My dad is getting older, and we are selling his home. He will be moving into a small one bedroom condo.
He has a lot of expensive furniture, art etc in his home that he wants my two siblings and I to have. Because I am the only female, he wants me to take the china cabinet (he paid $15k for this because it was hand made and imported from Italy). Do people still have china cabinets in their homes? The wood doesn't match my decor and I really don't want it, but my brothers don't want it either. There is also an imported 17k table and chair set. Hundreds of old records that he thinks are valuable. He has so much stuff that I don't want or need, but his feelings will be hurt if I don't take it. When he bought much of the china, and other household stuff, he told me that he wanted me to have it all. I won't get anything for it if I put it on Craigslist. What do people do when they have to clean out their parents stuff?
My two brothers and I conducted a private garage sale for our friends.
We picked a Saturday and told as many friends as we wanted to come by and select anything they might want and there was no charge.
Have a reputable auction house look over all your valuable items, then put them up for sale. You'll have to pay the auction co. a hefty commission, but hopefully you'll get a lot more for the items than if you tri to sell them on Craigslist, or in an ad.
See if your local college library wants the records.
I'm sorry, miss, we have less tedious issues of our own.
Just keep the stuff somewhere in your homes till your dad passes. After that it won't really matter, but till then, you don't want to hurt the old guy's feelings.
Just how old is the furniture? Contact an antiques dealer or a furniture dealer. I would think furniture pieces that are worth more than 10k would have a buyer somewhere. Ebay? It's not fair for your Dad to foist this stuff on you. The records may in fact be worth some money, too.
You'll be shocked how little value all that stuff has. Unless we're talking custom-made mid-century modern stuff. Which I'm thinking we're not, right, OP?
Yes - an auction house like R2 says. I think the commission is like 25%, but it's worth it.
Have them come and get an estimate. Now, whether your dad will want those thing sold is another story. But I'm sure he'd rather now a good price was had than it was given away.
There are many things you can do. I do estate tag sales for example. Many buyers will buy all the household items you lump together. Sounds like there is potentially many valuable items. Donate to your favorite charitable thrift. or something if material things and money mean so little to you. They will even arrange pick up for what you have.
Take R2's advice, but expect R7's result. After we kids made sure we got what we wanted after mom downsized, we had an auctioneer's team take care of the rest. Be warned that it is essentially a one day rapid-fire garage sale where everything must go. If you put a reserve on anything, be prepared to take it home or put it in storage for more than it's worth. You might have better luck than we did, though.
I am shocked at your lack of knowledge. You have no idea what she has.
Find a local antique mall, rent a booth, and store it there. On the positive side, it may sell for a decent amount of money (make sure to have someone price it for you in today's market, for your region).
Been there, done it, R11.
"Hand-made, imported from Italy." I rest my case.
As I said, unless it's mid-century modern, it's value will be slight.
I think that the first consideration should be that your father's feelings not be hurt. If you can possibly afford to keep/store the stuff he wants you to have, you should do so. When he's gone, if no one in the family wants it, go ahead & sell it in whatever manner you want to do that.
I agree with 14. First consideration should be for his feelings. Wait it out and just enjoy your time with him in his final years.
You really ought to have the stuff appraised by reputable authorities. I would not, for instance, have the same people appraise the china or the furniture as I would for the records. And your father was right. I is all worth something to people who have that interest. You really ought to also get a reputable antique dealer or estate sales company come in and evaluate the stuff. If they offer you a few hundred dollars for a piece of furniture you can be sure it is worth much more and they will profit from the sale.
Is Antiques Roadshow coming to your area soon?
[quote]he wants my two siblings and I to have
He wants I to have????
I hope he has a grammar book to give you OP.
Went through this last year with my mother. My parents moved A LOT never got rid of anything, just moved it around all over the country and back. My dad loved buying furniture if it was half off. 20k for a dining room set? But it's half off! Plus all the other crap collected from 50 years of marriage. But it was good crap.
When she sold their house after dad died mom bought a condo and whatever didn't fit in the basement went to a storage unit. She then decided to sell the condo and bought a house in Palm Desert where I live. I couldn't face the idea of going back and dealing with all her stuff.
Fortunately, her realtor had a contact with people who did estate sales. They came in and organized and priced everything. My brother got the best furniture because he has a big house - I didn't have use for any of it. The estate sale saved my life. Even without the expensive pieces, we cleared over ten grand and the best part was that it was all gone.
So short story long, my advice. Have family take whatever they can use, keep the heirlooms and have someone come and do the work for you. I think they took 25% which was pretty good.
R7 is 100% spot-on r11.........please note senior citizens of a certain age ALL seem to think their furniture/art/china etc. is worth a fortune. They really went "hook, line and sinker" for midcentury advertising.
OP, go to Ebay and see if ANY of the stuff has real value. Then see if your local auction house has an "Antiques Roadshow" day every now and then for the more interesting pieces or the art.
I have spent too much time with my 92 year old Aunt's NJ home which was filled with stuff. I brought home to Brooklyn a few cool pieces of knotty pine furniture - including a 2 piece china cabinet - that ironically everybody wanted. Anyway I hired an auctioneer for an Estate Sale. He took 30% for conducting the 2 day sale. We received about $4,500. Here is the most annoying part - do you know what did not sell?
The 2 China Closets including one huge breakfront. They remain in the house with a dresser and 3 desks.
By the way, good luck getting someone to sell the stuff - I literally could not find ANYONE to hire for the sale. They came in, walked around and said where is the sterling silver and the diamond jewelry. I said we have both, and they backed out almost instantly.
Oh yes, and as of last week - 6 months after the sale, nobody wanted the china cabinets, even for free.
So good luck.
That would be fine with me. I have made a good living on the cast offs of arrogant assholes like you.
What r5 says. Is it really such a big deal to show kindness to your father? It will make you a better person if you can do it, and do it without being a creep about it.
Mix r5 with r7 for the best answer.
My sister made such a big deal about our late mother's large collections of bone china and two pianos. In the end none of it was worth much.
Hang on to as much as you can for as long as you can. Let the nostalgia and sentimentality of other relatives grab hold. Then give it all to them.
There is little demand for breakfronts and china cabinets.... now back in the 70's, all the depression glass collectors were them up. Not now. I shop a consignment shop that reduces things every week by 10%. Many times tables and chairs sell and the china cabinet is down to just 25 or 35 dollars. I have purchased several of the Thomasville ones just because they were beautiful. I put one in a large master bath and use it to hold towels and toiletries. The folded towels look great behind glass. I painted a mahogany one white outside and blue inside and use it as a bookcase (yes it was African mahogany with crotch inlays, but no one wanted it for $50, so I did not destroy the value by painting it. They can be built into a closet to display scarves and accessories behind the glass doors and the base drawers provide extra storage. It is great to repurpose them, but people do not have "good" china anymore and they are out of fashion. Repurposing entertainment units in this day of flat screens is another good thing to use in your closet. Entertainment armoires are usually so poorly made they are best built in and around in a closet.
Oh God R25 - pianos?
Had a kind woman not come at the last minute and bought my Aunt's old piano for $300 it would have been still in the house - which has a reverse mortgage on it, making my life essentially hell with very little financial upside.
Wow R7 Still doing mid-century modern? Bet you're the trendiest dowager in Palm Springs!
One sells the stuff and spends the proceeds on remedial grammar. "He wants my two brothers and I to have" it?
When I unloaded my parents' stuff (please note the use and placement of the apostrophe, OP), I called Sotheby's and netted just over $1 million for the things that I didn't want to keep. That would buy you a lot of apostrophes.
Christ on a cracker, r29. I thought we did good netting ten grand on my parents stuff. Over a million for you? That's pretty good for the stuff you didn't want to keep.
And BTW, the million hasn't kept you from being an insufferable asshole.
I inherited my grandmother and my mother's estates. I ended up giving most of it to charity. And it was excellent stuff. No one wanted to come and appraise it. A few antique stores said they might take the furniture but I would have to bring it to them to look at. I would have to hire a mover to bring everything there and what ever they didn't want back home. I still have loads of exquisite crystal but no one buys that anymore. I'm giving it to charity
The tax deduction you get for giving it to charity can be more than trying to sell it (depending on your tax bracket). Just be sure to get it officially appraised by a qualified appraiser in writing to show the IRS, they have strict rules on it.
"it was African mahogany with crotch inlays"
I have the most exotic boner right now.
Whatever you do DO NOT call one of those places where you have to pay them to take away the items.
An elderly resident at my co-op did that when she moved permanently to California, it was a shame because she had some truly wonderful and expensive items gathered from her years living in different countries.
Unfortunately, most of the residents weren't in the market for her particular decor and accessories. I did by a lot of items, but only one piece of furniture.
Do your research, as many of the knowledgeable posters have said here.
If you have enough time, your best bet for the LPs is eBay. A vintage record shop won't give you much because they need to make a profit.
A close friend sells vintage vinyl on eBay, he can get anything from $100 up to $300 per LP, if it's rare and in Mint condition, LPs do well. Does he have rare LPs like the Beatles Butcher cover? Then we are talking major $$$. You don't need to photograph the LPs, just the coves. You will need to listen to each one and state any problems.
If the records are badly scratched, you can still try to sell them on eBay, because many LP collectors are looking to replace their original LP covers. LPs can be shipped via Media Mail, the postage will be low.
You would not believe what people buy on eBay and what they are willing to pay! I once saw an empty damaged Barbie doll box from the early 1960s sell for $600! Yes, just the box!
Be prepared, selling the contents of a home or large apartment takes time. If you don't have time and don't need the money, you can simply donate the items. Good Luck!
[quote] I called Sotheby's and netted just over $1 million for the things that I didn't want to keep. That would buy you a lot of apostrophes.
True story: my in-laws have this really ugly Russian tea set. It's not imperial or anything. Their daughter, a greedy, grasping cheapskate, decided it was hers to sell, even though her parents are still alive. She wanted her crooked, cigarette-stained teeth replaced and the tea set sale was going to get that done for her.
She got in touch with Sotheby's who said they would put it in their catalog, but it had to be photographed by a Sotheby's photographer for a few hundred bucks. "Oh no," says sister-in-law, "I am a photographer (she took a six month course in the 1970s) and will photograph them myself."
"You can certainly photograph anything you like, but not for our catalog," said Sotheby's. As IF Sotheby's was going to let someone fudge the photos and disguise any flaws with lighting.
So she refused to put it in their catalog. Of course, she never sold it. She thought it was worth thousands but wouldn't spend a few hundreds to get III in the Sotheby's catalog.
My partner just auctioned off fancy furniture at some place in NYC for like 35k.
reply 14 has it right- find a way to store or use temporarily the stuff- until your dad's time comes , he no longer cares or maybe a younger generation grows up and needs furniture. Or let close family/friends pick something to remember your folks. I was left an old grand piano. Yes was interesting but my place was small and I lived 3 thousand miles away. I donated it to a charity to use in a silent auction
r7 et al have no idea of the value of your father's stuff. For now, put it into storage. When the time is right, have someone appraise it.
Or have it appraised now but if it's not too expensive, store it. No reason to hurt your dad's feelings, as it sounds like he cares for you and your siblings.
If he could afford to spend that much on furniture and is selling a large house, just help him find a place to store it all.
At least wait until he's dead to start selling his shit.
[quote] yes it was African mahogany with crotch inlays
you can't go wrong with an African mahogany crotch.
Yeah right R35, listening to, scanning the covers and listed every LP on eBay is for the experts. Take it to a vinyl shop, they give you a good price for the whole thing. Maybe you want to flip through it all, just to have a glance but extracting full market value from that collection would not be a job for the faint hearted.
That said, maybe you should buy a turntable and really get to know your father by listening to his record collection. You might really enjoy that when he's passed away.
But definitely do not DUMP the vinyl. Find a home for it by whatever means. You might meet some interesting people in the process.
I also think all this advice to grin and bear it while your father is alive is very wrong headed.
Your father is moving. Everybody has to deal with their belongings when they move. It's not going to crush him that you can't take all of his things. Just say you have your own thinks and limited space and that it will cost you too much money to store them. Include him in the process. There's no reason why a person has to die thinking they possessed the world's most valuable items - that's you, his family. Show real appreciation for the items you do keep and otherwise be honest. The way you all think you have to deceive your family is appalling - talk about mid-century furniture, where do you people get these attitudes?
When people are in the final stage of their life they want to be included, they don't want to be lied to. They want to know what's going on. And if your father is usig his eminemt death to manipulate you, tell him to knock it off. He's had his life and now you're having yours. Nobody dies in peace when they've been lied to and deceived and you'll just feel tremendous guilt that you lied to him and didn't use this time more wisely. Life isn't about THINGS.
If you wait to get rid of his things until he does you're going to be spending his last days...waiting for him to die so you can get rid of his things. And then when you should be mourning him, and it might impact you hard, you're still going to stuck with the business of getting rid of all his things. Sounds like a nightmare.
Life is about staying in the moment. Don't derail your life because of some guilt your father has impressed upon him. It will help him to move on too. When he comes to visit, he is visiting YOUR house not a museum filled with all your belongings. Everybody dies, this isn't a special occassion. Do it right including what you need to do for yourself. You have a life too, y'know.
r43 's advice sounds like it's coming from someone with no life or relational experience.
Sociopath @ r43!
I'm currently helping my aging parents downsize and R43 speaks the truth. Make the disposal process interactive and in the process you'll be establishing boundaries with your loved one which you'll appreciate later. And anyone saying just hold onto his things until he's gone isn't taking into account how long seniors are living these days. You could be stuck with these items for 25 years.
r43 "Eminent" death? Has the Queen passed away?
Great post, R43.
This is the problem with "heirlooms." People are too lacking in self awareness to realize that not everyone has their taste or will be grasping for their hand-me-down junk.
The DLers who love antiques should read this thread. They're always shrieking about craftsmanship, value and history. But the fact is, eventually there will be someone in the family who's burdened with the task of getting rid of all that crap because NO ONE wants it.
Have an estate sale
I hope he has a samurai sword to eviscerate R18 and a sledgehammer for bludgeoning R30
Contact someone estate sales or tag sales. The will advertise locally and have an open house for people the come buy all dads crap. They will charge a fee or a percentage. It's easy for you because they will organize it and you yourself will not have towery about removing the furniture. You can be present or not at the sale. It usually happens on the weekend, sat and sun.
Actually R44, I have plenty experience and I am not romanticising it. When you're an adult you should treat your parents like adults and not play the child all of their lives. You'll have a much better relationship with them. Alleviate them of the burden of parenting you.
What a completely nonsensical derailment, r53. As if being kind to a dying parent is somehow a childish thing to do and a "burden" to them. You sound nuts.
Find a local auction house, preferably one in business for many years, and one which host BOTH regular weekly or monthly sales AND the occasional "fine arts and antiques" catalogue sale.
Straightaway, this isn't Sotheby's or Christie's quality stuff (where the minimum estimated value per item is $5000). A local auction house will be very frank in telling you what, if anything, may have some particular value. They can give you a ballpark estimate for the whole affair, and it's not in their interests to overstate or understate the value -- they make a commission twice, once from you as consignor, and a second time from the buyer. When they succeed, you succeed. However, if it will cost more to have the stuff hauled to the auction house than it will bring when sold, they'll tell you that as well, and they can advise on local ways of disposing of things: estate sale agents, dealers who buy house lots of stuff, consignment shops, and charity shops who will send someone to collect the stuff and where you can take a tax deduction. This last resort is often the best resort.
Among the things that are very difficult to sell just now are: china cabinets and sets of china.
Accidentally place the heavy Italian furniture on his oxygen line. Problem solved.
Take the china closet. Use the bottom half for storing the china, and the top half for books and DVDs. That way you don't hurt his feelings, and the top part is still functional.
1. Your customers are broke 60+ buyers or treasure hunters who have to double their money in order to make it worth their time
2. Your treasure hunters low-ball, steal, and switch tags for fun and profit
3. Renting an antique booth is around $2.00 per square foot in the Midwest and involves all of #3 plus bitter, bitchy dealers who smoke Kents, wear tennis shoes, and have twelve rings on each hand.
4. While selling through a shop involves your father and brings him joy when you place cash in his hand each month, it also encourages him to buy more shit "for the shop". All in, you earn minimum wage for your efforts - which you are putting into his hands. If he's like my dad, he then forgets about the cash or throws it in the garbage by accident or tips the grocery clerk $100 or gives money to nephews he used to hate because they are "In a bind" You'd be surprised how fast word travels when your dad helps one idiot
5. Any profit made from vinyl belongs to the person digging through the shit. There are so many variables even when you find a winner.
Recommendation: find a place for Dad, stick as many restaurant-grade free-standing wire shelving units in all the closets and in his storage unit, let him pick his best -of-the-best favorites to keep, and then contact his bank's trust department and ask for their estate salesman. They usually take 1/3 and don't clean out what sells. You'll probably need a dumpster as well as a pick-up date for GoodWill.
I have a china cabinet that was my mother's. I get compliments on it from time to time. I don't have a "decor". My home is decorated with pieces I like.
Assuming you know and have retained the valuable and/or sentimental stuff, the majority of his remaining household effects have little value ... which is why my family and I chose to offer some family things to our cousins and the rest to our old childhood local friends for free.
My brothers and I all live in different states and dealing with all the commotion of an estate sale was just not wise ... so we called all our old friends in town and told them to come take what wanted, or needed, or knew who could use dad's "stuff."
As I say, everything went "somewhere." Not our concern or worry!
I agree with the other posters who echo this position.
See? I told you it's men who buy furniture "to last forever."
"I'm buying it NOW so I don't have to buy it LATER."
R54, you sound a bit inexperienced. There's a difference between actually loving somebody and sentiment. Why would it be kind to lie and deceive somebody for years and years, the last years of their life, just because you don't respect them enough to tell the truth? What, take all your parents belongings and bitch to everyone behind their back about the inconvenience while they're alive and then dump it all as soon as they're dead? That's being kind? Read the OP, again. Have you missed how miserable this is making her already?
And asserting that people who have a different opinion from yours are "crazy" and "nuts!" is just childish and narrow minded. The fact that you still can't be honest with your parents and think that's being kind shows how you still act a child around them instead of being an adult.
r62 - No, being kind is taking one piece of furniture and cherishing it for what it represents to her dad. No bitching. It's childish to think that so long as you're honest, you don't need to be considerate or treat people gently. "Honesty" is so often used to rationalize being selfish.
If the cabinet is such an eyesore among the OP's precious decor, refinish it and repurpose it as many have suggested.
[quote] Make the disposal process interactive and in the process you'll be establishing boundaries with your loved one which you'll appreciate later
Making the process interactive can be a nightmare. I tried to do that with my grandmother. She didn't want to get rid of anything. When faced with the prospect of giving things away every thing suddenly becomes very sentimental. She had a bunch of old china pieces (cheap). She started crying that she couldn't get rid of that because her children (my mother & her brother who both passed away decades before) gave those to her for her birthday when they were teenagers.
OP, if you have room to keep the stuff, keep it until your father passes away. It's better than hurting his feelings. He's probably going through a lot just moving out of his house.
I echo R55's very sound advice:
[quote]Find a local auction house, preferably one in business for many years, and one which host BOTH regular weekly or monthly sales AND the occasional "fine arts and antiques" catalogue sale.
Most people don't have a clue as to what they have and how best to dispose of any of it. The vast majority overestimate the value of their possessions because they place sentimental attachment to many of the items that often have little chance for resale.
However, occasionally, the opposite is true: folks are willing to donate or sell cheaply items that could bring more money than they expect.
So, engage a good, reputable auction house -- one that does not buy the property but rather sells it for you. (No honest appraiser should advise you on value and offer to buy the item from you.) They will be able to tell you after a walk-through if there is anything of high value or if most of it has little to no value.
Get off yer high horse, R63. I said in my original response "cherish what it is you decide to keep." I don't think there's anything wrong with keeping select items. I just think it's important to keep life moving forward. Life goes on. The world is full of people who rationalise deceit for being polite. It isn't true.
Kindness is sometimes more important than the truth.
So what have you decided OP?
R62 told Karen Carpenter she looked fat in that dress.
R70, that's just non-sensical. R62 is advocating honesty. YOU'RE the one advocating lies. You'd be the one trying to be 'kind' while telling Karen how great she looks.
You might not want it now but when your father passes away, you might change your mind and it will be too late if it has been sold.