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How Do We Divide Up Mom & Dad's Stuff?



"We have a house from our parents to empty and sell. It is unbelievably full. We kids do not think that our parents ever threw anything away. Now we will be sorting through everything and deciding what to do with it.

Our question is, how do we distribute what we find in the house equitably. Not any one of us wants conflict and there are not four of everything to split things equitably. Have you heard of ways that families separate and distribute their parent’s possessions without any conflict. We want this all to go well."



Your family sounds supportive and non assuming, which is great. It is usually fairly easy when family members are agreeable and lack entitlement.

There are several ways you could approach distribution of what you find in the house. Here are my thoughts:

1. Ask each sibling to list the things they might like to have. Then check the lists against each others to see if there is any overlap. If there is overlap find a way to decide who gets the item. You can flip a coin, draw straws, take turns being the winner, or whatever other idea you can come up with to decide who gets the item.

2. Ask each person to pick an item then move onto the next item until everything is taken. I would start with the oldest, youngest, or any other starting point you desire.

3. Another option would be to value each item and give each person play money to purchase items with. This is the most equitable way to distribute things and also the most time consuming.

4. A new twist would be to give every person the play money and use it to bid on items like an auction. It can be allot of fun to do it this way for the bigger items if there is more than one person interested in items.

5. Some families simply decide to take what they want and hopefully no one objects to what other members take.

What I recommend is that you find what works for your family. Do ask each member to speak up if there is something that hold memories for them. There is usually enough for everyone to take something special to them. Most of all be kind and remember it is only stuff and you will not be taking it with you in the end.


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