What to Do When You Inherit Your Parents’ Stuff

So you’ve just inherited all of your parents’ belongings. Now what? One of the most daunting and overwhelming tasks you’ll ever experience is sorting through your parents’ estate and all of its contents accumulated over a lifetime. Setting aside the overwhelm of all the objects you might have to organize, you certainly also have a host of emotions you’re trying to sort through in your heart and mind.

In most circumstances, adult children are thrown into handling a parent’s estate after a sudden passing. It happens much more often than most people realize, and all it takes is a sudden tragic incident before a parent passes away suddenly. Whether this is your current situation, or whether you’re attempting to plan ahead, we’re here to help you prepare for your storage and organizational needs ahead.

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In this article, we’ll go over how you can organize, sort, donate, and even auction away belongings within your parents’ estate.

Give Yourself Time to Heal Before Making Major Decisions

When you lose a parent or other close loved one, you might not be able to think straight for some time. It’s totally natural and expected that you’ll need some time to grieve and process your feelings before making any decisions about their belongings. Your first priority should be taking care of yourself and giving yourself the space to heal. Once you’re feeling ready, then you can begin the daunting task of sorting through everything.

The death of a loved one is among the most stressful events a person can experience, according to the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, also known as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS). According to mental health experts, those that have recently experienced the death of a loved one should avoid making any serious decisions for the next 6 months to a year.

Some serious decisions to avoid making include:

  • Selling a home or moving to a new home
  • Changing your job
  • Making major financial changes
  • Discarding of personal or estate belongings

During this heightened stressful time of grief, it’s not uncommon to make serious decisions quickly that you may regret later. Avoid acting on clouded, emotional judgment by giving yourself time to mourn.

Avoid Discarding Estate Belongings Too Soon

Once you’ve had some time to grieve and are feeling ready to take inventory of the estate, it’s important that you avoid discarding any belongings too soon. It can be tempting to want to get rid of everything as quickly as possible, but this might not be the best decision in the long run.

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You certainly have the option to donate, sell, or auction off many items within the estate. However, some things might hold sentimental value or could be worth a significant amount of money. If you make rash decisions early on, you might end up regretting it later.

It’s best to take your time sifting through everything before making any final decisions about what will happen to each item. This way, you can be sure that you’re making the best decision for each individual item.

Store Estate Items in a Mobile Self-Storage Container Temporarily

One of the kindest things you can do for yourself is to give yourself time and space to grieve. It’s not easy losing a parent and, on top of that, having to deal with their belongings. If you’re feeling inundated or just need some time away from everything, consider putting your inheritance into storage. This way, you  can come back to it when you’re feeling more emotionally ready and have the time to go through everything.

Storing your newly inherited estate belongings in a self-storage unit is a very affordable and convenient solution. By storing your estate items in a storage container, you can rest assured that it will be safe and secure until you’re ready to begin sorting through it all.

Benefits Of A Badger Box Mobile Storage Container

  • Pack your container at your own pace, at the location that works best for you. No need to rent a truck and make several trips back and forth to your local storage facility.
  • Our boxes are made from the highest quality steel capable of holding 10,000 lbs and 120mph wind resistant. There are 2 vents to reduce humidity build-up in the unit and a floor made of marine-grade plywood to ensure a non-slip surface for easy packing. There are 20 welded tie-down rings 3’ and 5’ from the floor so you’ll always have a way to secure your belongings.
  • Badger Box is the best value in Wilmington and Fayetteville North Carolina and surrounding areas.
  • For our deliveries, we use the Cardinal Mule box moving system to deliver a level lift and gentle placement of your containers to protect your belongings. Don’t worry, you are in good hands with Badger Box!

When You’re Ready, Take Inventory of Your Inherited Items

Before you can decide what to do with the items you’ve inherited, it’s important that you take inventory of all belongings. This will help you make better decisions about what to do with each item.

[Need to store estate belongings in Wilmington or Fayetteville, North Carolina? Contact us today.]

To get started, make a list of all the items in the inheritance. For each item, make note of its sentimental value, monetary value, and any other relevant information. This will help you to better understand what each item means to you and how much it’s worth.

Once you have a good understanding of what each item is worth to you, you can begin making decisions about what to do with it. You may decide to keep some things, auction others, or give some items to family members or a charity organization.

Whatever you decide to do with your inheritance, be sure to take your time and make the best decision for each individual item. This way, you can be sure that you’re honoring your parents in the best way possible.

Tips For Deciding What To Keep

If you’re having trouble deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, here are a few tips:

  • Start by sorting items into piles. One pile could be for items you didn’t know about, or pictures with people you don’t recognize. Another pile could be for items you did know about, but that didn’t really have any sentimental value attached. The third pile could be for items that you truly feel a connection to based on a fond memory.
  • Once you’ve sorted your items into these piles, go back to your first pile and sort through those items. If these items don’t have a sentimental value associated with them, and if you didn’t know about them before your loved one’s passing, does it make sense to keep them? Think about whether or not you actually have a functional use for the item. If not, you might consider letting it go.
  • As you move to pile two, you can repeat the above step. Perhaps you were aware of the items in this pile. Maybe there’s a lamp that you always saw sitting in your parents’ living room, but you don’t necessarily have a fond memory associated with it. If you don’t have a functional use for the items in this pile, and you can’t associate a fond memory to any of them, consider departing with these items.
  • Sorting through the third pile will likely be the most challenging for you as this pile contains many sentimental items that hold fond memories for you. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to sort through these items. Keep what is most important to you. Take pictures of items you might not want to keep, just so you can keep that memory in some way. Perhaps you can give some of these items to close family and friends.

Give Some Items To Close Family Or Friends

Once you’ve decided on the belongings you wish to keep for sentimental or practical reasons, it’s time to consider which items your family or friends might find sentimental to them. Remember that not every item or belonging your parents’ owned will be mentioned in their will, so knowing how and why to assign such items can be extremely challenging.

[Need to store estate belongings in Wilmington or Fayetteville, North Carolina? Contact us today.]

Consider reaching out to friends and family and asking if they can recall any belongings of sentimental value to them. If they can think of an item you have that you don’t want to hang on to, then you may want to offer it to them. Your friends and family will certainly be honored to have such sentimental belongings offered to them. Also, it can be easier to let go of your parents’ belongings knowing they are going to other loved ones who can make good use of them.

Have a Storage Estate Sale for Belongings You Don’t Wish to Keep

Once you’ve decided on the items you’re willing to part with, your first initial step of clearing out these items might be to try and sell them through a storage estate sale. An estate sale or estate liquidation is a sale or auction to dispose of a substantial portion of the materials owned by a person who is recently deceased or who must dispose of their personal property to facilitate a move.

These types of sales are generally handled by a company that specializes in estate liquidation. The company will come to your home and appraise the items you wish to sell. They will then take care of advertising the sale and running the sale itself. This can be a great option if you’re not interested in dealing with the hassle of having a garage sale or trying to sell things online.

If you’re already using a mobile self-storage company to store your estate like Badger Box Storage, you can have your storage containers delivered to wherever the auction is taking place, or you can simply leave these containers at your property or ours until they are sold at auction.

Benefits Of Doing An Estate Sale Auction

There are several benefits of having an estate sale auction as opposed to other types of sales, such as garage sales or online auctions.

Estate sale companies generally have a large database of potential buyers for the items being sold. This increases the chances that your items will be sold rather than sitting in storage indefinitely.

[Need to store estate belongings in Wilmington or Fayetteville, North Carolina? Contact us today.]

Auctioning off your belongings also generally results in a higher profit than other types of sales. This is because people who attend estate sales are typically looking for specific items and are willing to pay more for these items than someone who is browsing through a garage sale or online auction.

Another benefit of estate sale auctions is that they are typically over within a few days, which means you can clear out your belongings quickly and efficiently.

Consider Donating To Charity

If you’re not interested in having an estate sale or auction, another option is to donate your belongings to charity. This is a great option if you have items that are still in good condition but you don’t necessarily want to keep them.

There are many charities that will accept furniture, clothes, household items, and more. These charities typically sell these items in their own thrift stores or through online platforms. The proceeds from these sales go towards the charity’s cause.

Donating to charity is a great way to clear out your belongings while also helping those in need. It’s important to note that you can usually only deduct the value of your donated items if you itemize your taxes.

At Badger Box Storage, we fully understand the emotions, overwhelm, and stress that can go into sorting through your parents’ estate. We care about the belongings that mean the most to you, and we’re here to help you through this difficult time. If you’re looking for a mobile self-storage solution to store your estate items in Wilmington or Fayetteville, North Carolina, please reach out to us today.

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