We inherited a family estate following the close deaths of both my only brother and my mother. The estate contained not only developed and undeveloped property, butWe inherited a family estate following the close deaths of both my only brother and my mother. The estate contained not only developed and undeveloped property, but also a business (an operating barber shop which had been in business under a variety of owners since the 1920's and still using the original equipment). In addition to that this estate also included an overwhelming variety of collections including coins (dating back to the 1800's),"tin type" photographs, antique furniture and light fixtures,vintage clothing,vintage costume jewelry, antiques, comic book collections, paintings, tools, etc. These items literally filled 6 very large storage units and 3 houses.
There was a tremendous amount trash covering the treasures buried deep inside. It took over three years of sorting, digging, cleaning, moving, "health sapping" work to get to the point of being able to begin to recoup the financial and emotional drain.
During the three year period, some of the items were sold in order to continue our existence. For you see, just as all of this began, we had to move to another state because of my job (one lost, another begun).
My wife took on the overwhelming task of trying to coordinate the work (doing most of it herself) at a location which was now over 800 miles from where we now live. The cleaning, moving, boxing, sorting, etc. of family heirlooms, treasured memories, and seeing the true value of what had been considered trash...or worthless. It took a tremendous toll on her health and her own dreams. We had only been married a few years when this began, the next three years she spent sorting through memories of my family's life history...she saw their story, their dreams, their struggles...and she and her family "became one" with my family. She did this so I wouldn't have to go through the pain of being reminded of the recent deaths. She did this also to allow me to continue to work full time so we could maintain the cash flow that was desperately needed for us to survive and to recover/maintain the estate.
We now are in the early stages of beginning to sell the collections and pieces. Some of it will remain as family heirlooms and collections, some we will put up on eBay, some will go to auction houses, some will go to private collectors. But each will forever hold a story in the memories of my wife and I as we continue our lives. Neither of us will ever again look upon an object as worthless.
The worth of an object is measured not by its cost...it is measured by its value. For example a simple mason jar, manufactured in the late 19th century was actually worth over $2000. Costume jewelry, that your grandmother thought inexpensive when, as a young woman she purchased it, can be valued at hundreds of dollars. Seeing your grand daughter sitting in a little handmade wooden chair that her grand mother sat in as a child, can bring tears to an old man's eyes. (Read more)