One of the most difficult jobs family members face when emptying out
their aging loved one(s) house is how to get rid of all the “stuff”.
This is especially difficult for family members who live at a distance
and have to sort through a life time of belongings in a week or two of
vacation time. If this is an issue you\’re facing, here are some
suggestions to make it easier.

Get An Appraisal: If you\’re afraid of getting rid of anything because
it could be worth a million dollars, you may have the “Antiques
Roadshow™ syndrome! Therefore, the first action you\’ll want to take is
to get an appraisal. For appraisers in your area, check out the
American Society of Appraisers ( and the
Appraisers Association of America (

Tag Sale: You may want to try selling the stuff and a tag sale is one
way to do it. Unfortunately, that\’s not always an option – especially
in a city. You might also see if a consignment shop will take anything
or you may want to try selling on-line. If you decide to give any of
these options a try, while researching this article, I found a great
website called “EHow” ( that has all kinds of
useful information to get you started. For example, for how to get rid
of what you don\’t want, go to; how to sell stuff
(; and how to plan a garage sale

Sell The Whole Lot: Some companies will buy whole “lots” of specific
items such as books and silver and an appraiser may be able to make a
referral. There\’s also a company called 1-(800) GOT-JUNK that will buy
everything – the whole lot. For more information, you can call them at
1-(800) GOT-JUNK or go to

Donate it: When we were Moving my mother, we were more than willing to
give the stuff away to a religious or civic organization, library,
senior center, school etc, as long as they would come and get it right
away. Unfortunately, many organizations don\’t pick up, don\’t have the
space to store things until they have a rummage sale, and most
charities are very specific about what items they want. There are
literally millions of charity websites but for a list of charities and
what they will take, whether they will pick up, etc., go to JustGive

Get Professional Help: If you can\’t be there to help with the sort, or
you don\’t have the time to arrange the distribution, many professional
organizers can handle it for you. For a list of professional organizers
in your area, go to the National Association of Professional Organizers

Start Now: Remember. . . the more you can do now, the less pressure there is – and the less there is to do later!

Barbara Friesner is the country's leading Generational Coach and an expert on issues affecting Seniors and their families. She has been interviewed for Advising Boomers magazine, featured on NY1 TV's Focus on Seniors and Coping with Caregiving on wsRadio. She has also been quoted in newspapers and magazines across the country and her articles have been published in the CAPSule, the Children of Aging Parent's newsletter.