Ever since my MIL's house was sold, we have been making trips over there to clear the house of MIL's possessions. It has been an emotionally difficult time for Ken and his sister; their Mum is still alive, and even though she is fully aware the house has been sold, and she is urging us to take whatever we want, they feel as if they are robbing her home. Still, it must be done - the new owners take possession in the middle of August, and whatever the family doesn't take, must be disposed of. Fortunately, a neighbour has bought the house with a view to renovate it, so we don't have to actually clean the house after we've removed everything.
We've had an auctioneer come in to evaluate what will be worth selling at an auction house, and he has offered to organise a garage sale for the rest, and after that, getting rid of what remains to charity organisations, or the tip. SIL's hubby and I have been gently prodding our spouses along, but time is running out, so I put my foot down last week and told them both we must all go there this weekend and take what we want NOW. Ken spent a miserable day in the garage going through his father's 50 year accumulation of tools, nails, jigsaw puzzles, Masonic Lodge gear, and so on. He brought the Mason stuff home, along with one or two tools and other small items.
SIL spent much of her time in the laundry, sorting out what could be thrown out and what we could still use -unopened boxes of washing powder, multiple bottles and spray cans of every cleaning fluid you could name. Then there was the linen press in the laundry - towels and sheets that had lain undisturbed for possibly ten years or more, and were damp and mouldy. I took what was still in reasonable condition to give to our local animal shelters.
We moved to the kitchen and took out all the baking tins - every conceivable size and shape was there. MIL was an excellent cook in her day, especially when it came to cakes and biscuits. I took most of the tins, some of which I can use, and others I will spray paint with bright colours to use as containers for bits and pieces around the house. (Saw that in a craft mag. and thought it was a super idea for old baking tins!)
SIL was still wrapping glass and crystal when we left. Her Mum had two crystal cabinets full of the stuff, and SIL said when she has washed it all, I can come over and help myself. I said that I wouldn't be taking much, as after two marriages myself, and inheriting my Mum's silver and cut glass, I just did not have room for any more!
One item we brought home was particularly important to Ken. His father's mother loved to paint pictures, but not to sell. She just gave them to friends and family.
This one was on a wall in MIL's home for many years, and she said she wanted Ken to have it, as his sister already had one of her grandmother's paintings in her home. We carried it around the house until we decided to place it on the wall in our bedroom, as there was just nowhere else it would 'fit'. We had two small pictures on the wall before, but they weren't family heirlooms - simply pictures we had bought somewhere. So it was nice to hang something that is a piece of Ken's family history.
MIL always loved lots of flowers around her home. We still take a fresh bunch in for her on our weekly visit. If she didn't have fresh flowers, she had artificial ones, mostly roses. For years I thought this bunch of roses were real flowers, until one day I got close enough to touch them, and realised they were artificial - silk, I think. Definitely not plastic. SIL was going to throw all these fake flowers in the rubbish dump (she hates them!), but I rescued these and brought them home. They were covered with years of dust, so I dipped them in warm soapy water, wiggled them around, rinsed them in clean water, and hung them in the shower recess to dry. An hour later, they were as good as new, and I think Ken was pleased to see his Mum's beloved fake roses in a vase in our hall.
We still have a cuckoo clock in a box to unpack. His parents bought it in Switzerland when they went to Europe once. Like his Dad, Ken just loves clocks, and can't wait to have this one fixed and up on a wall somewhere. I said it has to go up the other end of the house; I do NOT want to be woken up with cuckoo noises when I'm sleeping in on a cold morning! Ken is agonised over his Dad's grandfather clock. He would like to have that here, but I put my foot down firmly about that. There is simply nowhere here for something that size. I suggested to Ken and SIL that they hire a spot in one of those long term storage facilities, and anything they can't make up their mind about keeping, just store it until they can decide what to do. MIL had an electronic theatre organ which both SIL and I would like to keep, but again, neither of us have the room in our homes for it. It is about 20 years old now, and of course is worth nothing, because in that time those kind of instruments have come a long way with technology. MIL used to play beautifully; we had great 'music' nights over there for many years....now I'm getting emotional..