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granparents and parents 'stuff' siting in boxes

(83 Posts)
litlemisssunshine Tue 23-Jan-18 14:56:53

clearing out for downsizing house move. Boxes and boxes of our parents' and grandparents' old old 'stuff' aside from the emotional 'let go' what on earth do we do with it all? theres the obvious route of charity shops, or sell it, but its such a huge job. what do people do with fondly remembered old English tea sets? have given a lot away to local cafes but still got 3 of them sitting here. also we have old silver some EPNS and some hallmarked, do we sell it...stick it back in the box for our own children to sort through when we are gone !?? HELP!!!!

Nanabilly Tue 23-Jan-18 15:10:44

To be honest when we had to move mil from her large house into a warden aided flat and then just 2weeks later she was placed in a nursing home due to a rapid decline in her health we just asked the chap in the flat next door to her to deal with it . He was more than happy as it filled his garage and he knew he was going to make a mint from it . It had taken us weeks and weeks of sorting through her own stuff and her mother's before that so please don't leave it for your own family to sort out later on they will have enough to do .

Luckygirl Tue 23-Jan-18 15:20:21

Our rule was: if our children will look at this when we are gone and think "what the heck are we going to do with this?" then out it goes!

We got a clearance firm to deal with FIL's flat. I lost the will to live when I got as far as his patented electric ear wax remover, complete with ear wax - yuk! grin

MissAdventure Tue 23-Jan-18 15:22:09

I would get rid of it all. I can't see what good stuff does sitting in boxes, apart from really sentimental things.

NotTooOld Tue 23-Jan-18 15:22:34

Oh this rings lots of bells. How I agree that we should not leave lots of stuff for our own children to sort out. DH even has bank statements and chequebooks that belonged to his grandparents as well as his parents' stuff. It's mostly paperwork and I keep trying to get him to go through it. I doubt there's anything valuable but bank papers cannot be readily dumped in the bin, can they? I suppose they need shredding. I did rescue a small embroidery his mother worked and it looks much better in the new frame I bought for it. It's hanging on our wall now. DH opines that the children will be inheriting so when the time comes they can blooming well sort through the tat!

kittylester Tue 23-Jan-18 15:28:21

I have today gone through the final stuff from my mum's room in the nursing home. It's hard isn't it? I was happily jettisoned things when DH came in and said, 'oh don't get rid of that!' some help as it wasn't even his mother.

MissAdventure Tue 23-Jan-18 15:31:51

We sold some bits and bobs of my mums, which paid for us to have a meal after scattering her ashes, and gave the rest away to people who would really benefit from it.
The man who took her wheelchair wanted it for his wife, as she was unable to go out, and the wait for an assessment was taking months.

Tegan2 Tue 23-Jan-18 15:38:26

I sometimes think that it's things like bank statements etc that would be of most interest to future historians when most source material will have disappeared because everything is now on computers...[that's my excuse for not throwing stuff away, anyway!]...

kaycee Tue 23-Jan-18 15:47:59

We had to sort out three years ago when moving from a house we had lived in for 35 years. We had loads of paper stuff from both our parents as well as our own. Some of it was actually quite interesting so I did take photos of most of it with an app on my phone and now it is stored on the PC in different folders. I've done the same with old photos. We shredded the hard copies. We still have all the stuff to look at when we are feeling nostalgic and my son has actually taken an interest in some of it. No answer re tea sets and ornaments etc - still got loads of those!

janeainsworth Tue 23-Jan-18 15:49:01

tegan yes. Up in my loft is a metal box containing amongst other things a Burnley Building Society paying -in book, in my parents’ names, dating from the time when you went to the Building Society in person and repaid your mortgage in cash.

Nonnie Tue 23-Jan-18 15:51:34

What about all the stuff on our computers? Should we clear that out or maybe they won't bother to trawl through it all.

Grannyknot Tue 23-Jan-18 15:54:44

I remember when my grandmother died, we found drawer after drawer stuffed full of those boxed "Bath Salt Gift Sets" - the ones with the bath salts in neat blocks, with a tin of talc next to it - perfumed with lavender, mostly smile. I don't see them around much nowadays.

MawBroon Tue 23-Jan-18 15:57:03

This is. VERYclose to home, having just returned fro the dump to dispose of years and years of *paw’s” back copies of History Today/History Scotland and History Ireland and (sad) his OU history degree notes.
I am slicing the tops ( where it shows address and account details) off pre-2000 bank statements then putting them into separate recycling bags for different weeks.
Things and “stuff” are another matter.

Farmor15 Tue 23-Jan-18 16:14:53

I’m just back from depositing car load of stuff to auctioneer. My mother died 13 years ago and father 30 years ago! I was left the house but it suited us for adult children to live there so didn’t clear out all the clutter. Both parents were collectors/hoarders. There was a mix of quite valuable things, which i’m now selling and other stuff. After my mother died, I used Freecycle a lot. She had a fur coat which someone took for a play and lots of fabric scraps which another freecycler took for patchwork.
More recently charity shops have been the main recipients, even of possibly valuable things like silver plated articles, as well as tea sets and other crockery.
There’s a great sense of satisfaction in depositing box loads of stuff somewhere else!

Luckygirl Tue 23-Jan-18 17:30:12

It is hard isn't it. When my Dad died my sister, who lived locally and had done the bulk of his care and visiting when he was in a care home, wanted to put all his stuff in the local charity shop straight away after we had picked it all up from the home - this involved bunging it all in the charity skips in a dirty old yard round the back of the station. I felt awful about it, but also felt that she had borne the brunt of so much that her wishes should be paramount.

Jalima1108 Tue 23-Jan-18 17:42:06

HELP indeed littlemisssunshine
I am having the same problem and was this morning sorting through piles of old books (could they be valuable first editions, probably not), there is china, more books in the attic.
The piles of junk treasures are all around me at the moment.

Sorry I can't help.
I am just not Ruthless

Jalima1108 Tue 23-Jan-18 17:44:29

Photos - thousands of them!

Menopaws Tue 23-Jan-18 18:53:21

My husband was convinced his mums china would be worth something but has realised it's incomplete and unless you are an eBay whizz it will go to a charity shop in the hope someone with a first house and no money will appreciate it, but it's hard, I am a bit more ruthless as you say if you imagine what the children will do with it that often helps make a decision

NotTooOld Tue 23-Jan-18 20:40:30

Gawd, yes, photos. Too many to count. Some stuck in albums, some piled in shoe boxes, lots of people I don't now. What to do with them? Lots belonged to my parents, some belonged to my grandparents, some belonged to DH's parents, I stopped taking photos and sticking them in albums some years ago and I left a note in the last one telling my children I'd given up because digitalisation had taken over. I do have a lot of more recent photos on my laptop and my phone but rarely look at them tbh. We also have a few family pics in frames around the house to remind us of happy events. It wold be wonderful to chuck a load out but I can't bring myself to.

suzied Tue 23-Jan-18 20:41:38

Anything you never look at that you know your kids will chuck in a skip isn’t worth you giving house room. University notes, old school magazines, books that are yellowing and dusty, instruction books for gadgets you no longer own, negatives of old photos, slides, they’ve all got to go.

Fennel Tue 23-Jan-18 20:54:33

I had to clear out my parents house when they died. They had some lovely china crockery, I took pieces to a local saleroom, but they said no demand these days.
So sadly it all went to the tip.
I kept all the old photos and documents, and will pass them on to one son, who's interested in family history.

grannyticktock Tue 23-Jan-18 21:27:03


Last year I had to clear my stepmum's house after she died. I live hundreds of miles away so I had no opportunity to take things away and dispose of them thoughtfully. With help from neighbours, we took 6 carloads of stuff to the tip and filled a van for charity. The rest, including some fine china and decent studio potttery, went to auction where it raised pitifully small amounts.

We threw out thousands of photos and old greetings cards, and a good deal of clothing and shoes, although the better stuff went to charity. It was an exhausting and rather depressing task, as so much stuff that could have been useful to someone just had to be thrown out.

I am determined not to burden my children with such a task. I am trying to get rid of something every day this year (pass it on, give to charity, sell on eBay, or bin it) which is proving very easy so far. If I don't actually use or enjoy a possession, it might as well go to someone who will use or enjoy it now. If it's stuff that belongs to my children (now 40-ish) they can either have it now or chuck it out. Even things of "sentimental value" are a bit meaningless if I don't actually look at them any more, and in most cases the value will be nil for anyone else. If I have books I will never open again, or CDs I never play, or clothes I never wear, they should go to friends, family or a charity shop. Not when I die - now!

Have a heart - the best thing you can leave to your children is a tidy estate!

GrandmaMoira Tue 23-Jan-18 22:04:16

When my father died, he had moved only a year before and had had a good clear out then so there was no rubbish to clear but still lots of stuff. My brother and I shared out what we wanted and the rest went to either the extended family or a charity shop.
I'm hoping to downsize and have been getting rid of more in the last year. All the old silver plate and EPNS has gone, some to a neighbour who likes it, the rest to charity. Lots of pictures have gone, as well as CDs and old vinyl. I clear out paperwork and books regularly anyway.
My sons won't want the fine china but my DGDs like it. We have a family agreement that the display cabinet made by my great-grandfather will be kept in the family but the rest of the heirloom furniture can go.

Nelliemoser Tue 23-Jan-18 22:59:56

I have the same problem, there were things I held on to when we cleared their bungalow. Fortunately they had downsized when they moved up north.

My OH is a hoarder and whoever gets landed with his junk and musical instruments to sell will have a job on, the loads of hoarded books that will never get read and the charity shop CDs will also be able to be given away .

I still have my fathers chess clock and we finally found a home for his small snooker table and his chess set. There was a not a lot of their clothing worth sending to a charity shop. We swapped their newish washing machine for our older one and someone furnishing a rented house bought the lot in the end .

MissAdventure Tue 23-Jan-18 23:05:40

A lot of things which used to be treasure are now not much thought of. In Bernardos a few weeks ago was some lovely gold jewellery. The lady told me that people more often wear silver nowadays, so donate gold to charity.