Drowning In The Sea Of Stuff
February 2, 2008 4:58 PM Subscribe
Must get rid of a mind-boggling amount of hoarded items, including some theoretically very valuable pieces. Looking for advice on how to do so efficiently and profitably.
My mother was a shopaholic compulsive hoarder walking financial disaster. She recently had a very debilitating stroke that left her severely, permanently brain-damaged and unable to communicate. I'm left in charge of her, her Everest of debt, and her two houses (one condemned as a health hazard) in different states piled to the ceiling (literally) with STUFF... and I can't ask her what's treasure and what's trash.
I'm trying to consolidate her unsustainable crazy!mom lifestyle down to one house I can take care of her in and a reasonable, useful amount of stuff. I can't just start hauling loads to the curb... I know that many of the things she owns are Worth A Lot.
I do, however, need to get rid of it. Not just because of the clutter, but because my mother has become very destructive. She breaks things on purpose and seems to enjoy putting items in the trash. I have to go through every trash bag before I set it out, because it's always full of random objects she's put in there, like my iPod, my books, or the contents of my china cabinet (that was a fun morning). She does not need to cohabitate with grandma's sherry glasses.
For stuff like silver, china, jewelry, artwork... I guess I need to get that appraised? How does one go about finding a reputable appraiser?
Should I sell it all myself on eBay? Would hiring one of those companies that eBays things for you be worth it, considering how much stuff there is, or would their commission multiply until I'd be an idiot to lose so much money?
I've heard of "Estate Sales". Would that be more profitable than eBay, or do they charge huge fees? And would they even take me on, considering that half mom's stuff is things she had to have seven of because they were OMGONSALE!!1! at Wal*Mart?
And lastly -- does this affect tax stuff? If I sell a huge amount of things, does that start counting as income? I'm trying to get her on Social Security and disability, and I know that her income matters as to whether or not she qualifies. Is there some kind of cutoff point where I could space the sales out over a few years?
Sorry for all the questions, but I've always led a very simple financial life and all this complicated stuff is absolute Greek to me.
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.