As the oldest child and personal representative of her mother’s estate, Connie had the responsibility of emptying and selling the family home. Mom had been a “collector” of items she treasured–jewelry (the flashier the better), multiple sets of fine china and a large seashell collection. Mom’s treasured collections and a lifetime’s worth of possessions–what to do with it all? Connie knew she would need professional help so she reached out to a local senior move manager and together, they formulated a plan.
Connie ‘s first step was to ask her siblings what they would like to have from the family home. Her brother said he wanted nothing but surprisingly, her sister wanted, of all things, some of the seashells!
Soon after, Connie and her sister met at their parent’s house and began going through all the containers of shells. They had fun reminiscing about where some of the shells came from and how their father had seen that oh-so-perfect shell just off the dive pier and had to get it himself! Connie’s sister ended up taking two tubs of seashells home.
With the loss of her mom so new, Connie wasn’t ready to sell or donate Mom’s treasured collections so she took the remaining seashells, china and jewelry to her house. She is forever thankful for her very understanding husband!
Having connected Connie with a realtor, the senior move manager then coordinated the timing and setup of an estate sale to empty the house just prior to it being listed. The realtor’s business cards were on hand during the sale, generating interest before the house even hit the market. The estate sale went very well and the few remaining items were taken to a local charity to be used and enjoyed by others. The senior move manager then arranged for the house to be professionally cleaned and it sold very quickly.
The sale of the family home complete, things began to happen that Connie knew would have made her mother happy. A friend’s daughter was getting married and her mother-of-the-bride dress needed “something.” Pulling out Mom’s treasured jewelry collection, Connie and her friend found a flashy brooch in the wedding’s colors that made a perfect accent at the waist of the dress.
Another opportunity to share Mom’s treasured jewelry collection was at a charity fashion show for the local high school. Connie took several trays of earrings, necklaces and brooches for the models to use. Mom’s jewelry was such a hit, the event’s organizers asked Connie if she could share it again the following year.
Connie found ways to use Mom’s treasured china collection during Thanksgiving. She decided using Mom’s china, even at the risk of some broken, was a better way to honor her mother’s memory than leaving it boxed up and collecting dust. She set demitasse cups with mini-flower arrangements throughout the house and used china serving pieces as appetizer trays. During the casual, buffet-style meal, everyone used a beautiful china plate. These special touches were noticed and appreciated and sparked lovely memories of Mom.
As her guests were leaving, each was given one of Mom’s treasured seashells filled with wrapped candies as another way to share special memories.
Many people are overwhelmed when dealing with “stuff” belonging to loved ones who have passed. While having help emptying the family home, Connie found positive and unique ways to share her Mom’s treasured collections in ways that honored her mom’s memory and brought joy to others.
AUTHOR: The owner of Chesapeake Transitions, Marilyn Leek is a Certified Senior Move Manager® who has been providing support and guidance for Maryland seniors and their families for over a decade.