Celebrity memorial at your house: what do you do with all that stuff?

On the Wikipedia page for Robin Williams in the “Death” section is a picture of flowers and other items left on the steps in front of the house used in Mrs. Doubtfire.

Let’s say you own that house. Obviously, nobody is leaving any of that stuff there for you, but it’s on your property, and presumably, you are responsible for it after everyone leaves.

What would you do with that stuff?


If I was in a generous mood I’d check to see if anyone else was interested in taking the stuff off my hands. Otherwise I’d probably just toss it.

Donate. Hospitals might be able to use some of this.

Most of it looks like flowers. You leave those there so that people can see them, until they droop enough to look like they’re dying. Then you compost them, put them in a yard waste bin, or put them in the trash.

Vases can be donated various places. Ribbons go in the trash unless you want to re-use them personally.

I really, really hate these kinds of memorials, and if one sprang up on my property, I’d struggle not to take a flame-thrower to it. Surely there’s a better way to honor someone’s memory rather than leaving flowers or teddy bears where they become a trip hazard, and later, an eyesore.

Yeah, I’m a grouch. But if I felt moved by the death of anyone, I’d try to turn it into a positive with a donation in honor of that person. Better to feed a shelter dog for a week than enrich a florist. So when I die, if you feel so inclined, make someone else’s life better and I won’t come back to haunt you…

Charge admission.


We had someone here on the board who had one of those tacky *ad hoc *memorials with wilted flowers and rain soaked teddy bears and maudlin poetry on spiral notebook paper and such on his/her property. I believe the consensus advice was to remove it and replace it with a simple tasteful permanent marker of some kind. I’d have thrown all that crap away and never looked back, but most people are better than I am. I’m used to that.

Probably depends on who the memorial was for; if it was for someone I really didn’t like or thought should be memorialized… like say this guy and the memorial, I’d probably gather that shit up and set it on fire.

Otherwise, throw it away, or if there were useful things, call local charities and see if they want the stuff.

The flowers I’d toss when they wilted. If it looked like it was going to rain I’d gather up the teddy bears and such and take them to a hospital or homeless shelter for the kids.

Before the memorial park in Oklahoma City was built I visited the site of the building, already demolished. There was a tall fence around it, and earthmovers were already smoothing out the ground.

The fence was hung with all kinds of stuff, teddy bears, baby shoes, pictures, t-shirts, stuffed animals. A number of people had the foresight to seal such things up in zip-loc bags. Being as I’m from Kansas I was touched by a little toy Jayhawk. The University of Kansas basketball team had been to Oklahoma to play the OSU team and had visited the site.

Pictures of the kids from the daycare tore me up. I still think about the picture of the firefighter holding the body of the little girl Baylee Almon. It could have been my nephew, as all you could see was a leggy blond kid in a diaper. He was two days younger than the little girl. When I see him now I think she should be that old, going to college, getting married, and so on.

I guess the whole point of this rambling is that I don’t mind such things if that’s what people want to do. Not my cup of tea, but everyone grieves differently.

I have always been mystified by roadside shrines. Do people actually think the soul of the dead person hangs around where they died? What purposed do they serve? From the picture it appears the shrine is blocking the entry to the house. If that was the case I would discard everything and possibly put up a sign advising NO LITTERING. If however the shrine was on the part of the road or sidewalk that is actually owned by the town I might just ignore it unless the looky lou’s were creating a traffic problem.

There was a memorial on the side of the highway nearest our house for a homeless man run over in the street. I’m pretty certain he would have had the modern equivalent of a pauper’s grave with no stone. This was a case where I was conflicted. Other homeless began it and its size never got unwieldy. They were his friends, and even if there had been a cemetery burial, visiting would have been difficult.

Normally, I’d be “give it a week or two, then off to the dumpster,” but this one touched my wizened heart.

This thread, I think.

That’s the one I was thinking of. It, like most things, was more complicated and nuanced than my cursory synopsis. Thank you for searching it out.

Memorials aren’t for the dead, they are for the living who need to grieve by doing something they feel honors the dead.

Flowers: toss into the yard waste bag (around here, there are big paper bags for grass clippings, sticks, leaves, etc., which are collected seperately from the regular trash.)

Teddy bears: if I get to them before they get rained on, donate them to the local children’s hospital.

Everything else: stuff into an opaque black garbage bag (to be discreet about it) and toss.

Note that the situation in the OP is a bit unusual. If you live in the house featured in a popular film, presumably you’re already accustomed to getting visits from fans of the movies. (And if you’re not accustomed to it already, sell the damned house; you’ll probably get a premium for the house because of its fame.)

A few years ago, in my home town, a carload of teens crashed into a stone wall and all four of them died. A makeshift memorial started gathering the next day, and became more and more elaborate as the days and weeks passed. I drove past this twice a day on my to and from work. The people that owned the house and stone wall just sort of took it upon themselves to keep the whole thing tidy. When a sign fell down, they’d collect it and throw it away. When flowers wilted, they did the same thing. Eventually, people stopped ‘adding’ to the memorial, and soon after the people that owned the property started subtly ‘subtracting’ stuff, and over the course of a few weeks the memorial disappeared. I thought the people that owned the house really handled the whole thing well - tactful, respectful and dignified. Very classy.

Obviously, not every makeshift memorial will work out this way, but that’s one way it can go down.

I work at a hospital and we will not accept used stuffed animals. I don’t know of any organization that wants teddy bears that have been outside in the elements. I say throw them away.