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mess at mom's
Old 10-21-2019, 08:25 PM
  #1

My mother has moved to a senior residence. We need to rent her home to help with expenses. My two sisters and I are cleaning out 60 years of clutter and dirt in order to have an estate sale. On sister cries, one stops and looks at old photos, and I fume. There are school papers from my year in 2nd grade! National Geographics. Look magazines. Old toys. Clothes. I am so angry that my mother let the house get this bad. I've offered to help her in the past, but she just said she feels like she's cleaning out things to die. Now we are down to just picking up stuff to store somewhere so we can have the estate sale person come over and see what we have. We will get through this, we will get through this, we will.


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It is so hard
Old 10-21-2019, 11:52 PM
  #2

to have to clean out a parent's house. I did not think my mother had much stuff until we went to clean out her house. She did not have a lot of old magazines or clothes. She did have lots of books though. My husband and I kept a tote or two, the rest went to Goodwill. I sure your are frustrated for a couple of reasons. It sounds as if your sisters are not much help, along with the amount of stuff she had. Good luck as you finish your project.
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cleaning out
Old 10-22-2019, 01:36 AM
  #3

I feel for you! I am going through something similar right now with my mom's mobile home-getting it ready to sell. She was fairly organized but it's the photos and albums, the saved artifacts and keepsakes from all of their vacation travels that gets me. I cannot throw any of that away. So I brought home many boxes to eventually go through and sort.
And she had this birdhouse collection that I have no idea what to do with. We gave some away, the rest are sitting in the garage at this point.

Hang in there though, you're not alone!
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We went through this
Old 10-22-2019, 02:01 AM
  #4

with my parent's home. I found that much came into the house, very little went out. Mom had newspapers for all the historic events, kept every greeting card from every holiday, and so much more. I found a pony tail of my hair when I had it cut in my teen years! We were so overwhelmed. Lots went to the trash/recycle. We didn't have time to think about selling most of it. Mom had been a Girl Scout leader and was involved at the council level. She insisted that old uniforms and GS magazines were donated to them. Some furniture went to churches to help needy families. We also had an estate sale and they were very helpful and used to working with families that were overwhelmed and exhausted.
Hang in there!
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:03 AM
  #5

Hire the estate sale person ASAP. Let them do the cleaning out. You'd be amazed at what people will buy, such as the magazines. Ours said people get to the sales early to buy half used rolls of foil and plastic wrap and laundry detergent. Then they get in the folks who own resale shops and "pickers" and then they open to the general public.


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Old 10-22-2019, 02:43 AM
  #6

When my mother-in-law moved out of her home, my sister-in-law (her daughter) was in charge of the cleanout. We learnt that Nanna was a very tidy hoarder and she had every piece of paper that had passed through her hands since 1922 neatly kept in boxes. We started looking at boxes (I'm the family historian of this wacky outfit) and started finding things like the passport they traelled to Australia on in 1927, as well as the rate notes (local taxes, I guess) from the house they own in 1966 side by side. It was a nightmare. It was compounded by the fact that HER mother was living with them when she died in 196? and her stuff had never been sorted, either! I have become very very good at making split decisions on what has historical interest (and there is a next gen historian coming through the ranks who wants this stuff) and what can be chucked without guilt. We are now (six years after Nanna's passing) just about done with all of it, and have two carefully curated acid-free folders of **interesting** family papers to be passed on.

All have been scanned and copies of that file delivered to anyone who showed even a passing interest ;-)
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clutter
Old 10-22-2019, 04:40 AM
  #7

I am sorry you have to go through this. I understand that you are angry, but I also understand your mother. Your 2nd grade school papers and all the other old stuff were part of her life. Cleaning all that out is admitting that you are going to die (relatively) soon, which is difficult for some people.

I have been in the process of decluttering my house since I retired. I don't want to leave it to my kids to clean it out. DH, on the other hand, continues to collect more stuff like tools and electronics, which drives me crazy.

It could be worse. My cousin had to clean his parents' house in a hurry as they both had medical issues and could no longer live there. He had to sell their house in order to pay for the assisted living place. Since his parents were true hoarders like those people in those hoarding shows, he gave up after the first day, and hired professional crime scene cleaners because they deal with hazardous situations.
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Estate sale company
Old 10-22-2019, 05:02 AM
  #8

I hired a company that asked me to take what I want. They would sell or dump the rest. They cleaned out the house, garage. Left it ready to sell. It was amazing.

I just sorted out what I wanted, left the rest for them to deal with.

They offer a great service.
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Old 10-22-2019, 06:43 AM
  #9

I understand how hard this is- emotionally and physically. But I wanted to share on a lighter note my experience with my mom. We moved her out of her house about two years after my dad passed away. That was the big job. She moved into a retirement home, one bedroom, one bath condo, so pretty small. When my mom passed away, my sister cleaned out the bathroom, my brother the bedroom, and I worked on the kitchen. I found 6 frozen Sara Lee cheesecakes in the freezer! Obviously my mom didnít like the desserts at the home. And she was a tiny little thing! Then I opened the oven and found 25 styrofoam take out containers! I have no idea why! Iím just glad I never turned on the oven. Good luck!
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Cleaning momís
Old 10-22-2019, 07:03 AM
  #10

Not a task for the faint of heart. I know this from experience. At the time, I was angry that my older sister, who was far more close to my mom, just ďcouldnít do itĒ. So it was left onto my brother and me. In the end, I was glad my sister didnít help...weíd still be working on it.

Yes, you will get through it. Work around your sisters.


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House
Old 10-22-2019, 10:10 AM
  #11

Hugs and blessings! This is not an easy job - my siblings and I are in the process of doing the same with an uncle's home. We have made several trips to the thrift store and have some on a local sales site. The house is small, very dirty and outdated. Uggh!
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Mom's Stuff
Old 10-22-2019, 10:34 AM
  #12

Bless you! We are really working at clearing out stuff. Just this morning I asked my daughter if she wanted to come over and help me sort some things. "You can do it now or when I'm dead!" was what I told her. They put the new furnace in our storage corner of the basement so it is an excellent time to weed out more stuff that we don't really need.
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:55 AM
  #13

That's quite a task you have to do!
I'm thinking that it comes to a point when an older person knows the task of sorting through their home has to be done, but their energy and physical ability has long since faded away to get it done. Time creeps up on us all.

I guess we'd all better start keeping out the clutter in our own homes so our own kids don't have all that to worry about!
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Old 10-22-2019, 01:12 PM
  #14

My mom died in May at almost 102. She sold her house 6 years ago and moved to assisted living. My sisters came for extended periods to help clean out the house and my newly retired DH finished it up. Now I'm going through what she had in her apartment. Treasures (like a paystub of my father's from 1949 for $145.60 twice monthly--and with a master's degree!) and weird stuff like a photo of Tom from Lina Senior HS 1959-60--but I don't know Tom.

I find the task emotionally draining and understand why Mom didn't get it done herself. But, oh, how I wish she had. And once I finish with her things, I really need to start in on my own.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:23 PM
  #15

DH is doing to same thing at his mom's house. No sibs around to help-all out of state and too far away and/or no funds to fly here to do it. It's a long process. He's pitching some and bring some here I've stopped pushing about when the house will be ready for sale. He's gotta do it on his own timeline. She wasn't bad at pitching some things after attending some funerals--she'd come home and clean but other stuff I'm sure she didn't even realize she still had.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:58 PM
  #16

It is a VERY difficult task on so many levels!

I'm helping my brother clean out my mom's house while also cleaning out my own house to rent. I throw things away, my brother gets them out of the trash. It is going to take some time if he keeps doing that! We have three other siblings who are too busy to help. That's ok though, sometimes more people can complicate the process.

We set up the garage so we have an area to sort through things. We set up different areas for recycling plastics, metals, cardboard and so on. We also set up an area in the basement for things that my nieces and nephews might want.

We found boxes of matchbooks and hotel soaps. Some of the soap was so old it had a chemical that isn't used anymore.

I hit the jackpot when I found my grandma's vintage singer!

Good luck with the clean out. I know how frustrating it can be.
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Thanks
Old 10-22-2019, 04:23 PM
  #17

Thanks everyone. It's quite something that so many of us are going through the same thing. We'll get it done, but oh so exhausting and emotional.
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Old 10-22-2019, 05:36 PM
  #18

We went through this with my mil recently and while it was a lot of work,it was tough to see my mil upset at giving up her home and so many of her momentos.
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:57 PM
  #19

I'm sure it is emotional and exhausting to deal with such an overwhelming task. It looks like my mom is headed to a senior residence after a fall last week. So I have a similar task ahead of me. I hope you update with any advice from your experience. My mother has some very nice things, but I live across the country and don't want to ship heavy things, so we will probably be having a big garage sale/thrift store donation extravaganza.

I've been in the same home for a long time. Your message is motivation for me to continue clearing the clutter in my house.
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:41 PM
  #20

Thank you all for your responses. It really helps to know there are many others who have dealt with this mess. I have been on a clutter busting kick for a few years, just because I know no one will do this for me. For my mom, think it's a combination of having very little as a child and not wanting to relive memories. She just stuffed them away. I do have to say, children's Valentines in the late 50s and 60s were darling!
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Old 10-23-2019, 01:28 PM
  #21

I have been right where you are and my heart goes out to you. I know that pain and frustration. Prayers abide for all of you. (((HUGS)))
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