In my lifetime, I’ve had many elderly relatives pass on. When I was just moving into my house, it really helped to have furniture and kitchenware to get me started. Unfortunately, not all my relatives possessions would fit in my house. Some of their keepsakes didn’t hold the same preciousness to me. There are also many things I kept which felt like they were precious, but I don’t know why. The story is lost, even if the object isn’t. In the end, there are were many things that needed to be donated, sold, auctioned and just thrown away.
Through my many years running this site, I find I’m not the only one facing a household of relatives’ possessions with little direction on how to proceed. I hope to pass on some wisdom from my own life and helping others.
Taking Care of Business
THE NEXT GENERATION’S PERSPECTIVE
In my family’s experience, a lot of our relatives’ possessions fell on my parents to deal with. Thankfully, my great aunt left little notes for heirlooms passed down from great-great grandparents. For the rest of it, my parents still have items they haven’t been able to sell ten years later. There’s a lot of emotion tied to the items. The family wants to respect what our relatives cherished and make sure it goes to someone who will appreciate it.
When selling, there’s a lot of collector experience that can’t be learned from a book. The information needed to sell these items was with our departed relatives. It’s become a bunch of stuff that takes up space and doesn’t let them display their own keepsakes. If our relatives bought items as an investment, well, it hasn’t really worked the way they hoped. It takes time to sell an item and we want to make sure we’re making it worth our time. Yet, we hate to donate some items, because they may get broken in the process. It’s hard to let go, as all collectors know.
Making the Big Decisions
STEP ONE: CONSIDER YOUR PEANUTS COLLECTION
Next, what do you need to get out of your collection monetarily? If you’re comfortable later in life or have big plans for retirement, not having to deal with selling items piece by piece might be better for your lifestyle. However, if you enjoy selling or this is your nest egg, then it’s time to learn which selling technique works for you. If you’d rather not sell at all, then work with a museum, a charity or fellow collector to donate your collection to when the time comes.
STEP TWO: DISCUSS YOUR PLANS
Planning for your future doesn’t need to done alone. If someone you know is a budding Peanuts collector, it’s time to take them under your wing. However, not everyone has the collecting bug. Let family and friends experience your collection with you. If an item has a meaning to them, consider gifting it to them or leaving instruction that it be passed on to them. Your heart is forever linked to Snoopy and Charlie Brown, so pass it on to family and friends. The memory of you will live on through your gift to them.
When donating to an organization, work with them to find out how the donation will be used. Will they keep the entire collection? Will they auction it off to raise funds? Make sure you’re comfortable with their donation procedure.
STEP THREE: DOCUMENTATION
If you haven’t created a will, you probably should. Make sure your wishes for your collection will be followed after your passing by getting it in writing. Taking photos and making a list of items and their beneficiaries will ensure everyone understands who gets what. I’m not a lawyer, so go talk to them about how to set up your estate.
Don't look Back
The hardest part is letting go. I sell lots of items and sometimes I have a twinge of regret. It’s off to a new home! It’s going to someone who will also appreciate it! The regret will pass. It will get easier. Find your favorites to hold close and remind you of your favorite moments. That’s how your loved ones will know just which Snoopy and Peanuts collectibles are most valuable. They’ll treasure them to remember you.