Follow
Share

I was the sole caregiver for my father. He passed last fall. I am now overwhelmed with handling the process of clearing out and selling his home that he had for over 55 years.
Thank you,

Find Care & Housing
I agree with again but before I did that I would get rid of the junk. My MIL had a closet filled with magazines up to the first shelf. My DH bundled them 20 a bundle. They covered a whole parking space. They went to the recyling place. Books went to the library, some sell them. If old VCR tapes, I would trash. I donated a lot to our Church yardsale and to a local thrift shop. Moms furniture went to Habitat for Humanity. An estate sale co will only take what they think will make a profit. Some auction co. take a lot more. People we know just sold brothers house. Called a guy in and he gave them 2k for the stuff in the house.

I would not do a yardsale. Very time consuming for the money u receive.

Clothes can be donated. Take a room at a time. Not so overwhelming.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
keepingup Jun 25, 2019
Very specific helpful advice. I basically followed his procedure, it kept what could have been an overwhelming meds into an organized project. Not a happy time, but it has to be done.
(3)
Report
See 1 more reply
When I gained guardianship of my father and my mother moved in with me, my parents were cash poor due to my father's bad spending habits as vascular dementia took hold, but they still had several rental properties in additional to their 54 year old home with a beautiful large yard and garden space. Nothing had been painted since I last painted the house during high school summer breaks. Every bathroom and kitchen fixture was original and 54 years old. I had replaced most of the light fixtures over the years after my parents decided they liked ceiling fans. I refreshed the paint in their 2BR 1BA rental house and put in some new commercial grade laminate flooring, then sold it to fund Dad's MC and to pack and refresh the main house.

Some things I packed myself and with help from one of my brothers - things I knew where they were and my mother wanted to keep. Then I hired a moving company to pack or discard things out of closets, dressers and bookcases. I got a better rate because I agree to use their people "as available" when they were not working scheduled jobs. Some days there was no one, other days 1-4 people were available for 2-3 hours at the end of a day and some days I had a whole crew because someone canceled on them unexpectedly. A local charity that resales clothing, furniture and household items came and picked it all up once it was packed. Then I had the movers come in and move everything down from the attic onto the main floor and repeated the process with the attic contents. Then I moved on to the partial basement... Once the house was empty, a house cleaning service gave it a basic cleaning (fast, easy, and cheap since the house was empty). I spent some money bringing the house up to date a bit: a fresh coat of neutral colored paint throughout, couple of new coats of poly on the hardwood floors, a new metal roof, new heat pump, new bathroom fixtures and medium grade closeout kitchen cabinets. Other than the heat pump, family provided most of the labor for the updates (construction is a multi generational family occupation). We had just enough money left to add on a mud room and bring the laundry upstairs (something I had wanted to do for years but my father would not agree). The updates doubled the appraised value and made the house much easier to sale since a lot of younger people will not have the money for multiple major updates in the first few years after purchasing a house and a lot of other people don't want to go through the whole update process.

If the estate has some money, you can use it to hire help to pack and clean the house, even consult with a real estate agent to see if updates would improve the appraisal and let it sale quicker. Some charities may be willing to bring their own people in for the clearing out phase just for the donation of goods. If memory serves, you can even borrow money secured by the house to make updates if all the heirs agree.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to TNtechie
Report
Zdarov Jun 25, 2019
Love it, thanks for the details on working with the ‘stuff’!
(2)
Report
I am currently cleaning out my brother’s apartment, which is a two BR apartment filled with those white “bankers boxes” stacked 4 deep against a back bedroom wall.

Its absolutely ridiculous.

But nonetheless we rounded up friends to help fill boxes of books I am going to try to donate. I delegated the easy stuff to those buddies of ours that were there to help.

My brother was a hoarder with a bad short term memory. I was just going to pitch them but found some valuables stuck in maybe 1 out of 5 boxes. Which means if I pitch them I may miss something valuable or family related (like old pics of my dad in the Army in WW2.)

Its hard because if you hire someone they won’t know the significance of things found.

If there are any older kids in the neighborhood you can enlist and pay them $10/hr.to haul stuff to the garbage receptor.

I am also arranging the Salvation Army to come in and take furniture, etc. & donate his books which are in perfect shape to the town Library.

I threw away a lot of stuff as well.

I so empathize with you. We (hubby,myself) worked for 6 days straight, rented a Pennske truck & drove furniture from NJ to MD.

We needed a break but plan to return there Wednesday or Thursday this week to finish and clear the apt by 6/30.

It’s a huge PIA. For *years & years* I suggested to my brother than he spend time each week and clear some junk out as I was trying to get him to relocate to Maryland so I could watch over him but that was not to be.

There are certain places you can go to and hire a few day workers to help you get through this and help with lifting. In my area there are groups of people that hang out at that certain placed in the AM looking for temporary work. I would pay them $15 an hour.

If he lived in a house I would rent a dumpster from a company like Waste Management who will both deliver & pick it up when full & pick it up from your driveway. Check if Home Depot can arrange this. It does cost about $300-500 depending on the size of the dumpster.

I understand completely what you are going through. It is both emotional and physically exhausting.

Good luck to you. It’s a lot of work.

I plan on renting one at our house to clean out our basement this year or next.

I come from a family of hoarders, and subsequently I am not a hoarder. I can’t stand knickknacks or too much clutter.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Shane1124
Report
mterpin Jun 25, 2019
"I come from a family of hoarders, and subsequently I am not a hoarder. I can’t stand knickknacks or too much clutter."

I can totally relate to that. Get that dumpster, and a couple of strong guys, and toss, toss toss. Personally I cannot handle clutter at all.
(7)
Report
See 1 more reply
fiorini01, not an easy task. Been there, done that. Even though my parents didn't have a lot of "stuff" [as George Carlin would say], it was still an overwhelming job.

One really great suggestion I got here on the forum. Anything of your Dad's you want to keep, swap it out with the same item you have in your house. Such as I swapped out lamps, as I wasn't attached to the lamps I already had, but liked the ones my parents had. I was using old candy tins for paperclips, so I swapped out pudding dishes my Mom had. Even swapped out a couple of wastebaskets, etc.

Bring home all the photo albums, those you can go through later.

I had called in an Estate person but since none of the paintings were Van Gogh, and none of the furniture was from Buckingham Palace, I never heard back from the company.

Call in Salvation Army and Goodwill. Oh, Goodwill where I live still will accept old VHS tapes :)

I hired a handyman that I knew to help me with "stuff" in the basement. He moved it all into the garage. And trashed items that were junk.

A plumber came out to fix a problem. When he saw my Mom's old china cabinet he fell in love with it. The china cabinet now had a new home :)

Then I called the junk hauling. Anything they could donate they would, and we would get the receipt. Anything donated you can use on your Dad's income taxes for next year if it is above the new tax rules from last year. Check with a tax advisor.

I sold the house "as is". The idea of remodeling or even painting was beyond what I wanted to do. A flipper bought the house pretty close to the professional Appraiser's price. Make sure you sell the house within one year of your Dad's passing [my heartfelt sympathy] so the $250,000 allowed deduction can be used to help offset any taxable capital gains for your Dad's next year income tax. Again, check with a tax advisor, as trying to keep up with tax changes is exhausting.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to freqflyer
Report
Zdarov Jun 25, 2019
Good stuff. Thanks for reminding people to not throw out their VHS tapes, in Virginia our Goodwill takes them too.
(3)
Report
If you live in the USA, call an estate sale company......they come into the home and organize EVERYTHING, value or not, price it, advertise the sale and then run it for 3 or 4 days. People line up to buy, believe me when I tell you. If you authorize them to give a deep discount on the last day of the sale, people will come by the droves for cheap stuff. If the house is seriously a mess, they can charge you up to 50% of what is earned. If the house isn't such a mess, 40% is more standard. Look at a website called Estatesales.net for lists of sales in your area, then check out a few to see what goes on. Prestige is a big company here in Colorado and tend to sell EVERYTHING off as they have a huge following (me included). They will advertise the sale as A Collectors Dream With 55 Years Of Treasures, or some such lingo, and everybody and his brother in law along with the antique dealers will be lined up at 7 am.

Depending on which state you live in, there is a company called Everything But The House who bring a truck to your home, pick up the stuff, then sell it FOR you on an international online auction. I believe they also take in the 40-45% commission range. They operate in Ohio, Denver, L.A.......a bunch of different areas. Check them out at EBTH.com

Best of luck....its a big job ahead, I know. I've moved the folks SIX times since 2011, with the last move being this past Weds. The consignment shop wouldn't take a dated curio cabinet or recliner, so I had to rent a Uhaul and schlep it all to Habitat for Humanity. Cost ME a bunch of money for stuff I SPENT a bunch of money For! Getting rid of stuff isn't as easy as it should be, huh?
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report
Zdarov Jun 25, 2019
lealonnie, I shudder at that number of moves!! You are amazing. Thanks so much for quoting these services’ typical take, good to know. ssiigghh over the cost of hauling things of value!
(3)
Report
Excuse me if I'm redundant to the other posts but don't have time to read them all.
We were left with a house full of "vintage stuff" and absolutely no time to deal with it. We refused to put anymore of our money into the situation as the dysfunctional family left all the work to us and picked the estate dry of any valuables. I listed the back yard stuff on Craig's list. (couple of pictures on the free stuff listing) A Junker came and took everything for free. (I made him sign a hold harmless in case he got hurt he couldn't sue) I listed Vintage furniture free and posted it on Facebook and Craig's list. A guy responded and took the furniture for donations and in return he moved all the stuff he didn't want to the curb. I listed the curb items on free stuff on Craig's list and before the garbage guys got there it was all gone. We were lucky, but we weren't trying to salvage everything the stuff was worth. The realtor helped us with his contacts so use a good one. Also, not to thwart the process of showing the home we consolidated everything to one room so the agent could show the house. To us it was worth giving it all up, even though it was heart wrenching. Good luck, this is a difficult time for you I hope this makes it a little easier.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Lovestinks
Report

A different approach is to break it down in half. Find an empty room somewhere (friends?), even a shipping container if you have space to put it for a couple of years. Shipping containers cost about $2000 delivered here and are easily saleable at the end. Empty the house, and chuck any real junk as you go. Stack everything else in the store. Then get organised to prepare and sell the house. There’s a lot of work in that, and the sooner you can do it the quicker you get the proceeds. If you need finance to prepare the house, a short time loan is more economic. After that's done, take a deep breath and start work on the store. All the suggested options can be done, bit by bit. I’ve done this four times now, and you have my sympathy.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report
Zdarov Jun 25, 2019
Four times?! Thanks for sharing this. I picture you living with a closely engineered amount of stuff in your own home. :)
(2)
Report
As the Adult Child of a Hoarder, I've had to face this as well. I have a different perspective. The loss of the previous item happens not now when you don't find it before throwing it away. No, the loss of the item happened when your brother tucked the item away into it's secret hidey spot.

Hoarding is a mental illness and the loss of things occurs when the hoarder decides to hide the item. It's not your duty to unravel an unhealthy mind's thought patterns over many years.

You can just dump things after checking for obvious valuables. If you hire out the job, you can tell employees they can have 50% of cash found if it's over 1k in the box and they can ask about any items they find if they'd like them. We hired a fire recovery company and all they did was hire 10 people from a temp staffing office. When given that incentive, they moved fast (but 3 rooms to the ceiling was $6k). Happy dumpster filling!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to surprise
Report
Zdarov Jun 25, 2019
Wow! And I never thought about ‘hoarding is hiding,’ much as I witness it every day. They’ve hidden it from themselves, that’s the part that keeps surprising me, but now it won’t.
(4)
Report
See 1 more reply
If you can take some time (without adding stress of figuring out how to pay an existing mortgage, taxes, utilities), do so. You don’t want to add to the overwhelm since going through the stuff will bring back memories as you continue to grieve and it will just physically be a lot.

Last month I finally completed the same process after a year (my parents had been in the house for 40 years). My father passed in September 2017, I started my project in April 2018 and sold the house May 2019.

What helped was going room by room throwing out and donating what I could & saving what I wanted. Also I set a REALISTIC goal date for completion and when I missed it, I set another one:). I was blessed to find an absolutely amazing hauling company on Yelp I ended up using 4x over the year project (the last one the day before the final walkthrough). I mostly did everything by myself over the year with the exception of a couple of weekends a close cousin came & move out week 2 other cousins came.

In the end, everything worked out exactly as it was supposed to and I’m grateful. The key is to pace yourself and don’t beat yourself up if it “takes longer” than it should, you will get it done.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to OnlyChildCG
Report

My way was not quick. It was my husband's stuff and also my stuff that I did not need any more.

Amazingly, in 3 years, I donated $9000.00 worth of stuff. I priced the things according to Goodwill's price list. Lots of clothing but other things, too. At tax time, this helped me reduce my taxes. I itemized and recorded all donations. This was all "little" stuff. It went to VVA -American veterans. They came with a truck a few times and took the stuff away. I did not have to put it in my car and take it there.

A whole woodworking shop of equipment-- I negotiated with a person who was starting out with his own business of doing repairs and building. He did it in trade for doing work on our house. I had to sell it and move to a much smaller place.

Using ads in the newspaper, I sold our garden tractor, hauling trailer, air compressor, pressure washer, chain saw, etc.

Family came to help and took many tools, etc.  but hey did not want the bigger machines. I had hoped these would stay in the family. Darn. Very sad for me to part with.

His car-I sold. I did not need it. A local friend who owned a garage helped find a person to buy it.

When I moved, I had to put stuff in a storage unit. I just moved the leftovers to my own garage. Stuff I wanted to have. Even some of this will be donated or trashed.

My husband did not die. Recently, he "just" went to a nursing home. His stroke was 13 years ago and he lived with me for most of that time. Getting rid of all this was very hard. I did it little by little. Finally, I am getting to the end of this process.

christine
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to ctupton
Report

See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter