Sunday, July 18, 2010

It All Amounts To ...Not Much

I just completed two long, hot, tiring days of an Estate Sale. I am talking 90+ degrees baking sun, with my Uncle, a couple of Cousins, Husband, and a couple of friends. My Husband & Cousin's Husband joined us day two, so day one, I was the "most able-body", (My Uncle & friend, both had multiple heart surgeries, knee surgeries, as well as other health issues, oh, and they are up there in the sixties & seventies also). One Cousin is a scrappy, tiny, seventy-six year woman who certainly can pull her weight... but she weighs maybe 90? The other Cousin is 13 years younger than I, but ridden with health issues, and unable to lift things). So, I got a work out. Very thankful day two Sergio & Bradley's muscles were at hand!

To take a couple's household of 50th years, and reduce it to an "Estate Sale", is heart wrenching. Sure, several items were already "inherited" out and some stuff was thrown away, but think about the contents of your home.... then imagine it lining up your drive way and garage being sold pennies for the dollar.

My Aunt & Uncle hoarded alot of stuff. They recorded EVERYTHING and had these records on hand, just in case ever needed. My Aunt kept every card, letter and notes. Her postie notes from her office job, graduation & wedding announcements, even from friends granddaughters and sons. My Uncle had paperwork, notes and receipts for just about everything in the home and then some. We found their dog Sam's little sweaters and leases ( Sam died about thirty years ago when they lived in another state).

My Aunt & Uncled bought the higher quality stuff, paid big bucks, but it lasted forever. To sell a $1000 treadmill for $30, a $2000 bedroom suite for $200, and a $300 painting for $20 is crazy, but what else can you do? The economy is bad, ebay & Craigslist is time consuming and no guarantees (let along we had hundreds of items). We were forced to take what we could so that money could go toward my Aunts care, as well as empty the home so it could get on the market. Some of the things are truly treasures and difficult to see go for next to nothing. Some didn't find new homes. Goodwill will hopefully find homes for these items. Some items made their way to our trunks as we just could not throw away. I couldn't watch this hair dryer go to the trash. It was a little beauty I had to keep. My Bestie, Sheri used these forever. I am hoping she will give it a good home. I worked hard at getting the best prices for their things. I am grateful that my Cousins, the Daughters, were not here to watch this transpire. It was heart breaking enough for us, I can only imagine watching people take the pieces of my parents life little by little.
On a happier note, It was lovely to see, particularly young families, excited about getting the deals. To see people happy about their finds. I would like to think that this stuff will continue to get good use.
The house has been updated, and is just about ready to go on the market. It's tough. The whole process has been difficult. It is an eye opener. Makes me want to "be prepared". I don't want my daughters to be in a position to have to go through all of this ordeal.
It is really an strange feeling. To see that a lifetime of a person's "stuff" amounts to not much at all in the end. I guess, the important lesson here was, enjoy what you have and make the best of it. Get rid of what you don't need or use. Pass things on to your loved ones while you still have the chance... or they just might end up in the wrong hand.


dopenbri said...

Janis, I know so much of what you're talking about. My husband mother died Sept. of last year we have gone through a lot of things too. We had to sale her house and things, but the grandkids got to use a lot of things for their new home and apartments. I sure she would have be happy to see all the people she helped with her things being passed down in the family. If anyone knows how you feel it's me. It makes you think a lot about your life and things because you don't want it to be hard on your kids.

Ziongirl said...

It is a tough task to sort through your loved ones belongings after they have passed. I remember my G'ma Opal had hundreds of empty cottage cheese containers and hundreds of empty breadsacks.... (my dad use to take his lunch to school in breadsacks). She even had the top to my wedding cake from 1977. Tee Hee!!!! I do really love the photo of the hair dryer...pretty sure at one time I owned one to go with the juice can rollers. I try to live each day to it's fullest!! as tomorrow may never come... Hugs!!

Erin Wallace said...

My great uncle Sonny was a hoarder (died last month) and he has a huge cattle barn full to the rafters of everything. My aunt Sue is overwhelmed by even looking into the barn. And then theres the basement, the garage, the rest of the house. I think they are going to have to have an estate agent come in and do just what you've done. So I know it can be difficult and I'm sorry that you were the able bodies (ie. leader and busiest) one. Hang in there, my beach is always open!

xo Erin

Lori ann said...

Oh dear, this is hard. Unfortunatly it happens all the time. Hopefully you'll be more prepared and this will be a good lesson for you and your husband re your girls. It is so sad, but your words are wise,and in the end it is all just stuff.
Now go treat yourself to a massage!

janis said...

I think hoarding may have been the wrong word. They had alot of stuff, neatly & organized in its place. However a 4 bdrm home w/ basement can hold alot of stuff. I think the less storage room we have the less likely we will hang on to stuff.
Downsizing is a GOOD thing. :)