In the year that it has taken to empty and sell the house we grew up in, many memories have resurfaced. Yesterday was no exception. Standing at the top of the stairs, looking down, I replayed all those early Christmas mornings. Every year we would line up, my oldest brother John out front. With the spotlight blinding us and my father’s 8 mm camera rolling, we would tramp down the stairs into the living room and start tearing open gifts. Another family tradition had been observed and recorded, another memory etched in my brain.
After my father died last April, my brothers, sisters and I became joint owners of the big old house and all its contents. Although it was a bit overwhelming at first there were a few books that helped to simplify the process of settling his estate. If one day you happen to be named as an executor I suggest The Executor’s Guidebook . It will advise you on how to navigate through potential legal and administrative pitfalls.
When I found myself staring at mountains of papers, broken toasters and closets packed to the brim, the book Moving On–A Practical Guide to Downsizing gave me ideas on how to organize the chaos.
And if you get bogged down by too many tchotchkes take a look at Sell, Keep or Toss? The author, Harry Rinker explains what is collectible and what is not. Happily, you may uncover a few valuable collections. If you do, there are specific price guides like the Official Blackbook Price Guide to United States Coins and the Official Blackbook Price Guide to United States Postage Stamps that will help you determine value. For more in-depth research on other types of collectibles or antiques just call or visit the Art Room.
In the end, even after the last, chipped “I love dad” mug is packed away your memories remain pretty indestructible. Good luck.