Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

Saved! Access Favorites in your account profile. Removed from my favorites

How I Accidentally Inherited A Stranger's Entire Home

  1. Begin
    dave-kopach
    Photographed by Erica Gannett.

    SHARE IT

    29 comments
    See All Slides
    We'd been apartment-hunting for a month with no success. The holidays were looming; we'd reached the point when you start to consider whether living in your car or on a friend's couch is a viable option. Needless to say, my then-boyfriend and I were more than a bit desperate when we walked into the Greenpoint apartment we'd soon be calling home — and I immediately knew that it was the one.

    But as with any reasonably priced New York apartment, there was a catch — and this one was a doozy. The former tenant, Helen, had died and left behind all of her possessions. Her only next-of-kin was a daughter-in-law who had no interest in coming to collect any of her belongings. The landlord refused to deal with the furnished apartment — and with rent so cheap, we couldn't argue.

    That's how we basically inherited a thrift store. Walking inside felt like stepping onto the set of All In The Family meets a "Life In The Fifties" exhibit. Despite the fact that I had my own stuff, I couldn't bear to just throw all of hers away. Our mugs co-habit; our family pictures are mixed on the fridge. It's definitely strange, but Helen's things are a part of the apartment — part of a history that's not mine to erase. (Though I drew the line and finally threw out her 1995 tax forms.)

    Four years later, our things live together amicably — click through if you don't believe me.



    Photographed by

    Begin Slideshow
  2. Photographed by Erica Gannett.

    SHARE IT

    29 } comments
    See All Slides
    0 of 14
  3. Photographed by Erica Gannett.

    SHARE IT

    29 } comments
    See All Slides
    1 of 14
  4. Photographed by Erica Gannett.

    SHARE IT

    29 } comments
    See All Slides
    2 of 14
  5. Photographed by Erica Gannett.

    SHARE IT

    29 } comments
    See All Slides
    3 of 14
  6. Photographed by Erica Gannett.

    SHARE IT

    29 } comments
    See All Slides
    4 of 14