What is the right thing to do?

mllyJanuary 1, 2013

I could write a novel to give you all the background, but I'll spare you all the agony...basically in a nutshell my question is what is the proper way to handle disposing of items SS left behind after he moved out?

We are getting ready to down size and put our house on the market..we will not be putting our own things in storage, much less his..so would it be improper to send him a message on FB..something to the effect of

What would you like done with your things? Would you like to have one of your family members or friends pick them up? Please adv before such & such date..thank you.

I suppose it would also be helpful to know that SS just returned Christmas card & gift that DH sent him and then posted some sort of cryptic message on his FB..apparently he is upset about something...Lord only knows what, and personally I'm tired of trying to figure it out..I really don't care if I ever speak to him again or not...I wish him happiness & success but the truth is he made my life a living hell and I'm glad he is gone..I do feel bad for DH...so anyway what to do with his things? Advice?

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readinglady

While you might prefer to have no communication, I think it's wiser for his father to send a brief message giving your SS the option of retrieving his things and providing a deadline. Laws vary from state-to-state regarding disposal of possession by other than the owner, and if for no other reason, you want to cover your backs.

I wouldn't say any more than that. If he wants to delegate the task to someone else in the family or to a friend, that's up to him. But you and your husband aren't obliged to make suggestions.

You can always hope he doesn't respond, but keep a record of your communication in case there are future issues. It's amazing the things people will do sometimes.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 3:32AM
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justmetoo

May I ask how old SS is? Also the situation SS moved out? I think it matters whether he left for school/military vs something such as got mad and moved back to BM's or is of age and moved out to live on his own. Are you talking a couple boxes of personal possessions or more along the lines of actual furniture and half a household full of SS's needs to set up say an apartment of his own? One last thing, how long ago did SS move out? I think a few weeks vs months would be part of the decision also...your home is not on the market yet, unless you're in a 'hot' market area there should be at least a bit of time left before action is required that would affect your downsize and move.

For me, the above would all be a consideration in how I would immediately handle SS's things. Also, if it were not my own child, I would have my husband do the communication with his son about the items and so too actually do the disposing (whatever way that is) of the items. No way would I allow the blame of tossed and/or given away items of a stepchild rest on my shoulders. Husband's child, husband can deal with the son and items.

If SS moved out and obviously left behind items he didn't want to bother to actually take with him, would be an easier decision as to what to do with them. But if it was a fast exit (maybe under anger and/or time allotment and means)I would have husband try (and document the attempts) of assuring SS had a chance to arrange pick-up.

Personally, myself, I find a FB message an 'nonproper' way to send a message of this nature. I think husband needs to phone his son. If son is not answering phone husband can leave a voice message. Leaving a public message on FB for his friends to see seems to me to be stirring the pot and taking personal family matters and drama out into an improper setting. Yes, SS left a 'note' for his father there, but his doing so doesn't make the method any less incorrect. Sometimes FB causes more problems than it solves.

Good luck on your new adventure of down-sizing and starting a new era of your life.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 7:05AM
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mlly

SS is 21, he moved out almost 4 years ago when he left for the army...the items I'm referring to are about 5-6 boxes of personal things like high school yearbooks, photo albums, his baby book..things he couldn't very well take with him, but I would think he would want to keep...

Other than FB, I'm not sure how to contact him..after DH received items back in the mail, he called him and his cell phone had been disconnected...

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 9:25PM
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readinglady

If FB is the only option, then your husband will have to use that. It sounds as if currently your SS has estranged himself, but it is still appropriate to let him know you are moving and the timeframe for dealing with retrieval of his things (if he wants them).

Has your SS served overseas? If he's been stationed in a combat zone, that may be playing a role in his current alienation. In that case, I would definitely make allowances. 21 is still young and he may turn around in time.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 11:05PM
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imamommy

How much room would it take to store yearbooks & pictures? I would dispose of clothing & stuff that most people wouldn't save but get a small box, put his yearbooks, diploma, important papers & pictures in it. Seal it & label with his name & put it on a shelf in the garage. Those things don't take up much room and whatever reason he's cut off his dad, as he gets older & has his own family, he may be back. That's what I would do. My kids are 22, 23 & 25. All have moved out & left things behind.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 1:06PM
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sylviatexas1

"whatever reason he's cut off his dad, as he gets older & has his own family, he may be back."

yep.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 5:51PM
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gerina

THE RIGHT THING... Should you NEVER get a response from your SS, I believe the right thing to do is to keep his mementos. It would be cold, rotten and seemingly mean-spirited to get rid of his yearbooks, photo albums and baby book. Really, how much room could those items take in storage???

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 3:48AM
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colleenoz

Gerina, if SS doesn't care enough about his own mementos to pick them up after being repeatedly asked to do so, why should anyone else have to care?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 6:11AM
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sylviatexas1

because stepson is young & may be rash, & parent/stepparent aren't young & shouldn't be rash.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 9:28AM
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gerina

@ Colleen - I couldn't have answered your question any better than Sylvia. In addition to what Sylvia said, what if SS is in a bad state of mind and suffering from PTSD from the Army? What if something tragic happened to him? Perhaps DH would like his son's baby book and photos. It's probably not going be skin of any back to store one box of those personal types of items.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 12:28PM
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mlly

To be honest, I feel cold, rotten, & mean spirited...I'm not going to go into details because its all in the past and I really want to move forward but the way I was treated absolutely left me feeling not so nice..

How long do you have to take being treated like garbage by someone and still bend over backwards to accomodate? I guess thats what upsets me...

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 6:33PM
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ellendi

You are feeling many things right now. You are still very much hurt and angry about how you were treated by SS. Is there a way you can get counseling? It might help you sort out your feelings and help you move forward.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 6:48PM
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justmetoo

--"..I do feel bad for DH"--

And there is how and why you allow husband to make this decision. I get SS and you, yourself, went through some nasty times and there is harbored hurt and resentment...BUT, with that acknowledged, let husband do with these items as he sees proper. Don't make the decision for him and do not force him into doing away with something he is uneasy with parting with.

If you take it upon yourself to toss the stuff and/or send a facebook message stating 'x weeks or the items will be disposed with', you're leaving yourself wide open for the issue to come back and bite you in the buns. It is a small amount, surely won't take up but a small place in a closet...is ditching the items (and in a sense ridding in your mind the last of the SS who has put you through so much) really worth chancing later additional resentments and hurt?

Your husband is still trying (the Christmas card), he's not ready to clear the son out of his life. While he may go along with the message and then possible disposal now, you may find the incident come back and haunt you.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 7:58PM
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gerina

MMLY - I totally feel your pain when it comes to being treated like garbage. I was treated like I was beyond garbage by my SK's too. I'm not above having had those mean-spirited thoughts in the past. Even still, I would never trash SK's mementos. Think about the items which most people say they've grabbed when they've fled their home because of a fire or some other disaster. It's always the photos. It's just good karma and, if nothing else, you'll be better for it.

This post was edited by gerina on Wed, Jan 9, 13 at 23:10

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 11:08PM
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mlly

I appreciate all your responses...DH sent him a message to his inbox on FB...he is waiting for a reply...guess we will see...told DH I fully support him packing up his son's items and storing them..but I will not be doing it....

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 6:38PM
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