After the Will, Find a Way

Posted on Apr 13 2012 - 2:21pm by Jessica Johnson

One of my dear friends and neighbors recently brought home a truckload of inherited stuff. Her grandmother passed away a couple of months ago and the family had sold her home. They were hoping to either donate or throw away most of her furniture, but my friend couldn’t imagine all of her grandmother’s treasures being tossed away. Instead, she filled a small moving truck and brought it all into her own garage.

A few days ago she came over to my house and in so many words asked me, “Now what?” All of this treasured stuff wasn’t filling a dump, but it was cramping her family’s style.

Naturally, I suggested she get a storage unit until she was ready to make some more permanent decisions. I still think that it would be a great suggestion even if I didn’t work for the greatest self-storage company in the country. A self-storage unit gives you time and space—two things that my friend desperately needed so soon after her grandmother’s funeral.

In a few months, I am sure we will need to answer the “Now what?” question again. So, I’ve been thinking and doing a little research. What are the best ways to deal or dispose with inherited stuff?

Estate Sale or Public Auction
Sometimes it is more than you want to handle—sorting, tagging, advertising, haggling, and selling your inherited things. There are many companies who will come to your home and do it all for you. Before you do this, though, check all of the boxes, pockets, purses, sacks, et cetera for any hidden treasures belonging to your recently passed loved one.

Garage Sale
This is the ultimate do-it-yourself to get rid of a lot of items quickly. If you are selling an entire home’s worth of items, you can list it as an “Estate Sale” in your local classifieds. The value of items is always less when selling at a garage sale, but it is quite satisfying to sell the no longer-needed pieces to people who are just starting out and will appreciate your inherited furniture.

Take Pictures
This one may seem a little odd, but sometimes the sentimentality is in the remembering of an item and not in the item itself. Take pictures of all of the items you have been willed or inherited. Load them onto your computer and give it a couple of weeks before you review them entirely. Write summaries or memories for each of the loved or sentimental items. Then consider donating the items—the pictures may be all you really need.

You may have inherited an entire collection of tea towels that is taking up three boxes-full of space. Selling all but one (your favorite) can give you more space while maintaining a physical piece of sentimentality.

Perhaps you don’t have the space for all of the extra items, but someone else in your family or neighborhood could use them. Nothing can be too precious if you lend it, though. It might free up some space, but if you would be disappointed to see it marked, broken, or worn, don’t lend it.

Do you have any suggestions for what my friend can do with all of her grandmother’s inherited stuff? What have you done that has helped you with willed items?