My mom moved to a retirement place this spring and I helped her move and decluttered a lot of the 50+ yrs worth of stuff that was in her house when she moved. However, there were a lot of items that were _really_ old family items and/or antiques. The retirement place provides a storage unit for independent living units and we brought up some of that stuff that we just didn't know what to do with and put it in there until we could get around to sorting it out.
Well, now Mom is going to downsize and move into Assisted Living. And we have to figure out what to do with this all of this old family stuff. Mom is 86 and her family kept A LOT of things through the years. Some of it is very interesting (great grandma's old baby clothes, old photos, old books, trinkets, mementos, furniture), but I don't know what to do with it all. I don't necessarily want it myself. The thing is my brother is an engineer-type with very rigid thinking. He wants my sister, myself, and him to divide it all precisely equally 3 ways and, I'm pretty sure I'm then supposed to hold onto it into perpetuity. Some of it (like g-gma's antique baby clothes from the 1800s) I have a hard time figuring out what to do with myself, but most of the old books I could let go unless it's somebody's diary or something. If it's just a novel from 1910, well, that's cool and all, but I think I could take that to the antique book store and let somebody who's into those things get some pleasure from it. Unfortunately I fear that he will not think that's okay at all — these are "OLD FAMILY ITEMS". We have a strained relationship as it is. And since we're both in the same town as Mom and both are involved in caring for her I have to be able to maintain some civility with him.
My mom has memory issues, but when she's clear she's in favor of selling the old dishes, etc. It's really my brother that's being the sentimental one, but he doesn't want to keep it all himself. He wants me and my sister to keep our fair share. He's really unpleasant to deal with when he's angry — bulldozes right over whatever you have to say, yells, etc. I don't relish getting into a confrontation with him so I'm trying to figure out how to approach the situation diplomatically. Any advice?