If you are reading this, it is not an easy time for you.
You are either grieving the loss of your mum or dad, or you are in the process of moving them into a retirement village or nursing home.
Either way, working out what to do with your mum and dad’s stuff can be a tough and emotional time. And it usually has to be done while also holding down your job and looking after your kids.
If it is too much to handle by yourself, give me a call. But in the meantime, here are some tips for free.
1. Don’t underestimate how long it will take
Don’t be surprised if you and your siblings spend all Saturday and Sunday on the job, and still have to come back next weekend. And the weekend after that.
Depending on the circumstance, you might knock over one room per day. Start with the bathroom and laundry, because they are the easiest. But allow more time for bedrooms, then even more for the lounge room, study and garage.
It can be incredibly interesting digging up some of the relics you parents have squirrelled away, but making the decision about what to do with them can take time, even between the closest of siblings.
2. Don’t think good quality furniture holds its value
There is no getting around it, we live in a consumer society. Sadly, second hand stuff just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Yes, mum’s big dining table and matching chairs are handmade from cedar and cost six months pay when she was 25.
And yes, the internet is an amazing tool for matching a buyer with a seller.
But remember the first rule of market forces – high supply versus low demand = highway robbery.
You can certainly use Gumtree or Ebay to find people interested in old furniture, but don’t be disappointed when the $3000 dining suite only attracts one bid.
Even the charities tend to only take furniture in excellent condition.
A five step triage system works best – chuck, donate, sell, gift or keep.
3. Don’t get sentimental
OK, this is tough one. It is natural to feel sad, guilty or even angry about moving all your parent’s stuff onto the front lawn for a garage sale.
But don’t beat yourself up over decisions that simply have to be made. Or even worse, don’t avoid making decisions, otherwise the job will never get done.
Just remember, your parent’s things are only possessions, the most important things are the photos, any videos and the memories in your heart and mind.
And don’t forget, your parents had to go through the same process a generation ago.
They just didn’t have the internet to help them.