Friday, October 27, 2017

In which I realize I should have been greedier about Sly and Doris' estate because there actually were some worthwhile, expensive things, but I didn't want Their Stuff in My House

Have you guys read this story about Swedish Death Cleaning?

Lord have mercy I cannot believe how many people defend those who leave their estates (I use the word "estate" loosely, as in, "All the crap you leave behind when you die that someone else has to clean up") in total disarray.

The only conclusion I can draw is that those people either

1. Have never had to clean up a messy estate after someone has died (my mother's house will take time, but everything is organized and labeled and I am on her safe-deposit box and her accounts and she has all of her financial records in order, so there will be No Drama) or

2. Are planning to leave a huge mess for their children AND THEY DON'T CARE.

Sly and Doris were not even serious hoarders - they were like the Brownies of hoarders, or maybe the Cub Scouts. They never reached Eagle Scout Hoarder status.

But even with their not so awful level of hoarding, it was a pain in the neck for Primo to clean out their house. He couldn't find their financial records, he didn't know if they had a safe deposit box (they had made a list referencing one), and he was worried about throwing away something important, which was not an impossibility as they had, in just one desk drawer, tax receipts for the past eight years, Medicare EOBs, and the letters I had written them.

I don't think they were keeping the letters for sentimental reasons.

I think they were just too lazy to throw them away.

Did I mention that there was not one single photo of me in that entire house?

Honestly. The energy I expended - at the beginning - trying to get them to accept me. It was never going to happen. Never. I am so glad that I realized that and stopped beating myself up.

Anyhow. Primo would call me every night when he was there and ask if I wanted this thing or that thing.

Nope. I did not want his parents stuff.

1. It would remind me of his parents.
2. Their stuff was not high quality.


He tried to talk me into keeping the Pyrex and the Corning Ware.

I might have considered it - might have - if it had not been avocado green. And if we had needed more storage.

But I said no.

What I did not consider was that we could have sold it and made a ton of money.

See that photo at the top?

Those bowls - my mom has one of those yellow bowls on the bottom and that is the only thing of hers I want when she dies, not because it is worth money but because I have so many happy memories of making cookies with her using that bowl - cost NINETY FIVE DOLLARS for the set!

And this was at a thrift shop in a tiny, no stoplight town near Lake Superior!

Dang. Ted and Ted'sWife were demanding the wrong memento. They should have stopped whining about Doris' bracelet - the one that turned out to be costume jewelry - and asked for all the Pyrex.

I blew it.


  1. Remember, it's only worth $95 if someone is willing to pay that! I ended up giving away my mother's china. She never liked it (MIL chose it); i never liked it; my SIL didn't like it and neither did the two nieces; the thrift store would not take it; so i finally put it on Craig's List for free and then only got one call! You could have had a lot of work to get rid of it.

  2. No pic again. Is it just me? Maybe I have been bad.

  3. Remember when I told you to take the silver and sell it, yes'm money in the bank. Even if you melted the stuff.

  4. The best $2600 I ever spent was on some guys and a truck, to haul everything left in my dad's apartment to the dump. (It took 3 trips.) I first spent a couple of weeks excavating through everything for the papers I needed, I took home a few mementos, like boxes of slides and his Air Force discharge papers and medals, I gave away most of the booze, and the rest was trash. I tried to sell some of his furniture, but no one wanted it. An estate sale person came to look, and the one piece that he was interested in turned out to be missing a leg when we finally cleared a path to it to remove it, which means it was *maybe* worth it's weight in kindling. (I didn't have my own "estate sale" because 1) I had zero interest in sitting there exchanging his stuff for quarters and singles when I probably couldn't even give much of it away, mostly because 2) his apartment was a third-floor walk-up.

    I couldn't even look through every box, but I figured that I had everything I needed, and if I didn't, well, sometimes homes and apartments burn down/up/sideways, and it's not like banks suddenly get to keep your assets or companies get to pretend that contracts didn't exist. And as for stuff, I can't miss stuff that I never knew he had.

    For anyone else who needs to do this: Staples will shred documents by the pound. I dropped off a few large boxes during that time. The other option I seriously considered was those storage pods, and having everything packed up and shipped to me 3 states away...where I'd still have to sift through every box and envelope he hoarded. No thank you.

  5. Thanks for fixing the pic.

    Those are pretty bowls. I have a set of my mother's stainless steel mixing bowls. That's about all she had that I wanted.

  6. i have those bowls. I have them because my sister didn’t want them, because I learned to cook in them, and because everything a real person would make - meatloaf, cake batter, fried chicken, biscuit dough, marinaded roasts, frosting, cookie dough - is faster and better and has je ne sais quoi.

    I believe they were designed by engineers to Do A Job: each slope, each slant, each diameter, each depth, makes the job easier. They are my bowls now, and I hope my children will fight over them like crazy when I’m gone, so that I will know they remember and appreciate...

  7. My FIL is a legit hoarder. He has a 3000 sq ft house, plus three sheds that are used only to hold his hoard (he lives a few streets away with wife 2. Wife 1 left partly because of the hoard). There's no logic to the hoard. Last time we were there, the deed to the house was in a folder on top of a stack of old TVs (they still work! and people just throw them away! Well, yeah, because you have to pay people to haul away those old big box tvs now).