Downsizing in a Hurry

by Only child

My mother lived to age 89 in good health, in a large rural house neatly kept but never throwing away anything, not even my baby teeth!

She sat there alone with a leaky bladder after her 2d hubby died, refusing to downsize and/or move in w/me. Suddenly one day she was hospitalized with little time left to live.

At the start of a snowy winter, I had to clear her house and put it up for sale. No one wanted her solid wood furniture even for free.

The biggest mistake I made was taking her medical, tax and insurance papers to my house(out of state). I don't know what was on those papers but they attracted rodents to my clean, rodent-free house.

Please, readers, don't leave your mess to the next generation. A house full of belongings seldom fetches more than a few thousand dollars from antique/flea dealers, if you can find anyone who is willing to venture out to have a look.

Do dispose of your things while you are in good health; mark important photographs so your offspring will know why you saved them; have your home professionally cleaned now and then; don't be a hoarder.

Comments for Downsizing in a Hurry

Click here to add your own comments

The Swedish call it “Death Cleaning “
by: Canadian Retiree

I just read a book "The Art of Swedish Death Cleaning " which basically involves clearing out your clutter and belongings you no longer need or use before someone else has to after you are gone.

It’s a cool concept. I got rid of a lot of stuff and my husband got rid of some stuff. We still have lots more we could get rid of. Good book.

by: Sherry/ NC

This is a very good lesson to learn. Do not collect stuff. You only have so much room to put it and in the end no one wants it. You will have to clean it all out.

Do it now
by: Tracy L

I completely agree with Joe and Wendy’s previous comments.

If I had to do it over again, there is no way we’d have an estate sale. The minute we signed the papers to the estate company, they slashed prices like it was a dollar store. WE could’ve done that ourselves!

Downsize, donate, toss, facebook marketplace. If the house is going to be sold, ask if the new people want any of it, chances are they do, but for just a few items.

My brother in law recently arranged for a huge dumpster at his own house and he cleared out attics and closets. It’s a loving thing to do for your family.

Estate Sales
by: Joe W.

The Estate Sale is usually the last resort where you want to sell your trinkettes. I've attended Estate Sales myself and listened to the relatives of the deceased; saying that maybe we should bid ourselves to save some of the things auctioned off because the selling prices are far too low.

I suggest trying to sell as many items as you can personally through Garage sales, Kijiji, Craigslist or the Facebook marketplace. Most people will buy your valuable stuff and the rest you can give away to charity.

An example where I gave to charity was giving away approximately 100 used books that were shipped to Afghanistan for the military soldiers to read. Other charities like Goodwill, the Salvation Army or Value Village sell both used and new goods often to people who just can't afford to buy stuff at retail stores charging those relatively high prices.

Joe W.

A final act of love performed by a child
by: Michael - Upstate NY for the summer!

When I think of all the things my Parents had to deal with while raising five children, I think helping to clean out their home - whether before or after death - is an act of love that a child should be more than willing to perform for a parent.

I just hope that when the time comes, I have some extra tissues on hard to wipe away my tears as their possessions will bring back so many wonderful memories!

by: Wendy, Retirement Enthusiast/Coach

I had the task of selling the home of my first boss, turned friend. Three of us, her executor, and my friend and I worked through the process.

We hired an Estate company, watched as her lifelong collections were sold for next to nothing, and some dumped when not sold.

She was a big collector -- married with no kids. Her "stuff" made her happy. However, later, nobody wanted it.

The next generation isn't into clutter, many more minimalists there, and don't even want things on their walls, sets of china dishes, etc.

Anyways, I totally get it.

My mother drives me crazy right now, always giving something to someone leaving her condo. Trying desperately to get rid of some stuff, at age 94, so we aren't left with the task.

I wish she could just accept what life she has left and enjoy it. Instead, always cleaning another drawer, and finding more "stuff". This post was a great reminder for me. This keeps her happy and busy -- and will be a real help for my sister and I later...

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Write Your Own Story Here (others can provide feedback).