What to keep?

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Morticia

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I know there is a diverse population here so it's a good place to ask this question:
In clearing out my parents' house what should I keep? I can't, nor do I want to, keep everything. I know I have to keep paper until the will is probated and the taxes are done.
If you've had to do this, what do you wish you had kept? What was easy to toss? If you didn't do this, but another family member did, what do you wish they had given you?
A couple of friends have stated they were surprised by the things their kids took when invited to go thru Grandma's house - a muffin tin, a hair brush, a particularly ugly china figurine.
Every time I go to the house, I haul home another 50 lbs of stuff I'm going to have to give up someday. What should I keep?
 

Morticia

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I'm starting to think the Gypsy custom of burning the belongings of the deceased might be the way to go. Release everyone.
 

Generic

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Wish I kept that I didn't, not much. I took too much, some of it still in boxes. Keep photos and momentos that really mean a lot to you. Give away all the clothing, unmatched sets of dishes, cups, etc.
 

seashanty

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I kept cookbooks and the canister set. Christmas ornaments. A favorite mug. My mother's sewing machine. She did Japanese embroidery. Those pieces were very popular with the family. I chose the last one she was working on with the needle drawn through the fabric.
I wish I'd kept their records and old stereo ... I don't know where those went
Wish I'd kept my parents' ancient electrolux vacuum ... a work horse in excellent condition! It was left with the house and the new owners got rid of it. Haven't found a comparable vacuum since.
Someone took all the photographs but no one admits to having them. I scanned a few for a memorial video and returned them to the house, not knowing someone was going to take them all away. I would have taken those.
Be sure to keep something in their handwriting.
I took pictures of all the rooms and invited family to say what they wanted. Some things were so popular I had to draw names. I come from a large family so there weren't a lot of things that were left behind.
There are things I took that I passed to my daughter and they are in use in her home which is a joy to see. (She did not have her own home at the time of my father's passing)
I know it's hard and you may feel like you are keeping too much. But ... if you have the space to store for a while and something speaks to you, take it home. You can always give it away or donate it later. But you likely can't get it back.
heart.gif
 

gillumhouse

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I have some of Granny's glass and my Mom's sewing machine. I have her Tup perware canisters - flour holds about 15 pounds and sugar holds 10. I have photos that Daddy had - wish I knew who they were. I also have Mom's figurine for lack of a better description that is used to darn socks - and I used it too. I kept her favorite books.
My problem is - who do I pass them on to? My son is in Finland and has no children to pass things to. My other kids have no connection to my family.
To answer your question: Keep the things that bring them to you with a smile and a warm memory. Give generously to the next generation books, jewelry, things that were their "treasures" that the kids remember were Grandma or Grandpa. Keep the books that you treasure. Other than "treasures", if you cannot use it, toss it. If it is just going to take up space, give it or sell it. I do not know if this is possible now, but if it is - sit quietly and stare around each room to see if anything "speaks" to you. In the kitchen it may be a potato masher or a rolling pin or a bowl.
Boxing up (if you have room to store it for 1 year) and then going through it in a year may be the best way to avoid the wish I had kept.
 

JimBoone

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Pack rat so I keep everything, I'm not the one to answer your question. Several generations of china and furniture. Scanning pictures and documents helps and allows history to be maintained and share among family, when daddy's sister passed several years back I borrowed photos and scanned them.
The value of an antique or family piece is not the monetary value as much as the memory, my treasured pieces probably have no value beyond the memory. Now while I remember things mom had during the days when I was growing up (40's-50's) and treasure them, the things my younger son remembers and values from her home date from his childhood in the 80's, often things purchased later that have less meaning to me.
 

EmptyNest

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I didn't keep a thing. My sister cleaned out our house and I told her to do whatever she wanted with it. She did send me some old memorabilia of my childhood but I really couldn't have cared less. Don't mean to sound hard but it was all just junk I had no need for any of it. She has photos if there is something I want but at this point in my life I want to get rid of my own stuff not bring more into my house.
 

Morticia

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I have some of Granny's glass and my Mom's sewing machine. I have her Tup perware canisters - flour holds about 15 pounds and sugar holds 10. I have photos that Daddy had - wish I knew who they were. I also have Mom's figurine for lack of a better description that is used to darn socks - and I used it too. I kept her favorite books.
My problem is - who do I pass them on to? My son is in Finland and has no children to pass things to. My other kids have no connection to my family.
To answer your question: Keep the things that bring them to you with a smile and a warm memory. Give generously to the next generation books, jewelry, things that were their "treasures" that the kids remember were Grandma or Grandpa. Keep the books that you treasure. Other than "treasures", if you cannot use it, toss it. If it is just going to take up space, give it or sell it. I do not know if this is possible now, but if it is - sit quietly and stare around each room to see if anything "speaks" to you. In the kitchen it may be a potato masher or a rolling pin or a bowl.
Boxing up (if you have room to store it for 1 year) and then going through it in a year may be the best way to avoid the wish I had kept..
Ha! First thing I grabbed in the kitchen was the potato masher! I loved that stupid thing. I've never found one like it since.
Good idea to take what I can and look thru it again when I can think more clearly.
I actually went back and took something out of the trash after thinking about it over night.
 

Morticia

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I didn't keep a thing. My sister cleaned out our house and I told her to do whatever she wanted with it. She did send me some old memorabilia of my childhood but I really couldn't have cared less. Don't mean to sound hard but it was all just junk I had no need for any of it. She has photos if there is something I want but at this point in my life I want to get rid of my own stuff not bring more into my house..
I'm clearing out my own stuff at the same time I'm bringing home their stuff!
Gomez cleared out our basement while I was gone. He's going to help me with the attic later this month.
My parents' house is only 700 sq ft so there is not as much as some folks deal with. I know they did not want us to burden ourselves with their stuff so I'm sending small pieces to family as mementos.
When I was almost done with one room I had 15 bags of items to donate and the same amount to throw away. I still have to go thru and remove all the artwork and tchotchkes.
If we rent the house to a family member who is just starting out, all of the dishes and furniture can stay.
 

Morticia

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I kept cookbooks and the canister set. Christmas ornaments. A favorite mug. My mother's sewing machine. She did Japanese embroidery. Those pieces were very popular with the family. I chose the last one she was working on with the needle drawn through the fabric.
I wish I'd kept their records and old stereo ... I don't know where those went
Wish I'd kept my parents' ancient electrolux vacuum ... a work horse in excellent condition! It was left with the house and the new owners got rid of it. Haven't found a comparable vacuum since.
Someone took all the photographs but no one admits to having them. I scanned a few for a memorial video and returned them to the house, not knowing someone was going to take them all away. I would have taken those.
Be sure to keep something in their handwriting.
I took pictures of all the rooms and invited family to say what they wanted. Some things were so popular I had to draw names. I come from a large family so there weren't a lot of things that were left behind.
There are things I took that I passed to my daughter and they are in use in her home which is a joy to see. (She did not have her own home at the time of my father's passing)
I know it's hard and you may feel like you are keeping too much. But ... if you have the space to store for a while and something speaks to you, take it home. You can always give it away or donate it later. But you likely can't get it back.
heart.gif
.
Mom's teddy bear. Her baby book. (In my grandmother's handwriting.) I don't know if I'm going to find anything from my dad's childhood. I don't think he had much. But I do have lots of little notes they wrote to each other. Little scraps of paper.
 

Breakfast Diva

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I have my mother's and grandparents dining room furniture and hutches and they're filled with our family's china, crystal glasses and silverware. I cherish all of that. When my mother passed, it was such a chore to go through all the tchotchkes. I didn't want any of them but felt so guilty getting rid of them. I kept the ones that I thought might have value. I figured that I would go online to see if they were collectibles. They're still sitting in the boxes 7 years later.
I have the family photos and scan a lot of them for the younger generation to have. They would never want the originals. I also kept some of the kitchen items and it's amazing how often I think about my mother when I pull out certain items. It's been long enough since she passed that when I open a cupboard and see the items it gives me pleasure instead of sadness.
Take the things that you really want. Remember that you're in your exit strategy with the b&b and keep those things you wouldn't mind moving again.
 

Jcam

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1 favourte item of clothing - here there is a service where they make it into a stuffed animal - https://lovekeepcreate.co.uk/ and scan photo's - I went mad when my nan died wanted to scan all the stuff and give everyone a copy but people were taking stuff out and you can't keep track - ruined it for everyone because they couldn't wait. but that's people.
Sounds harsh but when my parents go I don't want anything - non of their stuff is my taste at all.
 

TheBeachHouse

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The good china, crystal and silver if you have it. Art if it is good or if it makes you smile. Wedding rings and good jewelry.
I have my mom's favorite coffee mug.
I also have a favorite piece of furniture.
We kept way too much and it has taken us a while to get rid of the bed, dresser, the sofa from the 70's.
 

Morticia

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The good china, crystal and silver if you have it. Art if it is good or if it makes you smile. Wedding rings and good jewelry.
I have my mom's favorite coffee mug.
I also have a favorite piece of furniture.
We kept way too much and it has taken us a while to get rid of the bed, dresser, the sofa from the 70's..
My mother grew up just after the Depression. She hated, and I can't say that too strongly, hated anything old. She spent her youth 'making do' and vowed not to have 'antiques' of any kind in her home.
Sooo, there is no good china or silverware. (OTOH, both of my grandmothers gave me their china and silverware!)
The wedding bands stayed with them.
The 70's furniture (yeah, Mom, antiques by today's standards) I have no use for.
 

TheBeachHouse

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The good china, crystal and silver if you have it. Art if it is good or if it makes you smile. Wedding rings and good jewelry.
I have my mom's favorite coffee mug.
I also have a favorite piece of furniture.
We kept way too much and it has taken us a while to get rid of the bed, dresser, the sofa from the 70's..
My mother grew up just after the Depression. She hated, and I can't say that too strongly, hated anything old. She spent her youth 'making do' and vowed not to have 'antiques' of any kind in her home.
Sooo, there is no good china or silverware. (OTOH, both of my grandmothers gave me their china and silverware!)
The wedding bands stayed with them.
The 70's furniture (yeah, Mom, antiques by today's standards) I have no use for.
.
I have my Mom's engagement ring with a different stone. My sister has the diamond from the engagement ring in her wedding band. My brother's wife wears my Mom's wedding ring.
 

Silverspoon

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My mother, who lived in Florida, was a collector...I mean hundreds of figurines and a house full of stuff. I took most of the things that I wanted ahead of time...a few lovely pieces of cloisonné, a few sentimental pieces of porcelain and jewelry which I distributed to those who cared for her and loved her. Then I contacted family members and discussed the items that I knew she intended to go to specific people to make sure they wanted them. I photographed everything she owned, sent out a joint e-mail to family members and asked them to let me know if there was anything in the pictures that they wanted.
The shipping bill from Florida to New England was hefty, especially because there was a very large bronze Remington piece that "weighed a ton" and needed special handling.
I sold her house (at a discount) to her loving care-giver who was like a son to her and left everything else in the house...as is. He distributed her personal belongings to the needy and is living there with her furniture and other household items.
Regrets? NONE Everyone who loved her got something. Even those relatives who were mean to her got something to pass down to their children from their Grandmother. I think she would be happy with my decisions.
 

gillumhouse

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1 favourte item of clothing - here there is a service where they make it into a stuffed animal - https://lovekeepcreate.co.uk/ and scan photo's - I went mad when my nan died wanted to scan all the stuff and give everyone a copy but people were taking stuff out and you can't keep track - ruined it for everyone because they couldn't wait. but that's people.
Sounds harsh but when my parents go I don't want anything - non of their stuff is my taste at all..
The Mother of a dear friend died recently - she was 98 and died ON what would have been her 72nd wedding anniversary. Dani had several of her favorite blouses made into pillows for herself and the granddaughters. Many people get the same thing done with Dad's favorite shirts.
 

TheBeachHouse

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1 favourte item of clothing - here there is a service where they make it into a stuffed animal - https://lovekeepcreate.co.uk/ and scan photo's - I went mad when my nan died wanted to scan all the stuff and give everyone a copy but people were taking stuff out and you can't keep track - ruined it for everyone because they couldn't wait. but that's people.
Sounds harsh but when my parents go I don't want anything - non of their stuff is my taste at all..
The Mother of a dear friend died recently - she was 98 and died ON what would have been her 72nd wedding anniversary. Dani had several of her favorite blouses made into pillows for herself and the granddaughters. Many people get the same thing done with Dad's favorite shirts.
.
Nice idea.
I have a throw pillow my Nana embroidered for me. It looks awful. Really tired. But I can't let it go. :)
 

gillumhouse

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I kept cookbooks and the canister set. Christmas ornaments. A favorite mug. My mother's sewing machine. She did Japanese embroidery. Those pieces were very popular with the family. I chose the last one she was working on with the needle drawn through the fabric.
I wish I'd kept their records and old stereo ... I don't know where those went
Wish I'd kept my parents' ancient electrolux vacuum ... a work horse in excellent condition! It was left with the house and the new owners got rid of it. Haven't found a comparable vacuum since.
Someone took all the photographs but no one admits to having them. I scanned a few for a memorial video and returned them to the house, not knowing someone was going to take them all away. I would have taken those.
Be sure to keep something in their handwriting.
I took pictures of all the rooms and invited family to say what they wanted. Some things were so popular I had to draw names. I come from a large family so there weren't a lot of things that were left behind.
There are things I took that I passed to my daughter and they are in use in her home which is a joy to see. (She did not have her own home at the time of my father's passing)
I know it's hard and you may feel like you are keeping too much. But ... if you have the space to store for a while and something speaks to you, take it home. You can always give it away or donate it later. But you likely can't get it back.
heart.gif
.
Mom's teddy bear. Her baby book. (In my grandmother's handwriting.) I don't know if I'm going to find anything from my dad's childhood. I don't think he had much. But I do have lots of little notes they wrote to each other. Little scraps of paper.
.
I do not have much of my childhood left. My ex (possibly partly why ex) took it upon himself to throw away my baby book and much of my things from childhood. I was able to save a few pages from it. I donated my last doll (and a full wardrobe I made for it) to Toys For Tots (or its equivalent) before he could throw it out.
I gave the good jewelry to my kids and a niece already, my bari sax to the Community Band, and about all I have left is books. I will take Granny's glassware and other personal items when/if I get to sell the B & B, but all the goblets, dishes, etc will be a bonus to the purchaser as long as they will be operating it as a B & B for at lest 2 years. Himself has sold most of his "toys", keeping only what is being passed on to the boys & grandsons - mostly pieces he built. HE is the one who will be giving the nightmare task of cleaning out the crap - the workshop alone well take a long time to clear. My crap will mostly be paper that can be tossed after I no longer exist as I saved it for "proof".
 

Anon Inn

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Mort, I am doing this now. My father left us two weeks ago today. One consideration is the laws in your state. You (or the executor) may have to do an inventory of the contents as they may be part of the estate.
In our case my father was not an accumulator of stuff. Most of the family things were dispersed when he sold the family home some years ago. he bought a home near us when he moved. Those things that are of use to friends are being given. Items with monetary value such as appliances will be inventoried. We will offer to 'buy' them back from the estate as they would be far too bulky to move across the country. (The house passes to us)
I kept many things when the family home was sold. Some items like grandmother's rolling pin and similar items are used and cherished. Many are still in boxes in storage. I am finally ready to have a yard sale for those things, but it will have to wait for better weather.
Right now the grief is fresh, but doing these last chores for him does help. I'll have (yet) another good cry when these tasks are finished.
 
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