…there is a lot of “stuff” that I am using or enjoying now, So keep it.
…but know won’t mean much to the kids or wife. Then, they’ll have to decide what to keep as mementos, and what to sell/donate/toss. Hopefully it’ll be a bittersweet day reminiscing, with wine.
…when to start?
Didn’t you move recently? DH & I moved several times recently, purging a huge amount the first time, and lesser amounts with each subsequent move. The question of “do I want to pay to move this?” was a lot easier to answer than “do I want to get rid of this?”
We now have what we want, and no more. If/when we downsize (again) to move to a CCRC, we’ll go through the selection process again, but until then it’s just maintenance using the “one in, one out” guideline. Buy a coat, donate a coat. File taxes, shred the 10-year-old returns. Our current house has no attic and no basement, which helps a lot.
As far as “when,” definitely do it while you’re still competent to make decisions. I never worried about my dad’s hoarder tendencies because I figured as long as his stuff makes him happy, fine by me, and after he dies I’ll back up the dump trucks and he won’t care because he’ll be dead.
But, he didn’t die. He went into assisted living. I touched every single thing in his house and had to decide “would he want to keep this? if I get rid of it, will he ask about it later?”
I couldn’t ask him, because he’d want to keep it all, which would’ve been impossible. It was excruciating, throwing things out that weren’t mine to throw out, bit by bit clipping the ties that bound him to this world. Murder, murder most foul!
It’s now been 3 years since he went into AL, 2 years since his house was sold, and happily he’s never asked about his house or anything in it. When we talk (which is weekly), it’s about what my kids are doing, or sports, or weather, or something he can reminisce about (such as jury duty or a torn ACL) without getting into stuff he used to have. I’ve recuperated from the clean-up trauma, for the most part, but will not answer questions from siblings regarding what I did with anything. (They had their chance to go through the house, so if there’s anything they wanted, they should’ve taken it then, not think of it later. And ohbytheway they were no help whatsoever.)
I wish I had an industrial shredder.
When I cleaned out my dad’s house, I filled about a dozen (case of wine sized) boxes with papers, pictures, stickers, etc for the shredder. Basically, anything with anyone’s name on it went into the boxes, to minimize risk of identity theft or loss of privacy. A shredder truck came and made short work of it all.
Meanwhile, a couple of very enjoyable stories by people who decluttered (or tried to) decades’ worth of accumulations:
(1) https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/decluttering-e… 3/2/2021 by Bonnie Miller Rubin
Very relatable for anyone who’s at all sentimental. Also, hundreds of other stories in the comments, and very opposing views regarding what’s worth saving.
(2) https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/03/08/how-to-practic… 3/8/2021 by Ann Patchett
More analytical and entertaining than the WaPo article, with some truly funny observations.