Breaking Down a Lifetime

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I have vowed NOT to hang on to "stuff" as I advance in age. OMG! mother in law has stuff dating back to mid 1800's and even some before that!! Basically junk, believe it or not, as it means nothing to those in the family now.

    Honestly, this had the capability to turn very ugly due to family history. The 2 sons, husband and his brother do not/never have gotten along. When husband's Dad died, his brother removed all of husband's inheritence out of the house as fast as possible. husband saw none of it. Ever. And later sold it. This did not help their relationship. Thanks to the brothers......the cousins also didn't have a relationship to speak of, and so on down the generations.

    For starters, mother in law began telling family what they would get 20 yrs ago. Then as years passed they began to get labled. This was to prevent a repeat performance of what happened when husband's dad died.

    What mother in law didn't count the daughters in law taking control. We have always gotten along and have similar personalities/views. In all truth, we've pretty much ignored mother in law's labels. Mostly because it's not practical for many family members to take items that were given to them due to space ect.

    So by 5pm my 2 girls, husband and neice's youngest daughter had all arrived. We had most stuff sorted by then and knew where 90 percent of the big furniture was going. They were walked thru and told if there was anything they'd like to have to speak up now.

    Unless easy child would like some of the kitchen stuff.....the vast majority of it is going to Nichole who is about to start her own home, same with linens. easy child is taking the beautiful rocking chair she's loved......and already has the other items mother in law gave her, plus a silver opera purse engraved with her namesakes initials. This does not count their silver and china. easy child's is already at my home. Nichole will be getting hers within a day or so. (actually I'll be storing hers as well)

    There are tons of photos to go thru. I have copies of many of husband's childhood photos. He doesn't really care alot about them. His bro may feel the same as he also has copies. Then grandkids get a turn, then great grandkids.

    That's how we've been doing it. Kids first, grandkids, then great grandkids, even the 11 mo old great great grand got something. Sister in law was firm with her kids/grandkids to be practical about what they could/couldn't take. (It has to travel back to virginia) I did the same with mine, making certain they also should consider that everyone should get something from mother in law.

    We're being uber flexible. And it's working out nicely so far with no hard feelings. :D

    We have only one hitch. My neice had told mother in law over and over she wanted no china or silver from that side of the family because she had 3 sets from her mother's side already. mother in law then gave the sets she had (3) to K, easy child, and Nichole. K will not receive hers due to circumstances, however they may be saved for Kayla when she is grown (as is the ring on my finger). This has been set up for years. And like I said......I've already got easy child's set.

    Now neice is wanting a set. Today I tried to give her the set intended for K. She doesn't like that set. Her mom backed her up and said that her own mother had a set like it and neice wouldn't take that one either. I know sister in law took neice out on the porch and spoke with her. No more was said about the china and silver.

    For me this is no problem. I'm a paperplate, plastic silverware family gathering person. But my girls have looked forward to receiving these family heirlooms their entire lives. They've been passed down generation to generation for more than 150 yrs. So I truly hope this can be worked out in a way that everyone is happy. I don't want to cheat neice out of hers either........even if she repeated stated she didn't want it.

    I guess there always has to be at least one hitch. But the rest is moving smoothly. Tomorrow we're packing up the kitchen. Then other than sorting pictures and books (some ancient antiques) and actually moving the stuff where it is to go, we'll be done.

    Oh, and we're attempting to choose something special for the eldest great grandchild because she is not here. And although she said she didn't want anything.......well, you know. Hard cuz her Mom and sister in law says her tastes are out there a bit.

    But I swear as I get older I'm going to downsize as often as possible!:faint: Going thru mother in law's desk ect they found records dating before 1960's!! sheesh
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I went and "stole" (with permission of course) some furniture from my family home a few weeks ago. My sister inherited the home because she moved home to stay when illness set in and took care of my (grand) parents for their final years. I had to clean my (grand) mother's dresser out. She had a lot of stuff from pcson's early years---before husband and I married. I gathered those things--a preschool graduation diploma (Masters in Rhymes)...his hand prints, his Sunday school certificates, a set of flash cards (he refused to learn in X tables). I have to go back on go through some other stuff. I gave him those things on his birthday.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ah, yes, nothing like going through grandparents' things to make you want to downsize your own lifetime collections!
    So sorry about your neice. Like you said, there's always one.
    I'm glad it's going to smoothly overall.
    Best of luck.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Geez....can they just give you a wish list and then you sort thru it the best you can- still using the "kids come first, then grandkids, etc" approach?

    I don't want to be a pack-rat either but I hate going thru boxes and stuff. And some of it, I just can't seem to part with. Like difficult child's first little black and white plaid shorts with suspenders and his baby shoes and first pacifier. Now what I expect to do with those, I haven't decided yet. LOL!
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    husband's parents did this when they moved from PA to TX about 8 years ago. They had lived in their home about 50 years and accumlated a sizeable pile of junk. husband flew back to help them sort, toss and box up stuff. Took them about a week to get through it all, but I think it was a smart move.

    My mom's dying to do this now, but my dad won't part with ANYTHING. He has issues, what can I say? But his health is so lousy now and she's starting to come to terms with that (even if he won't), so I think she's realizing that it won't be much longer before she'll be able to cull through the years of stuff that needs to just go.

    We're a long way off from downsizing our house, but I've been trying to unload stuff for the past few years and I am DETERMINED to make a meaningful dent this year. Toys, clothes, etc. Lots of stuff that just needs to GO. And I refuse to do a garage sale. Hate them. It's all going to Goodwill or Salvation Army.
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Who knew china and silverware could cause such trouble? There was a dispute in my family over the distribution of china--and now whenever we bring a dish to a family gathering, we have to make sure that it is NOT on the disputed china. Arguments would start--pieces would get "misplaced". Relatives were actually stealing plates and platters from one another one piece at a time!!

    I don't envy you this task. Hope it goes smoothly and that when it's over--it's OVER!!

  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    My Mom was an only child, and so am I. When Grandma and Grandpa passed, she and my Dad had to go thru everything. And I do mean everything. So she's started already. She'll pick a room every couple of months, then ask me if there is anything in it that I will want. Then she has a roll of inventory stickers she puts on the bottom. So sometimes I get stuff now, sometimes it will be later.

    A lot of the "good" furniture, I already have. The only things left really are her dresser, her vanity, and the coffee and end tables my Grandpa made. And a rocking chair that Mom got when I was born. Otherwise I have it... When they got a new bed, they got a Sauder headboard so I wouldn't feel guilty about getting rid of it!

    Of course... I found out during the Grandparent Saga that I had two uncles, younger than Mom - one lived 4 days, the other was stillborn. Wow. No wonder that GP's were a bit nuts!
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a feeling when my dad dies things will be a bit rough. I am his only child but he has remarried and now has a wife and step kids though his step kids were grown when he remarried. Personally I think anything he had going into his marriage should be mine, especially the furniture that was in my bedroom and is now in their house but I have no idea if I will get it.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    But I didn't see where I got anything....:confused:

    Soooooo what did you get me?

    Sounds like you are handling this beautifully Daisy - I'm proud of you girl!~

  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Starbie if I find any donkeys I swear I'm sending them to YOU. :D (one never knows with mother in law lol)

    Janet my Mom had that problem when her last husband died. His kids wiped her out although they weren't to get very much at all. 3 yrs of court got back much of it.........but college funds for my kids were gone.......and alot of other stuff. Worst of it was his kids hated the man........Like vultures they waited for him to pass. My kids are hurt they didn't get their college funds. It wasn't a large amt of money....but it was a lifetime of birthday and xmas...put into a fund for them to use for college. sigh
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911

    You totally rock! I'll be waiting by the mail box. ;)

    Opens the box -

    Opens the box -

    (this could have lasting repercussions) :anxious:
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Star, honey, you are gonna wear out the hinge on that box!

    ...Speaking of lasting repercussions...
  13. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Oh, Lisa! Please don't throw away anything from the 1850's! It's part of US history, even letters. We used to go to auctions and it always broke my heart to see old letters there, in the hands of strangers.
  14. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    When my biodad dad his wife tried to prove that I was not his daughter to keep me from getting a piece of a wrongful death suit that was originally filed as a injury suit. She even sent my grandmothers obit which listed me as her daughter. I was never officially adopted and the judge in town knew the whole story (he had been the judge in my parent's divorce and in when my grandparents were granted guardianship 30 years before) and basically blasted her and her attorney for what they were doing. I didn't even care about the money, but when I got papers asking for my adoption records I was not a happy camper! She alienated the entire family and most of the town when she pulled her little stunt. Small towns, especially one where you are not a "local" and where your in-laws are well-known, are not very forgiving when you pull a stunt like that.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree. Lisa, keep photos and letters from the 1800s. Really. Important. Things.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree...I would keep anything from 1800's and early 1900s. Heck...I think stuff from the mid 1900s is important. Ok...can we say I am something of a history buff?
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Went to the mail box
    Open the box
    Back to the house.
  18. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    How many times a day do they deliver your mail? They only come see me once a day. Sigh.

    Stuff from the 1800s??? If you don't want it, call the local library or historical society... They would LOVE to have it.
  19. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I'm an only child - but I had it "easy" in that regard when my dad died for the most part.

    He was bedriddin for 6 weeks before he died, and during that time he "gave" people many of his things. His fishing buddy got his john boat. A neighbor the rototiller. Another some of his tools (but I got the circular miter saw!). I also got his pick up truck.

    We didn't have a lot of "stuff" because a good portion of it got destroyed in a tornado in 1974 (dad died in 1986). We do have pictures that other relatives had at the time (ours were in the basement and were flooded beyond hope).
  20. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Kitchen stuff is boxed up and ready to move. I did that all day today and good golly miss Nichole had best appreciate it. OMG I have never seen so many dishes/pots/bakeware/utensils in my whole life!!!! Food was dated from the 80's some of it!!!! (that went into the trash)

    Most everything is ready to move OUT of the house. :) Which will begin tomorrow.

    Starbie I am far I've not seen a single donkey. Surprises me actually as Lord knows I've seen so MUCH of everything else under the sun it's not funny. The whole family has their eye out for any type donkey among all the stuff. They now think me a bit odder than they did before. lol

    I am exhausted. In the morning yard sale stuff has to be moved from my rec room to easy child's basement. This is to make room for boxes of Stuff and furniture coming here from mother in law's. ARGH

    We are almost done. China issue appears to be resolved. China hutch issue has finally been resolved although now easy child is ready to strangle her cousin who couldn't make up her mind until right before we left tonight. But it's settled.

    None of the antique books/pictures/ letters and the like will be gotten rid of. I just made it clear that they aren't coming here. I don't know who the people are they belonged to, my kids don't there is little point. They'll go to a family member who does know and will care for them. This family doesn't throw anything away of any value.........even if it's just sentimental.