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Throw that junk out!


Senior Member
We just returned from my 85-year-old SIL's home. She is moving to independent living, and her daughter is stuck with all the work. Things like all the receipts and photos from about 100+ trips and cruises, lots of knick-knacks, and so many things absolutely no one wants. We took very little.

My DH and I had to do this for both our parents and resolved to not stick our children with the burden. We got rid of about half our belongings and donated almost everything to charity.

I would suggest if you haven't moved for a while, pretend you are severely downsizing and get rid of 1/3 to 1/2 of the stuff you own. Your kids will thank you and your house will be so much easier to live in and clean.


Senior Member
Yes, I've been trying to do this because I don't want to leave it for my son, and I don't like clutter!


Senior Member
Great advice! I have been getting rid of "stuff" and my closet is a lot emptier. Just yesterday I posted a big bag of new and gently used socks on Buy Nothing, and it was gone before the end of the day. I'm now going through kitchen drawers, and will post more on Buy Nothing.

We are working on downsizing our stuff. It's hard!!
I agree. I'm doing a little at the time.

My cousin had to clean out and sell his parents' home. They were true hoarders, and when it became obvious that they could no longer live alone in their house, he had to move them to an assisted living facility near him. In order to pay for their care he had to sell the house, but in order to sell the house he had to clean it out. Talking about being hard. There was no way he could do so by himself and he had to hire a company that specializes in biohazard and hoarding cleanup. Lucky for him, the house sold immediately after it was emptied because it was in a highly desirable area. The new owners bulldozed the place and put up a mansion.


Senior Member
We had to clean out my grandmother’s house and both of our parents’ houses. It was not fun. We moved in August and thought we got rid of a lot. We did, but I have clothes I can get rid of and probably three bins of household items I can donate.
Our boys did not want much. Next is the Christmas items I brought to the new house. I’m sure I’ll be donating many of those items also.
I advised my close friends to start getting rid of things now.


Senior Member
I’m in the process of going through things and have taken several boxes to charity. It feels good to do both.


Senior Member
Any suggestions on how to get DH onboard with this plan? I've already apologized to my children for what they are going to have to deal with when we pass. :rolleyes:


Senior Member
I have slowly started out if necessity! This past year our upstairs had been neglected! Cancer, work, and life got in the way! Kids were coming home for Thanksgiving so I needed to get their rooms decluttered and cleaned.

DD offered to help me clean out stuff in the bonus room! Oh my! I did very well. It wasn’t easy, but I got rid of more than I thought I would! DD did well too! She let go of some things I thought she’d want “hang onto” but leaves my house! 😂

Tons more to do, but I feel a bit motivated!!


Senior Member
Yes. Like others, my brother and I had to clean out my parents house. A big old Victorian in SF. When the house sold, I was determined to downsize. When I first retired, I spent the entire year cleaning out things from the attic to the garage.

And I’m doing it again with more ruthlessness.

My DDs have already told me a lot of what they want.


Senior Member
I did a big clean out three years ago when my husband passed away. It is time to do it again. This time I can focus on my junk.


Senior Member
We cleaned out DH’s parents’ house two and a half years ago. His mom is a hoarder and had a full basement full of junk.All of the closets in the main part of the house were stuffed completely full. It took all four siblings and spouses to clean the house out. MIL came to live with us, and I’m being really strict about what she’s allowed to buy and bring into our house. It’s a daily struggle.


Senior Member
So I don't own a truck so it makes it really hard to get rid of stuff. Also our dump fees are astronomical up in the mountains . As of this month they charge pine needles per bag and if you have between 20-30 bags it get really expensive. Plus they won't pick up from the property so you are stuck hiring individuals no matter what.

PoorBear and Dutchgirl The only advice I can give you is show your husbands 3 different estimates how much it will cost your children to
1) clean out the house
2) move the stuff . . .transportation costs, multiple traveling costs to clean your house out,, truck rentals
3) find storage for

We have all been there. When my godparents passed away around 2010 their 4 children had to fly out to clean the house ( homestead Sherman Oaks CA in 1948) 2 times each with their husbands . That would be 8 plane tickets. And when they thought they were "almost done," they hired out the rest which cost them 8,000 more.

Another good idea would be to volunteer your husbands when the next relative passes away and give them first hand knowledge of what they will leave behind.

Cat woman

Senior Member
I am really good at decluttering and organizing,but like some others that have posted here, DH is reluctant. His closet, as well as a few other closets in the house, are jammed with clothes he no longer needs or wears. I try to stress to him that he only needs so many yard work pants and shirts, but he laments about how good they still are. When we had to empty the bottom area of his closet to get new flooring I suggested it was the perfect purge time so we wouldn’t be hauling things out and moving them back in, but he just gets overwhelmed. Ughhhh!

I will say I was overjoyed when I came home from errands one day and he was shredding some old papers from one of his files—- only 20 more to go LOL LOL


Senior Member
I'm in that process now. I helped my mom downsize but MIL really didn't deal with her stuff. DH didn't want to deal with her stuff after she died. Nor did he want to deal with his own stuff here. I realized a few years ago, he held on to things for emotional reasons because there was an attachment to someone. Other items were still good and might be used some day. Well that day never came. This was going to be my retirement project--so I'm pitching and donating but boy it sure is emotionally hard when it's things that belonged to someone you loved. Old magazines, books, etc. are easy because I'm claiming shelving space. Other items are tough but it's gotta be done.

My daughter thanks me often.


Senior Member
After cleaning out my parents house and downsizing to a house half the size, I am a believer in not keeping stuff. We kept about 10 percent of our stuff when we moved because our little house was furnished. I do miss things once in a while but we don't have kids to clean up when we're gone.


Senior Member
We did downsizing of our own a year ago this past July. Our DD had been asking us to move in with her family. We aren't feeble, but there were things that were getting more difficult, i.e. laundry room downstairs -- that kind of thing.

The cutting back in all honesty was rather brutal. We were eliminating things so we could move into a bedroom, although some things were combined into DD's home. We made sure the girls picked out anything at all that they wanted.

I still find every once in a while something that I'd had that is gone, and I miss it. Tonight it was a very old book of devotions (The Stream in the Desert). I miss so many of my other books and the really cool things from my sewing room. It's all good, though.

I do want to encourage you all who are wanting to downsize. Even if you aren't moving to a smaller place, fewer "things" will make a good difference for you.


Senior Member
I cleaned out my parents home of 50 years. Every drawer, cupboard, and closet. Not only was it tons of work but doing it alone was heartbreaking. I’m determined that my sons won’t face a similar situation.


Senior Member
Every time I spend time at my in-laws I come home and clean something out. The thought of what has to be done in their home is anxiety producing. I’m not leaving that burden for my children. They have such an attachment to their stuff, even a broken glass ornament.m