Follow
Share

Hello e1-
Need advice input etc on where and how to start with going through, packing, sorting, eliminating 44 years of stuff in an 1800 square foot home plus a garage. Within 6 weeks. I am overwhelmed and hoping someone has a doable method of madness for this type of project. Thank you in advance.
xoxoxo
susan

Find Care & Housing
If nextdoor.com is active in your area, that's another way to get rid of stuff.

I didn't use it for the childhood home, but for some strange reason ( what could that possibly be ) wanted to super downsize my things...on nextdoor I'd post a partial list of what I was putting out, leave it outside and voila! 95% gone. It's like magic! I love that people find uses for things I don't use any more also.

And no storage units, definitely!!! Do not do that to yourself!

Let us know how you progress. Hugs!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Madisoncuckoo7
Report

Look at it this way...the longer you delay, the more it will cost for upkeep and taxes. All for what? Just memories. Be proactive. I am executor for my single brother with no children and I had to empty a house with 25 years of accumulation that I had no place to put. I let his friends take what they wanted, separated a few things for donations and got 2 dumpsters for the rest. I kept a blanket hutch and a few champagne glasses. The house sold in 4 months. My monthly accounting for taxes and maintenance was $1000 per month. Is the value of the home worth it.
Suggestions, donate to friends, donate to Salvation Army, hire help. Depending on your area, there may be professional liquidators, but you may be wait listed for a few weeks if they have a list of clients. Do collect paperwork related to taxes. Throw away anything over 9 years old. You may have to save that stuff and sift through later.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MACinCT
Report

Just popping back in here. If you are clearing out a kitchen and live near a university, the students living in residence may want the pots, pans, dishes etc. I outfitted two students with kitchen supplies and utensils this past September. Most of what I used came from a house that seniors were moving out of.

So if you are looking for a place to take kitchen gear, perhaps call your local college or university.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Tothill
Report

Daughter of a hoarder here who's done the final clean up. Advice: the money in tissues, in books, in greeting cards, or in brand new stuff with tags and still in the bag is *not* lost now, when you are throwing it away. The loss occurred when your *loved one* hid the items. You cannot grieve the unknown amounts lost. Your time is worth more than it would take to sort every book or magazine. You do what you can to recover things of significant value. A dollar here and there do add up, but there is a limit to what *can* be recovered. The error is with the one who hid the value.

We had pickers come in who gave us a price for the contents after I'd taken what I wanted. I'm sure they found things I wish I'd found. But it's not worth my effort. Those are simply things.

Advice for the OP: throw bags and things out the windows so you don't have to go by your hoarder. Take carloads to dumpsters and don't dispose at the house. Everything will come back in if it's brought by the queen in her chair or thrown away where she will find it.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to surprise
Report
MAYDAY Feb 6, 2020
That sounds like me... My family tried that, and I followed the junk pile, and brought in what I think is precious or worthwhile... Needless to say, they had a fit. I am learning.. I only need a few things... I kept the good cooking things... IRON SKILLETS... NO aluminum things.. They got rid of all my good stainless.. why? They didn't know the value of it.. So, I don't cook so much. Anyone watch NHK tv station? They had a show about iron teapots from many moons ago, and still good shape... Iron is natural, and lasts a very long time...May not look so fancy, but they work great. clean it with lemons and salt, and warm water.. Make sure it dries, and cure it with some olive oil if need be..
Who needs a complete set of dishes? Need a dish? You can find a fancy one at the Goodwill or other second hand shops nearby. Things break.. My family thought I had too many dishes, etc.. Strangely, I was dropping a dish or glass or something every week... Stress? maybe.. It was weird.. I think I had too much stress.. I need to drop more dishes..
(1)
Report
Mid,

I am with you about renting storage. I think that’s crazy. Those storage places are popping up all over. People keep more and more junk.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report

May I add--whatever you do, do NOT rent a storage space and fill it with junk planning to sort it out 'later'. Later will not come and you will be dinged for storage for junk you don't want/need.

NOTHING of my FIL's went into 'storage' except for the 30,000 golf balls. And they are not my problem.

My friends parents died within 6 month of each other. Friend, being totally overwhelmed, simply bought a ton of hue plastic bins and packed them full. She is now paying $175 a month to store her parent's hoard. I'm sure the total of what she has stored comes to nowhere near the nearly $2400+ she has already spent on storage.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Midkid58
Report

We had been in our “other” house for 25 years. We sent the big pieces to auction, donated small stuff, consignment shop just a little. Now in our smaller house waiting for the next move to retirement community. Just a few pieces to move, but still need to weed out the remaining small nests of memorabilia. It feels good now. Not weighted down with dining room table, too many chairs and a hutch that was crammed with items we never used. Pick out the obvious to discard, group the similar things together. You will find that you might have six tape measures and 8 boxes of candles and three large boxes of old matches. Weed out all the multiples. If you don’t bake any more, move those kitchen supplies out to someone who will appreciate them.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to GAinPA
Report

I could never clear much of anything out with my Mom around. Mom is the oldest daughter in a depression era family of 8 children so _everything_ must be reused until there's absolutely nothing left. I remember once when I was about 30 and cleaned out my closet of worn or too faded for work clothing (not in good enough shape for donation); Mom saw me throwing it in the garbage can and came across the street to ask me what I was doing throwing all those clothes away. She took most of the clothes out of the garbage and back to her house, telling me those faded cotton pants were just fine for her to wear around the house. When I cleaned out my parents' house 25+ years later, I recognized some of those clothes still hanging in Mom's closet _so_ I finally got to actually throw them out!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to TNtechie
Report
Isthisrealyreal Feb 5, 2020
Can I recommend donating items like that for rags.

They cut them up and sell them for rags.

I use to pay anywhere from 50 cents to 1.25 per pound for rags. I needed ones that were going to be used once and disposed of. No washing the pickle juice off of them. (This is the oil used to protect iron pipes.)
(2)
Report
XOXOXO to all of you!!! Thank you all VERY much for your methods of madness! A dumpster and a ‘abort the sort, plow now’ mindset seem to be the key factors to this project. The tricky part is mom will be in Her Chair as always and you must pass within her scope to get outside and she’s gonna crap when she sees what my idea of minimizing is- good thing she has a colostomy! I told her already that I am minimizing my stuff to ...
I feel relieved to now have a plan of action thanks to all of you!
mark, get set, go!
xoxoxo
susan
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to OUHyperop
Report
MAYDAY Feb 6, 2020
So be careful with mom...I have a friend who had to move his mom, and had a whole house to get rid of.. in sorts... They invited us over for the last day in the house that he grew up. His mom was looking at the utensils. and there was a whole set they didn't disgard.. He tells mom, you don't need it. She replied you can use it.. it's good silverware... I looked at her, and told her I can use it, and the copier they were going to dump... She was relieved... my friend glanced at me with a thank you... It was overwhelming for her to see another thing being tossed....
Do keep in mind for your mom's sake, that she may be quiet, but she is noticing, and may cause more stress... Plow quietly, quickly, before she notices...
My friend's dad was dying of cancer.. No secret, he wanted to give everything away...His shelves were looking very empty, and he was still alive... I told my friend, to not let everyone take it away so quickly... It was hard..He was a very intelligent man.. and very nice... He took that time to see everyone..and it was the most heart warming party ever., every day.. every week, until it was it was over.. I guess it is how you approach the issue, and how you handle it, that it is okay.
(0)
Report
Why are most people so attached to things? I’ve always appreciated experiences over things. It’s the emotions that are special, not the things.

We keep too much stuff. I had to have giant walk in closets. For what? To store stuff that we end up forgetting about.

I started weeding through and donating things. I have a little left to do. I managed to get the excess items out of my kitchen cabinets and pantry. I want to downsize and have less maintenance. I can’t get my husband on board.

I don’t want my kids to deal with surplus stuff. My grandma was a very simple woman. She had no clutter. My mom had a very easy task of getting her home ready to be sold. There wasn’t any junk to empty out.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report
cherokeegrrl54 Feb 5, 2020
My mothers dear friend is like that. She has 2 or 3 pics of her kids when they were small and a pic at her grandsons wedding hung. Nothing sitting out anywhere! When her husband passed away, her kids scooped her up, moved her to PA with them in a 13 room huge house. She hated it there and hated the snow and cold weather. After 6 months of misery, she moved back to FL She doesnt cook so doesnt need pots and pans, she lives very minimally. If anyone gives her any type of gift, she gives it away. I like clean and uncluttered but what i do have(after 4 times of downsizing due to moves) i enjoy....Kept what brought me happiness and donated or threw away the rest.
(1)
Report
See 2 more replies
someone I knew was throwing things away from when her mom died. Lots and lots of tissue in pockets of jackets, pants, etc. everywhere. Finally, one tissue exposed what it was holding.. Money.. Yes money... They wonder how much cash they threw away.
Another friend, went throguh her parents things, opening all sorts of greetting card, xmas cards. 90% of them had Gift Cards in them, from restaurants to Starbucks, Amazon... etc....
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to MAYDAY
Report
cherokeegrrl54 Feb 5, 2020
My mom stashes extra $$ in bibles and books. When the time comes, i know i will have to go through things carefully for that same reason...
(2)
Report
This is a tough job (((((((hugs))))) It is not just the physical and organizational work, but as other have mentioned, the emotional work. We moved mother from a large 2 bedroom apartment, to a one room unit in AL, to a 2 bedroom unit in an AL which she refurnished, to storage, for a year while she was in hospital to a one room in an AL and then to a one room in an NH. Until the final move we kept some things "in case". In fact I still have some of her furniture in my house. I didn't really have a system but followed the keep, donate and discard plan. Fortunately sig other is very good at moving and knowing where to donate or discard stuff. The first move I called a charity store that advertised pick up and they came and took what was usable that I didn't want, That left stuff to be trashed and stuff to be kept which we packed into a trailer and brought home Some was furniture I wanted to keep and some I wanted time to go through like papers. The second move from the 2 bedroom apartment we put most of it in storage as we didn't know what was ahead. Once it was clear most of it could never to used by her again we went through the process of sorting again. Some went to auction, but frankly, we got very little for it and may as well have donated it. Many here have rented a dumpster and been ruthless in tossing things, It helps. I have gotten more and more ruthless. It is a huge, thankless and emotionally draining job. I think ahead as to - do I want this or will anyone after me want it. If not out it goes. Good luck and let us know how you make out,
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to golden23
Report

When cleaning out my uncle's house I kept everything that was paper to sort through later, I can't remember there being anything of real value in any of it but I found some fascinating stuff - a bill of sale for a model T, tax records from the early 1900's, calling cards from my grandmother and her sisters...

And do look in every purse and pocket, shake out books and glance through anything else that may hide a secret stash, and look over the house for hiding places once it is empty too - we found a wad of cash tucked behind the studs in an unfinished closet.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cwillie
Report

Please understand when I say "I did" in the following, I'm not meaning I personally picked up and moved all this stuff. Since I wasn't working when I cleaned out my parents' house and could get there on short notice, I made an arrangement with a local moving company to hire movers when they had available hours. So the moving crew spent 6 hours doing a scheduled move and then came to the house to work for a 2 hours. Or occasionally I had them for a whole day when someone canceled a move on short notice.

I started with anything setting "out" and ignored most of the drawers and closets initially. The sooner the house doesn't look so much like a home, the easier the clearing out process becomes, at least for me. This order also made room to use when working on emptying those closets and drawers later. I had to clear three levels: main, attic, and basement. I cleared the main level, then moved attic contents down to the main, then finished with the basement.

First, I removed all valuable small items from the house and placed them in a bank safety deposit boxes. My father had various collections I needed to secure: firearms, pocket watches, stamps, coins, etc. I also removed all remaining medications from the house at this time.

Second, go through the house and get rid of everything you _know_ is a throw away item. Half used bottles of shampoo, lotion, makeup, newspapers, magazines on the coffee table, open food from the kitchen, etc.

Third, go through the house and pack any small item you know you want to keep or distribute later like family Bibles, photos, wall hangings, recipe or keepsake box, annuals, books, tools, musical instruments like my grandfather's violin, my mother's china cabinet contents (since she wanted the china cabinet moved with her), selected kitchen contents (iron cookware and some baking pans), etc. I took these boxes home.

Unfortunately buried in boxes/drawers/files of "papers" are things you might really want to keep but it takes forever to go through it all. To avoid delaying the whole house clearing, I packed all the "documents" in boxes and placed them in storage to deal with later, one or two boxes at a time. Although most of the "documents" were eventually discarded, I did find everything from deeds and insurance policies to my parents' original marriage license (which I needed this year for some of my mother's widow benefits) and photo negatives.

Next I boxed almost all the clothing (emptying those closets and drawers) and remaining kitchen non-perishables. Called a local charity thrift shop to come pick up as well as furniture items with little value, like a IKEA bookshelf and TV stand, remaining wall hangings, and appliances.

I sold several items of nicer furniture and newer appliances from the house. A couple of items went to a local auction house. When the house was empty, I did a basic cleaning, updated the baths and kitchen cabinets, refinished the hardwood floors, applied a fresh coat of paint and put it on the market.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to TNtechie
Report

Hopefully you might be able to determine what is worth keeping. It took 6 months for my husband and I to empty my mother's apartment. I believe she had every letter she had ever received in her life. I threw out many but with others I categorized them by decades. Alot of books were thrown out due to their condition. Basically alot of everything was thrown out unless I really wanted it or felt I might have been able to take it to a consignment shop. She was in an apartment so there was no dumpster option. The staff in her building were not at all happy with us but I was still bringing alot home but I didn't want to bring home garbage.

It becomes a ruthless process and is very debilitating. Unless you have the desire for items you are going through you have to see them as garbage which at least lightens the load. If you can avoid the discussion of doing this with whomever all this belonged to you will be in a better situation. My mother thought everything in her apartment had a purpose and tried to get me to find the people she wanted things to go to. That got old very fast. I had many white lies to her.

As time went on with this process more and more was relegated to the garbage category. What annoyed me also was that she knew we went through this with my late MIL and her house and promised not to do this to us. Truth be told she simply was not up to the task. My husband and I are both only children so the ordeal was left to us. My grown children would have helped but none of them live in the same state. I remember saying each time we were there that this will never be over with. My husband said yes it would one day. It was and that actually brings great joy and relief. Hopefully you feel you have made a dent with the time spent thus far.

I have stuff but not an inordinate amount and it is clean and organized. I also continually get rid of stuff. I know that my children will never have to go through what my husband and I have.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Riverdale
Report

I have to add that I was not as cucumber cool as my bullet-listed technique might seem to imply. I was very emotionally invested and there was a lot of crying in the beginning until I learned to work much, much faster. The storage facility probably has security video of me cursing and kick boxes too!

But I told myself that it's impossible to get it done 'perfectly'....just get it done. This freed me up a lot. And at one point I found a giant stack of china plates and thought, " Hm I've never thrown plates indoors, wonder what will happen?" Yup threw a few plates at the wall. They smashed everywhere! Then I cleaned it up of course, being the 'good' one ha...

Point being, there might be a lot of feelings and nothing is ever perfect, but...so what! If you can grab any humorous moments like throwing plates or whatnot, if that keeps your sanity...go for it!

Blessings to you again
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Madisoncuckoo7
Report

I cleaned out my FIL's place all by myself. I was the 'least' involved person and was not grieving his death as were DH and his sister. It had to be done and they were just sitting on their hands for weeks following his death.

After an emotional day with the sibs going through his condo, and taking anything they wanted as memorabilia and much of the furniture, I jumped in with both feet and 100 huge garbage bags.

First came the PILES of mail--he had lived in his condo for 14 years and there were 14 enormous stacks of mail, He kept everything that came in. I pulled together all the documents he needed for his 'final' tax return. (His acct was breathing down my neck!) As I went through the piles of paper, I quickly came to see that it was all garbage. I could sort through a 3' stack of mail in an hour. Then I attacked the kitchen and as one poster said--went clockwise around each room, not squirreling around w/o a plan. 90%+ went into the trash. I had NO sense of wanting or needing to keep anything other than photos for my DH's sibs. Listed his remaining furniture as 'free' on Craigslist and it went immediately.

The hardest thing was finding room in the community dumpster for his 2 huge trash cans for all the garbage. I asked neighbors for use of their trash cans, and even hauled some of it to my own home. In retrospect, I should have rented a dumpster and opened a window and heaved things out the window. BUT, on BIL, SIL's hubby, who should have had no say in anything wouldn't let me--(I have since grown a lot tougher and should have spent the money. (This same BIL would only let me 'clean' dad's place if I did NOT charge the estate a dime.) Yet, when I got the place totally emptied, all repainted, by myself and got it in pristine condition, BIL took the listing and sold the condo in ONE DAY, pocketing the 6% commission. Still irks me, to this day. I wasn't 'allowed' to charge the estate the going rate of $20 an hour, but BIL sold two properties and pocketed the commissions. Family being family, I swallowed my anger and just did the job at hand and did it for dad's memories. New carpet, new blinds, retouched the bathtub--everything, all alone. It sold for $40K more than other condos in the area b/c it looked perfect.

I learned A LOT.

I SHOULD have been paid. I SHOULD have rented a dumpster. I SHOULD have hired help. I SHOULD have had those 18 louvered doors professionally painted instead of doing it myself. I SHOULD have paced myself. I SHOULD have bought an industrial shredder, I burned through 2 'cheap' ones. Dad had a lot of porn and I had to deal with that....emotionally I was completely burned out by the end.

By the way--BIL took all the golf balls dad had collected on his walks around the golf course believe it or not, there were more than 30,000 stashed all over the house. Said he'd sell them and split the money. 15 years later, they are still sitting in his garage in huge bins, they cannot park their cars in the garage b/c of them.

A cautionary tale. When mother goes, it will be very different. I am not emotionally attached to anything in her apt. She's a hoarder, and has maybe 10-15 'things' which have any real value. I will make SURE that my YB who has had her for 22 years will be duly compensated for the time he spends cleaning, as he will be the primary one doing it.

Can you tell I'm still a little steamed about this event? But I learned a LOT. And totally lost respect for my BIL who was NOT the one in charge, my DH was, but to keep peace in the family, he didn't 'fight' for me. I worked well over 300 hours between his condo and his rental house to get them ready to sell, and paid not one dime. Dh also didn't take his 'salary' as executor, even though he missed a ton of work to handle all things.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Midkid58
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Feb 5, 2020
30,000 golf balls? My word! Unreal.

You took on a huge undertaking. You absolutely should have received compensation.
(2)
Report
See 2 more replies
I recently took on this type of challenge. I'll share what I experienced. First of all, PACE yourself. Sitting or standing for long periods of time, will play havoc on your back, hips and feet. Change positions often and stretch a lot. I had to see my acupuncturist mine got so bad. If you already have a bad back or hip......I'd pay professionals to do it, if possible.

Arrange to have music playing. It helps the mood. Also, keep snacks and beverages on hand. Don't invite too many to help. They talk too much and slow things down. If you can, hire professionals. It was WAY too much work. It will take a toll on you. My work was done in about 3-4 weeks. Some days, I worked 10 hours! It's difficult because you have to look at each and every thing. It's time consuming.

Also, arrange for a large dumpster in the yard, trailer or something big for trash. I ended up filling up multiple loads of haul away trash on a long trailer! It was amazing. Check the times, days and restrictions on the landfill stuff and if city/county will pick up large pieces of things like furniture, tvs, appliances, etc.

Schedule a shredder to come to you. It was amazing how much needed shredding. It would take many hours to do it yourself. A truck can come to you and shred on site. It's not that expensive, considering. Also, wear plastic gloves when you handle paper or lots of other items. It prevents your hands from getting dry, paper burns and cuts. This I did correctly and was so glad.

Buy a large trash bin on wheels that you can deposit much of the trash. You can roll it around inside the house and it holds a lot. You can also use those Industrial strength black trash bags. They are super strong and can be purchased at home supply stores.

If you're boxing up a lot , I'd take digital pictures so, you know what you have and what box it's in after you label it. Keep list of items and label the boxes. If you can, pack in plastic bins. They are easier to store things, imo, but, can be pricey. I preferred to put heavy items in plastic bins.

I did it room by room.

It takes 3 times longer than you think it will. lol Good luck.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Sunnygirl1
Report
Riverdale Feb 5, 2020
Tons of good advice from you. We would start by a room but even the small amount of rooms seem to lead us to another area. We were driving from about an hour away. We had to go out and feed a parking meter. We would get home at around 2 in the morning. Each time we would just say to each other that it was time to stop after spending exhausting hours. Just reminiscing which is too kind a word makes me relive the drudgery of the process.
(2)
Report
I started decluttering my home about 9 months ago. I have lived here for 22 years and have hoarding tendencies. I do not have the irrational attachment to the stuff in my house, I have a challenge getting my house in order. My Dad is a hoarder.

When my marriage ended almost 6 years ago, I lost control, there is no other way to say it. It was not helped by my ex leaving stuff he was supposed to take and finding "Easter Eggs", things that triggered me when I tried to clean up on my own. I completely shut down when I found these things.

Last May I found a woman via Facebook who does decluttering. It is not inexpensive, $50/hour, but Carolin is worth every penny. We had a discussion up front about whether or not I wanted to do one or more garage sales. I said "nope", I just want to stuff out of my house. It is an ongoing process, but I am very happy with what we have accomplished.

Having a stranger help is much better than asking a friend. When we find one of those triggering "Easter Eggs", she asks, me what I want to do with it (she has no idea it is a trigger) , I tell her it needs to disappear, and turn my back, when I turn around again it is gone.

We are tacking one room at a time. We use three bags, black for garbage, blue for recycling and clear for donations. Depending on the room there may be more of one or another. I have boxes too for donations. In the time we have worked together we have cleared out over 1000 sq/f and are tackling the lower level of my house now.

We have done this in 10 sessions to date and it has cost me about $2000 to date.

Carolin takes the donations at the end of each session, my son and I take the garbage and recycling the next day to the disposal.

I have had a couple people ask me "What if she throws out something you wanted?" Well if it had been in a pile on the floor for the last 4 years, I probably did not want it too much. There has only been one thing that went missing, I grieved for it for a couple minutes, then moved on.

Carolin has a full time job, this is a side job for her and she has other clients. It works for me to have her come once a month or so. I am not sure that I could emotionally handle doing it all at once. The schedule we have works well for me.

So my suggestion is to hire help. Set as many days a week/month that you can handle and work hard for that time, then give yourself a chance to recharge before tackling it again. Arrange to have the garbage removed immediately after each session and the donations taken away at the end of each day.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Tothill
Report
rovana Feb 5, 2020
Did you have an problems with money stashed in books, valuable jewelry mixed in with pure junk? When we cleaned out my parents' house, we found piles of the finest Whisky, Scotch, Vodka, etc. Parents did not drink - they had been getting this as Christmas presents for many years and did not know what to do with them. I ended up asking a few VERY reliable friends to take what they wanted. Poured the rest out.  Found a sweet potato vine growing in a cupboard.....
(1)
Report
Start in one corner and be RUTHLESS. Throw out as much as possible, only keeping the REALLY good stuff.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to againx100
Report

My Mom lived for 60 years in a 4 bedroom farmhouse. She wasn't a hoarder but being a child of the depression, she kept things just in case someone needed it. I could have had her house cleaned out much faster if not for my brother and a nephew who lived there. I have helped to clean out for family and cleaned out to the very end for Mom. It is overwhelming but you may need some help.

First, go thru every room and get rid of trash. Stuff you know u will never use or anyone will want. Ex: old cards, old wrapping paper. With my MIL it was a closet full of magazines.

Then go thru drawers and closets for clothing. Throw out what is way out if date. No one wants other peoples underwear. Donate what is fairly good to nursing homes, clothing closets, clothing bins.

Have family come pick out what they want. Furniture can be donated to Habitat for Humanity, Good will, Salvation army. Household stuff can go to thrift stores. I donated to a local one that the proceeds went to help kids going to a private Church affiliated school.

There were 4 of us. I got a storage box for each and put their names on it. As I found pictures and things pertaining to them, they went into the box. If they didn't want it, they could throw it out.

In my MILs case. We cleaned out the junk. After everyone took what they wanted we hired someone to handle an Estate sale. What was left, the people running the sale got rid of it.

In my Aunts case, my cousin got a dumpster. And what people didn't want went in the dumpster. He had 5 days to clean out.

You may see what the Township allows when it comes to trash. Mine has a one day a month "bulk day". They also have a permit to be able to use the dump but there are restrictions. Like for $20 you can dump one pick up size load.

Once you have gotten past the trash and junk, take a room at a time. If people are helping, give them a room. With Mom it was this goes, this stays. After u do that, go thru the stay piles again. "Do I really want this". My thing was, I have enough of my own junk. Keep it organized. Don't jump around. Don't allow those who want things to come when they want. Tell them now or never. This is the problem I had with my brother. There were times he could have taken home what he wanted when he visited. No, he waited when the house sold. I could have had the house cleaned out way before if he had taken what he wanted. Mom lived on a main road. We would put things out with FREE on them. They were gone within 24 hrs.

I know, overwhelming. I could so downsize if not for Hubby. He loves books. Won't allow me to get rid of LPs, cassettes, VCR tapes ect. Which would free up a lot of space. Oh, except for the LPs, VCR tapes and cassettes only last maybe 10 yrs. We stil, have a VCR and play tapes for Grands but they do break sometimes when being rewound. The tape gets brittle. So, ditch them.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

OUHyperop, for me I used on of those hauling services for my own house. They come in, you point to what you want removed [I had placed signs on the items], and they haul it out. I found getting the large furniture out helped make feel less overwhelming.

I have cleared out the basement of large "stuff". Now what I do is each trash pickup day, I make sure I put out at least one item. Example, old orange extension cords found a new home in a trash bag, too grimy to donate and would have been a bear to clean.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to freqflyer
Report

Yes! I've lived this! 40 years in a 4 bedroom house plus a large outbuilding study plus 2 garage storage rooms plus small attic PLUS 6 storage units! Dad threw nothing away. Piles of boxes and things. Literally no help from sibling. I was overwhelmed but also blitzed through it, ( had to ) and so can you!

I agree with what everyone here says. There's several ways to go, and absolutely hire people to help. Best money you will ever spend. Sell some things off first to pay for help, if need be. Anything. Now this is my version of how I emptied the house - the key for me was not overthinking where things would go later:

- I walked around the house and made mental note of anything sentimental etc..mom would probably want ( or a few other relatives wanted. ) and what I wanted.
- Hired a pro to help mom pick out her own things she wanted and help her move - THIS WAS AWESOME. Praised pro mom-mover-helper profusely when mom drove her crazy. This also kept mom very busy.
- Ran through house, collected every single photo and put them in leftover suitcases. Photos were loose and all over the place. Had one small suitcase where I put the cutest/most sentimental photos I ran across, and gave that to mom for her new place. Key here was I just collected the photos, did not think about how many there were or what on earth I would do with them!
- Collected the things I wanted/a few relatives wanted and stashed them in my house/truck without thinking where/what I would do with them.
- Now all the things we want were out of the house. Decided to donate EVERYTHING to fire victims in our area, so with mom's permission I hired the real estate stager, movers, etc...to help sort and move and dump virtually everything else. Huge physical task but easier mentally. Longer story but this also involved a friend's huge garage. And the real estate folks were eager to speed things up. At this point mom had some ER visits, so again, getting paid help was critical.
- Storage units were a bear. A bunch of my Dad's stuff was to be donated to an organization so they were a tremendous help. Labelled/moved boxes for the org. and then I burned out on all that damned crap and boxes. A couple of cousins wanted to go through the stuff so I made it completely their responsibility. Had to really push them to complete the job. Honestly I was ready to toss the lot...and it was 99% junky stuff. By that point unless there were gold bars in there I didn't care.

And it got done! Fast! ( except the storage. ) Over the past year or two I've either placed the things I kept in my house, and also realized I didn't want/need some things after all, so gave those away. As for photos I've sorted a few and the rest might sit in suitcases for a long time...but at least they're not lost. What helped me the most was not thinking about where things would go WHILE I was emptying the house. More action and less thinking.

Excuse the really long post but I have so been there. People couldn't believe how fast our house got sorted and sold. It looks like an impossible mountain to climb but you can do it!!!

I also have to add my relationship to 'stuff' has changed and yours might too. I joke I'm totally neurotic about possessions now. Too much is too much!

Truly wishing you the best
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Madisoncuckoo7
Report

Huge dumpster and ruthless attitude. Only way. So get the hauler to leave the dumpster. Enlist help even if hired, point to stuff to be thrown. This will empty it out. Visit thrifts in your area, find out what they will accept, start your piles, have them come by with their trucks. You are into it 6 weeks. I think you might be surprised that you have made progress. If you haven't, what is holding you back. Is it fear of throwing? Because of everything you keep, you will look at it once more, then pass yourself, and your kids will stand there with question marks over their OWN heads. Wishing you luck and if you find clues to what works let the REST of us know. I am good at this. I have let go of everything, put it outside, and folks have walked happily away with my STUFF. And I LOVE doing it, so somehow wish I were there to help, and share a cuppa.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Report

Splurge on the biggest dumpster you can fit in driveway and afford. Enlist the help of a friend or relative that is a good sport. Make goals for yourself, ie, 4 days per room. Get boxes for donations or sale items, plastic bins for keeping things, bags or 5 gallon buckets to haul to the dumpster. Attack each room with: trash, keep, sell, donate piles. Pack and trash as you go. Keep sharpies in your pocket to mark all boxes.....you will be looking for something later.....have plenty of snacks, drinks and the numbers for pizza / chinese takeout. Have a garage sale every Saturday to pay for the dumpster and any hired help, etc.

If you need a SMALL storage unit for a month or so, do so. By the time you have carted out the trash and keeper stuff, you should have a pile of boxes in each room to donate. If you have a garage sale, do not do it alone, have a couple friends help. Or, hire and estate sale company.

After you have gotten sick of garage sales, call the local charity, "got junk" folks, whoever, and have them pick up all of your donations. Hopefully, you have enough $ left to hire Merry Maids to do a deep clean of the house when you are done. You likely will be too tired to tackle that. Took us 17 days to wade through 80 years worth on 2 floors and a basement. If we could do it, you can too! Good luck!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Mincemeat
Report

Six weeks is plenty of time; however, you will need help.

Grab a piece of paper and write down the name of each room and how many closets it has. Write down stuff that you know you want to find.

It's best to work in a clockwise direction around a room, opening all drawers, looking underneath beds, etc. Don't jump from one side of the room to another. Move all valuables to a designated area.

Ask friends to help. Give each person a closet. Ask them to take everything out of the closet, have a quick look at it and to check all pockets. Designate an area in the room where they can put things that look valuable/interesting/weird. Once a closet is sorted, mark it with painter's tape and cross it off your list. Do the same with furniture drawers, kitchen cupboards and the garage.

While your friends are working, you will be sorting in the designated valuables area. Sort into two categories: keep and not. Designate a new area for things you keep, which is the last area you will actually pack. Be mindful that things may move from keep to not, and not to keep depending on how you feel. Recognize that your feelings matter.

Always order food (pizza, heroes, hoagies, subs) for you and your friends for lunch and take a break. Everyone needs a break. You may discover that your friends have found some gems and conversation starters that make you all laugh.

Do *not* go through the keep category while you are trying to clean out the house. It may be tempting but will cost you valuable time. Keeps stay in their designated area until you're ready to rent a truck, storage unit or POD where you go through them at *your* convenience. Most storage units offer one month for free. Some even offer a free truck rental.

So what do you do with the not keep? If it's a hoarding stuff situation, call a local junk hauler. If it's valuable stuff, call a local estate liquidator, who will pay for the stuff and take away the rest. If it's stuff that's in decent shape but not worth money, call the Salvation Army, which has trucks to pick up donations. It might be worth a call to the Salvation Army to ask them what they need. You can always call a junk hauler for whatever is left.

The more organized you are about knowing what help is available to you and asking friends for help the more help you will have.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
Report

I have a friend whose sister died and left a huge house full of everything imaginable. He would become actually ill when there at her house trying to figure out what to do with it all. Eventually he called in auctioneers who put it all on a website and what they didn't sell within a certain amount of time, they hauled off to donate. I don't know how to contact a company like that, but maybe it would be worth looking into. He ended up doing very little about it, except paying them from the sales.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to ArtistDaughter
Report

I hired a wonderful decent, honest, respectful company who did the clean out, house goods sale, prepare for realtor, and donation distribution.

I wound up paying about $1200 for the services and it was worth EVERY CENT.

Even if you THINK you have priceless artifacts, you’re likely to be wrong.

The work was ALL DONE over a long weekend.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to AnnReid
Report

Some people get bogged down trying to decide what to do with each thing so for me it is easier to first decide what I want/need to keep - heirlooms, papers, etc - and then ruthlessly purge everything else, it makes the process go much faster. Mark items that can be donated - use coloured tape or post its - and hire a dumpster for the rest. There's not really any way to make physically moving stuff easier except lots of hands , so recruiting people for a couple of big clean out days is a must (this is where having everything pre-marked is really helpful).
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to cwillie
Report

Well, many in my family were "Collectors". If alive and being moved to AL, I would ask them to gather up what they wanted and told them after I come in I would make all the decisions. I treat it as a job, I do not spend a lot of time looking thru stuff or get emotionally involved.

The last one was for my step father & his wife, real collectors of junk. My brother worked the garage, I the house. In a week we had it cleaned out, an estate sale, donations and tossing, two dumpster loads and over 100 heavy duty lawn bags. We had the interior painted and it was placed up for sale in a week. Sold 3 days later.

When my father passed away I went through 50 years of crap. Took 3 weeks as there were a lot of repairs that had to be made before I could list the house for sale. I worked from 9-7 every day, stayed in a hotel to get away from the mess.

Next, my brother & I do my mothers home, another 50 year deal, although, she is not a hoarder, there still is a lot of stuff. I went there and moved her furniture that she needed for her AL apartment, there are a few more things she wants and then we start the process, plan to have it done in a week too and put it up for sale.

Mostly today, people don't covet what those of that generation did, so there are a lot of donations to be had. Good Luck!

I like Daughterof1930, found it is best to just plow thru it.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to anonymous912123
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter