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My Dad moved to Independent Living just a few days ago and this was something he wanted to do for years but my late Mom refused the idea. I measured out on a floorplan what Dad could take and where it would go in his apartment... everything worked out well :) Dad likes his new "home".

My beef now is that today Dad said he wants to sell the house immediately. Noooooo, impossible because of all the "stuff" that was left behind in the house. I can hire an estate sale group to sell the items, or I could call Goodwill and say take it all. But I first need to get it ready, and get it clean. The house is terribly dusty thus everything has a coating of dust bunnies.

Good grief, the basement alone looks like Red Green's workshop [Canadian comedy show] and it took me over an hour just to clean off the top of Dad's workbench. I dread opening up the floor to ceiling cabinets.

And "no, Dad, I cannot donate the mattress"..... "sorry I just don't have room for a second dining room set and another bedroom set".... "nope, I have no need for a fertilizer spreader".... " sorry I just can't use a 900 baud speed IBM computer that takes floppy discs".

This is just so tiring.... anyone else have to go through this?

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Hey FF, I had a friend who was around 70, not in good health and when her husband died she hired an auction company to sell everything. The husband was an artisan wood worker. Had every tool know to mankind, tons of wood, house and garage full of GUY stuff, crazy amount of furniture etc. She didn't have to touch a thing. The auction co. came in and spent a week organizing, appraising and pricing everything. The sale was on a horrible rainy day but they sold every last item. It was amazing. The auction guys took a big cut but my friend also made a bundle and never got out of her recliner.

Just sayin.........
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It took us 3 YEARS to slowly purge my parent's home of stuff--ending in a yard sale that wasn't worth the cost of running the ad! We did it slowly, and I personally think it made moving mother and dad to their new home at my brother's a LOT HARDER than it had to be. We'd set a date, as many of us as could would show up and work all day...we didn't do this everyday, obviously. In the end, very little was actually usable and nice, I hadn't realized what a little hoarder my mother was/is. Just tons and tons of junk! In retrospect, I wish we had hired someone to come do it, but that's all water under the bridge. We had to do a lot of outside upkeep that had been neglected for years..and each time we went somebody brought a huge truck and we loaded it to the gills. I have no idea how much we threw away, in the end, but their house was 4500 SF down to an 800sf apt. It was a completely depressing experience.
Probably once your dad moved to ALF, he is putting the farm behind him and can't really fathom just how much work cleaning it out is going to be. A lot of good suggestions were here, but sadly, you're still stuck with a ton of hard, dirty work. (And yes, I too have a crazy need to purge my own house. I don't want my kids going through this for me!)
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Yup, silver mixed in with the dross. I often sympathize with the hoarders on those shows when they get a dumpster in and start shovelling out everything in the house, the poor souls know there is good stuff mixed in there too. On the other hand, if it takes hours of searching to gather the valuables together it sort of negates their value, time is money too!
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We had to do this at my in-laws home. Upstairs were clothes my mother in law hadn't worn in 30 years. Sheds, a three car garage and two acres. One shed was packed to the gills. 23 coffee cans. Father in law was going to make bird houses with them. The sons and grandsons cleaned out the outer buildings and it took days. Most of it was put on a burn pile until they threw a box on it that had shot gun shells at the bottom. That was fun. Mother in law had shoes boxes in upstairs closet filled with greeting cards she had received over they years. One of the first one's we opened had a $20 in it. So of course, we had to open them all before destroying them. What a mess.
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Thanks for all the good advice, now I don't feel so overwhelmed. I will only concentrate on the family photos I am finding here and there, you know the ones that are the size of a large postage stamp with pinking shear edges :)

cwillie, oh my gosh, both my Grandparents were farmers so I can just imagine all that was out in those barns and sheds. I did move my Dad's miniature John Deere tractors small enough to use as book ends.

All this makes me want to purge more of my "stuff" now.
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Habitat for Humanity will take furniture, dishes, silverware, must be completed set.
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Another thought - I found a local veterans' service organization that came in the house and took out all that was designated for donation. Salvation Army will not come in a dwelling; this veterans; group did. I gave them dressers, couches, a collection of workout equipment, pool table, and more. And it was all for a good cause, since that group not only has a thrift shop but provides shelter for homeless veterans.

The tools in the basement might be something a group like this could resell in a thrift shop.
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Oh yeah. Big dumpster. Or just say screw it, sell the joint as is. I'll be facing this pretty soon with my folks stuff. I will go through, get anything of value, make a trip to good will, let the nephews rummage around,sell it, and the buyer can shove it down, whatever. To me it's not worth the little extra sales value to put an old house in pristine condition. Dust bunnies? Who gives a s......t
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It's my understanding that estate sale companies will help with the cleanout as well as the cleanup; you don't have to do all the dusting yourself.
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Get a dumpster. We filled a 14 cu yd dumpster. Twice.
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I was fortunate in that when I made the decision we had to move my mom didn't really care what happened to anything. I had been chipping away at stuff for years, but when I really had to start purging it was physically and emotionally demanding... what to do with all the stuff? My parents were farmers so there were sheds and barns of stuff too, 90% of it not worth the effort to try to sell. For example with the help of a neighbour I gathered almost $1000 worth of scrap iron, but then had to pay to rent the trailer and haul it away so the profit was a couple of hundred, just not worth the time and effort. I had to be grateful though that my dad had left his parent's farm and started out on his own, some farm families have to deal with generations of stuff, can you imagine sorting through that??
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