I really only touched on this subject with my post Decluttering Pessimism but it seems to have evoked some interesting responses from people who have been subjected to the unfortunate position of dealing with a lost loved one’s clutter. And nobody wants to be forced into the very awkward position of having to broach the subject with an elderly relative that they need to consider paring down their possessions in order to avoid this very situation.
I remember when I was a child rummaging through drawers, cupboards and sheds at my grandmothers house and being intrigued with the interesting things I found. It was mostly just clutter that she hadn’t used for years. Stuff that belonged to my grandfather still lingered in all these places especially the sheds even though he had died several years earlier.
My grandparents owned and operated a bakery during and after WWII. My grandfather would not include the secret family sponge cake recipe with the sale of the business when he was ready to retire so no one would buy it. They just shut it down, stored all the equipment and fittings in the back shed and it was all still there thirty years later when my grandmother died.
We lived 500 miles away and my parents had to go and clear everything out when she died. My parents had a business to run and didn’t have the time to spend going through all the stuff properly and deciding the worth of everything. They kept the good crystal and china, some tools, jewellery and a few other odds and ends. Then offloaded the remaining stuff quickly in a huge garage sale. I always thought it was such a shame.
It is never to early to get your clutter under control because that old person will be you soon enough.
So far I have focused on the inevitable event of old people passing on but there is an even more tragic situation yet to explore. Anything can happen any time to any of us and it is an even bigger shock for those left behind when someone is taken suddenly and unexpectedly. I am not saying that we should give away all our beloved possessions just in case but we should at least give some thought to keeping them at a level that is reasonable to expect someone else to have to sort through during such a tragic time. Maybe the things you own that you think may be a burden to someone else could be considered declutterable.
I am still not sure whether I am comfortable sending this post out it feels like it could be a little raw for some people. I hope no one is offended by it and if so please come forward and voice your opinion. I would be more than happy to withdraw it if you feel I should.
ITEM 170 OF 365LESSTHINGS
Another ebay sale only $3.00 this time but every little bit counts.