As I mentioned in my post about my siblings’ visit, my brother brought me some boxes of things from my father’s house. My plan is to sell the items for money to help support dad. However, I am finding the whole process very frustrating.
It takes so much time to go to the various shops to try to sell dad’s items, and each dealer is only interested in one or two items. I decided that while I am trying to empty dad’s house, I should get rid of a lot of my own stuff. I pulled out some items that I had saved and moved over many years. I also had boxes of old newspapers and magazines that I kept for historical memory. I had newspapers from the lunar landing in 1969 and magazines from the same period. And I had a Life magazine from 1940 and many others. I decided to comb through those and get rid of what I am willing to part with.
It dawned on me that I had been saving these things to show my grandkids but they aren’t often here, and when they are we rarely have one on one time. Generally when they visit it is for a holiday or special occasion — the house is full of family and we don’t have time to look at things that I think might interest them. Many of my grandkids live too far away to visit just for an afternoon or even a weekend. Instead I will send them the things that might interest them and let them read them, keep them or toss them.
One morning last week I pulled out a lot of the newspapers and most of the magazines and set them aside to share or discard. Some I will send to my kids — such as magazines and newspapers from the year that they were born. I also had saved magazines and news articles from the lunar landing and I will send those to the grandsons who are interested in the space program. I set aside a magazine about the Statue of Liberty for my youngest granddaughter I thought she would be interested in that.
The other day, an “antique guy” who has a local store and buys items or preferably whole estates, came over and looked at the pictures, fancy cut glass, candy dish, etc. I also had out some of my own stuff like my political pins, collectables, some dolls, etc. Again, there was little interest in most of the things that I had. He did buy one old board game from the ‘60’s that was from my closet of “stuff” and one small thing from dad’s box of treasures. Together he paid $25 so I don’t know how it splits.
Now I am trying to determine the value of the things that I have. Is it worth my time to go from store to store to sell items that bring in only $10 to $25? I am especially interested in the value of certain things such as paintings and glassware since my uncle told mom they were valuable and not to just give them away to charity. I haven’t found anything about the artists on Google, etc. What did they do before the Internet? Are there certain art books?
While I was going through this process, I read some posts by “the Estate Lady”. She has practical advice about settling an estate and disposing of the property. Her post about “Limited Edition” prints was interesting too. My “paintings” might be prints, though I don’t know for sure as they are not numbered like prints. They are signed by the artist’s name and date “-51” which I presume is 1951 since the clothing depicted looks fairly recent in design.
I took some books from the library to help me determine values, but I am not sure how much further I want to pursue this. If the items have little value, perhaps I should just give them to family, keep just a couple of things for myself and the rest to charity. I am tempted to keep too much and I know I don’t have room for them.
Instead of having my brother bring me any more things from that house, I will probably wait until he vacates and get someone in to make an offer on everything and help me empty the house. So far my brother has been unwilling to let anyone in because he is afraid somehow they will take his things. I believe it is also because he is a hoarder and doesn’t want anyone going through his things.
In the meantime, I will focus on disposing of the articles I have here for now. And I will continue to try to push myself to go through my own boxes of things I rarely use and give away what I can. Ever since mom died, I have become much more aware of how much stuff we accumulate over a lifetime and how difficult it is for the heirs to dispose of it. I hope I can use this experience to reduce the work I leave for my children!