!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report
motherofdreams Mar 24, 2019
I am POA on all, medical and finances. She has dementia. I want fairness as I stated, to all the families without squibbles. Not for finances, but memory. When my dad died, mom had them come in and take what they wanted. WHAT a disaster that was. A big grab. Some got most and some got nothing. Hard feelings. Don't want to deal with that. WE have to do some reno and I have no place to put things while it is happening. I like the idea of the lottery as state above, but not sure how that works. Just looking for ideas for dividing things up fairly.
(0)
Report

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter