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I am keeping most of the valued jewelry and heirlooms but also plan to give some to relatives and family friends. As for donating to charity, it's comforting to know that others can benefit; just difficult seeing my LO not enjoying the things she used to.

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My daughters told me tonight not to worry about downsizing because they are going to hire a company that does estate sales. A couple of them even want you to leave partly used cereal boxes for example. They take care of everything for a portion of the proceeds and take away anything that doesn't sell. What they do is move it to another sale. Think about it. That lets you off the hook emotionally.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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Miss Gypsy, don't feel guilty. Funny thing, one of my daughters was telling me tonight not to worry about downsizing as they won't mind going through my stuff. Now that I think about it, that daughter lives 1,800 miles away and she probably wouldn't be the one doing it (laugh). Her sister would probably be the one stuck with the job. I am going to ignore her, and continue to get rid of stuff. My next project is getting rid of my paper dolls.

My beloved Aunt Bunny lived in Las Vegas, I live 3+ hours away in So. Calif. When she had to go a AL/SNL, I went up to see if I could find any family photos. OMG! No wonder she would always insist meeting me at a casino. She had become a horder. Her house had to be sold to pay for her care. She had no children. I just couldn't let her two senior girlfriends do all the work of cleaning out her house. So, I would go up every other weekend and help. Anyway, after we had cleaned out and cleaned out, and had 2 garage sales, her friend who had POA over her health, came waltzing in the door and said how well Bunny was doing. I thought CRAP. She is going to come home and find all her stuff gone. What that sweet old lady meant was, Bunny recognized her that day. Whew!

Something I learned that I didn't know, a lot of old people will put money in old prescription bottles. They roll the money up and I guess many of the bottles are the right height for the money, so in the empty bottles the money goes. I thought, OH, NO! there was a self about 3' wide and 24" deep filled with old prescription bottles. I just swept them into a trash can and threw them into the 2 yard dumpster we had in the front yard. Moral of this story is look in prescription bottles.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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We hope our parent will stay the same and as you said enjoy the things they used to. But you must realize that as they age, their world gets smaller and smaller and they no longer need "stuff". This is totally normal. Realize this and it will be easier for you, as you are transferring how you feel on to her.
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Reply to Harpcat
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Imho, I was overjoyed to give a lot of my mother possessions to family and friends as follows:
One friend had made tea cup and saucer floral arrangements out of HER mother's so she was appreciative to receive the same from MY mother's.
One friend is a Betty Boop collector. I had won two Betty Boop dolls out of a claw machine for my mother so my friend was elated to receive these.
A large portion of my mother's items were donated to her town's COA.
Some friends asked for and received specific items.
Some friends just wanted one or two items, nothing in particular.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I’m 74 and enjoying giving my things to my grandchildren. I’m thrilled just knowing that they want these items to remember me by and will cherish them as much as I have. It’s nice to know that my favorite items will not go into a landfill or thrift store. There will still be plenty of "stuff" for both those places. I've already donated most of my clothes to charity.
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Reply to Lamb232
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Tell yourself it's just stuff. Picture the new owners enjoying the things as much as your LO did. I felt the same way when we cleared out my parents house. We offered certain things to family and friends, then donated a lot, and finally held an online auction to get rid of everything else. I did not go to the house on the day buyers came to pick up their wins. I didn’t want to see my childhood going out the door with strangers.

Its been 3 years now and it's all a distant memory. It passes.
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Reply to Frances73
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Watching Marie Kondo shows would probably be good therapy at this stage.
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Reply to LauraDangel
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My dad moved to memory care in October. I am now in the process of cleaning out his house. It is bitter sweet.
I see all my mother’s and father’s treasures. Some make me laugh. Others bring sadness. Overall I see two lives that although not perfect did the best they could. Lives well lived.
As far as belongings. Family got what they wanted first.
I am giving what they do not want away. I call it a blessing.
Some I put out on the driveway with a free sign.
With the pandemic I felt if it will give just a little joy to someone’s life during this time that it’s a good thing. Lots of smiles as people got what they wanted. Some things I took to a charity resale shop. My belief is let someone else love and use it. The item gets new home. It brings someone joy. And at the same time honors my parents. God’s bless to you.
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Reply to THretired
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Just this weekend I was told by my elderly uncle that we are `only a keeper of things to enjoy and look at, until it gets passed into someone else`s life who gets to keep, enjoy and look at the item, and one day that item will once again enter yet another persons life, and so the cycle continues ...... `
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jacobsonbob Apr 7, 2021
...or, particularly of things of value, we are "stewards".
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We let family members take what they wanted of mom's things first. Mom always said no one would want her stuff but I know she would have been surprised at what each child and grandchild wanted. It made it easier to get rid of everything that wasn't a special memory to someone in the family. My son took a electric percolator and uses it every day to make his coffee. :) My siblings and I knew we couldn't keep everything even if we wanted to. The hardest thing was selling the house since my sister and I live very close. We sold to a delightful young couple who were happy to get acreage with a barn for their horses. Mom is surely looking down from heaven and loving that someone is definitely enjoying the place. I value the time I spent with her during her last few years way more than her "stuff". I miss my mom every day but thank God for the time I had her (85 years) I hope my son feels the same way about me. Don't rush if you don't have to. God bless you.
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Tothill Apr 7, 2021
I was talking to my daughter about a year ago about the job it will be to clear out my grandmother's house that my Dad has hoarded for almost 40 years.

I mentioned the dozens of coffee cups and my plan to donate them. she immediately told me I had to keep her happy face cup. Back when she was little her step granny would make her cocoa in it. So I will make sure I do not toss the happy face mugs.
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No, I am of an age for many years now that I myself am letting go of "stuff".You can't take anything with you where we are all going. When my bro died he had given away all his prized collections or sold them, saving a few wonderful pieces and told me who they should be given to, a man he worked with in a collective. I kept his small carved spaniel dog he had since we were young kids. "Stuff" is beautiful, prized books and etc., and a joy to have in your life. But like I said, we don't take it with us.
My daughter, however, is the opposite and cannot let go of everything. So we all vary in this. I agree very much that it is a joy to leave things for others to love and enjoy.
All of our lives my brother and I had collections of things. We would buy and sell often in a collective. Had fun with it. But in the end it is all stuff.
If you have access to Netflix consider watching a few episodes of Marie Kondo. She is a joy at teaching you about items, what they mean, how to let them go with thanking them for the memories they represent to you. I can still see my Mom leaning over me to tell me goodnight on her date night with my Dad. I can smell the tabu perfume and see her jet or amber beads twinkling at her throat. I don't need the beads (tho my daughter feels she DOES, ha ha) to see my Mom. She remains with me so long as I live.
Don't worry about guilt. You aren't a felon, I assure you. It is the other G word you are dealing with now, grief. I wish you healing and joy in memories.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Its a normal part of grief. If you are not ready then box it up and put boxes in store until you are ready. Otherwise keep what you have a sentimental attachment to and look on giving the rest away as doing what your loved one would have wanted in giving to those without.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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Guilt? Not really. Mom had to be moved to MC, mostly for safety reasons. Had I any inkling of all the clothes, shoes and handbags she had, I would have pushed harder before dementia came along. I knew she had too much and that many items no longer fit, but she refused saying she took good care of her stuff. When I asked what good is it if you can't get into it, I got the two hand wave off.

So, several years later, she was moved to MC and the place needed to be cleared out, cleaned up, repairs done and sell it. That's when I discovered FIVE porta-closets stuffed full, along with every regular closet, several dressers, totes, bags, boxes, hope chests! FOUR SUV loads and another with a 5x8 trailer, mainly clothes. We didn't have the same taste or size, so most of it went to Goodwill. There was a local place that would take furniture, etc. Bros picked through the rest. Not much that I was interested in. One brother kept bringing stuff to my place, including broken items, random shoes, handbags, etc. I did get the other brother to take 4 boxes of shoes to donate somewhere. There were items that had only been worn once or twice, some not at all (tags still on them!)

I still haven't gotten rid of everything. There was no guilt really, because although she had all this "nice" stuff, she had been down to wearing a couple of outfits, multiple days in a row (we had cameras set up in her place.) One time it was SIX days! This was someone who probably had enough to wear one outfit each day of the year and then some, but she wasn't wearing any of it. It was really a shame that we couldn't sell them, even for a few dollars each (I found out too late that to take the deduction would require assessment.)

It is a shame that they might have nice well loved items but can no longer enjoy them. So, for me, no guilt. With dementia she wouldn't remember most of it anyway. In our case, there really wasn't anything of monetary or memory value, not even any kind of hand-me-down jewelry. It was all stuff that she bought at the discount stores over the years (furniture wasn't high quality either, a lot came from their house before the condo, so it was maybe 40 years old. but bros picked through most of that.)
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Your profile says that you're caring for your mother. Is she still alive or has she passed? I might would feel more guilty if the person was still alive, but once they're dead, then no. No need for guilt. Time to clean out and get things organized. I'm hoping that you're giving away her jewelry and cherished items to family members that will appreciate them, and not just giving those items to Goodwill. Goodwill can have the rest of what family doesn't want. And if you're having a hard time, just take your time doing it, and have other family members help you, so you won't feel so overwhelmed.

When my husband died, I went through his closet and drawers, and thankfully was able to give the majority of his clothes to my son-in-law, and 2 grandsons. Even my daughter took a few pieces of his clothing along with my son. It makes my heart happy now, when I see them with one of my husbands items on. As far as his jewelry, I don't think I will ever be able to part with that(not while I'm alive anyway)as I enjoy wearing some of it myself, and it's too expensive to just give away.

And please like others have suggested, make sure that you are keeping for yourself some of the "cherished" items, so you have something to look at to remind you of your LO.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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When my mother died, it took some time before I could
donate her belongings. After a while, they took up too
much space in the house. I took a deep breath, packed up
and took(w/the help of a friend) the items to Goodwill.
The clothes were in good shape and someone could use
them. No furniture or jewelry.
When my middle brother died, it was not as hard as I had been
through it before. I gave his things to my brother who was grateful.
No guilt necessary. People are in need more than ever and would
be glad for whatever you can give. Places like greendrop will come and pick things up for you once you schedule a time.
Maybe consider keeping a cherished item for yourself.
Be prepared to have some memories as you sort.
Take care.
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Reply to MusicLover61
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P.S. After dad passed, I was having a hard time donating his clothing and had large bags of it in my lower level for months. My stepdaughter took a bunch of his shirts, unbeknownst to me, and had a friend of hers make 3 stuffed animals from them! There is a dog, a bear and an elephant all made out of different parts of dad's shirts now! Once I was given the animals, it was easy for me to donate his clothing to ARC! 😙
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XenaJada Apr 3, 2021
As an animal lover, I especially LOVE this story.
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Both of my parents clothing was given to a ministry for drug and alcohol treatment for adults. I was told people often arrive there having lost everything and have only the clothes they’re wearing. It was nice to know the clothing would be used and appreciated. I gave most household items to a charity shop that helps homeless people. I kept a few items precious to me from both parents, but overall I found that it’s my parents I miss, and surrounding myself with their stuff doesn’t help make it better. For me it was easier to plow through it quickly, doing a little at a time only prolonged the sadness of the job. Please don’t feel guilty, the items were loved once and can be again.
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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Yes, I am keeping most of the valued jewelry and heirlooms but also plan to give some to relatives and family friends. As for donating to charity, it's comforting to know that others can benefit; just difficult seeing my LO not enjoying the things she used to.
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Reply to MissGypsy
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MissGypsy, when I had to clean out my parent's house, it wasn't easy. I wanted to bring home so much stuff. Then someone here on the forum had a great idea, swap out things from your own house and replace it with the love one's items.

I now have some of the lamps that were my parents, and I donated my own that had no real value to me. I did that with other items, and it worked great.

Yes, there will be times when I wished I would have swapped out more. I loved my parent's dining room set, but I had my sig-other's set from his previous home and I just couldn't bear to ask him if I could swap it out.

Oh I had some guilt, but then I had to think that someone else has fallen in love with that item they found at the Goodwill store :)
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Reply to freqflyer
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MissGypsy Apr 3, 2021
Thanks for the great suggestion!
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If you are finding it hard perhaps it would be easier to hire someone to help.

My Dad is a hoarder. Although there are some treasures from my grandparents, the rest is overwhelming and at times I would love to pile it all up and strike a match.

But remember just because something was precious to someone else, does not mean it is of value to you. Just as we pass along our children's clothes and toys as they outgrow them, so do we pass along the things our loved ones leave behind.

But why guilt? Guilt is for those who have done something wrong. If Mum has moved into care, she no longer needs those things. If she has passed, your memories are in your heart and mind, not things.

Think too about how these things can help the next person. Perhaps a young man will buy a second hand ring and propose to his sweetheart? Her clothes will be appreciated at a local charity shop or shelter. Her furniture can help a family who has lost their home.
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Reply to Tothill
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MissGypsy Apr 3, 2021
Thank you for your kind words...very helpful!
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Why would you give away your loved one's jewelry & cherished items? I can see donating furniture to a worthy cause, but jewelry & cherished items can easily be boxed up and saved so you can pass them down to other family members. Save the 'guilt' for something you've done wrong! This is something that's necessary, and nothing that warrants guilt.

It's always difficult to clean out a loved one's apartment; I had to do it for my parents when they went into Assisted Living. I couldn't even conduct an estate sale b/c the building wouldn't allow it, so I had to call the Salvation Army to come and pick everything up! I did save the clothing, jewelry and cherished items though, and have most of it at my house; the clothing my mother has and some of the costume jewelry. I have the good stuff in my safe.

Wishing you the best of luck sifting through the mementos and keeping what you can.
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