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What to Do With Stuff You Inherited

Jon Fesmire | July 20, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

Getting an inheritance is a mixed blessing at best. Most times, it means you’ve just lost a loved one. After the grieving, you will need to go through everything you inherited and decide what to do with it.

You may have inherited a lot of money and a house, or perhaps you inherited the contents of your loved one’s rented home. We’re not going to cover what to do with a house or money, but what to do with all the stuff. After all, we’re in self storage, and taking care of belongings is in our wheelhouse.

Grieve Your Loss

If possible, take the time to grieve. For example, if you inherited a house and don’t have to make any payments, or you simply need to pay for one month’s worth of self storage rent, then you can afford to take some time to process the pain of loss. This will allow you to get to a better place emotionally where it will be easier to deal with the inherited items.

If you don’t have time for this, then we encourage you to get support. Go into the next steps with trusted friends or family members.

Store Sentimental Items

You’re bound to have inherited some sentimental items from your loved one. These may be photo albums, wall-hangings that have been around since your childhood, jewelry, and anything else with cherished memories attached.

Pick these out and store them, either in a closet at home, or in a small storage unit. Remember to get back to them after you’ve finished the other steps in this article.

Throw Out the Garbage

Find broken or worthless items and get rid of them. Many such items can be recycled. This includes most paper items, from newspapers to magazines. It also includes batteries, electronics, mattresses, box springs, and many plastic products. These days, you can even recycle yard waste and hazardous waste, such as acids, car batteries, and antifreeze.

Look up recycling programs in your state and your local area and follow their instructions.

Keep or Use

Next, you should be left with various items in new or gently-used condition, and there may be items you could use. Perhaps there’s a better microwave than you have at home. Maybe your loved one had a good computer or game system you could use at home.

Also, consider your relatives. Maybe you inherited everything so that you could decide who gets what. Perhaps your brother or sister could use that microwave or computer more than you. Maybe your nephew has always loved his grandfather’s action figure collection. Before you go onto the next step, think about who in your family would like which items.

Sell or Donate

You and your family may want most of the belongings or just a few choice items. Soon, you’ll have many items that you don’t need but that are in good condition.

The next step is to sell them. If you have a lot left, we encourage you to hire a company that runs estate sales. They’ll get the word out, and people will come by to haggle for and purchase what’s left. If you don’t have much left, sell what you can on eBay, OfferUp, or another auction platform.

Finally, you’ll be left with things that didn’t sell, or you’ll be ready to end the process. Donate what’s left. There are many great charities out there. Perhaps you have items families in need can use, and those can go to family shelters or organizations that help needy families. You can also donate to thrift stores, like St. Vincent De Paul, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army, which use the sales of items to help others.

Don’t worry. This time will be difficult, but when it’s done you’ll have some beautiful things to remember your loved one by, and you’ll have made sure their other belongings have gone where they needed to.

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