Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Inheriting Stuff - Deal With It Immediately

My faither-in-law just moved from assisted living to nursing care in the retirement community in which he lives. As a result, my husband had to go through his two-room apartment and clear it out. He had to make decisions about what to transfer to his dad's new room, what we should keep and what could be let go.

After choosing what would go into the nursing center room and what we would keep, he was able to sell his dad's furniture and TV to some of the nurses who had cared for his dad for years. They weren't allowed to receive gifts, so he sold the items for $1. Whatever they didn't want will be donated.

He had to determine what might be meaningful keepsakes for our family. Whatever didn't fit in his suitcase, he mailed home. We will do a final culling during Christmas when our girls are here to take those things that are meaningful to them. After that, we'll either keep or donate the remaining items.

When we lived in Ohio, my parents-in-law moved from an apartment to their assisted living rooms. As a result, we brought many of their keepsakes from that trip, without having the time to sort through them. We found it difficult to find time to go through their things while we were house parents for our teenage foster daughters. Lately, we've been going through these things, and will also ask our girls to look through those things, too, to determine sentimental items they want to keep. We've enjoyed going through letters, cards, pictures, awards, and other memorabilia of their lives.

If there is a way to consolidate memories, do so! My husband and daughter have been scanning pictures and slides. You can hire someone to do the same if you don't have the desire or equipment. You can also transfer VHS tapes to DVDs or flash drives to reduce the volume.

My advice: when you inherit items from your parents, other relatives or friends, deal with them immediately. If at all possible, determine what you want before it comes into your house. Don't bring in anything that you will later want to remove. Sure saves a lot of trouble! Offer family pieces to your children, if they are interested. Are there other relatives, friends, or organizations who may want some of these items? Then take another look to see if you really want to keep what is left.

Dispose of unwanted furniture and household items through donation, an estate sale or selling them on Craig's list, at a consignment store, a newspaper ad, or garage sale.

Don't procrastinate on this! I've talked with clients whose houses have gone from uncluttered to stuffed as they have inherited their relatives' possessions. Be intentional about what you bring into your home!

More on getting rid of stuff:

Virtual Thrift Store Help You Clear Clutter and Benefit Charities, Too
Animal Shelters Accept What Other Charities Can't Use
A Giveaway Party - A Garage Sale Alternative