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I am watching what my boss is going through right now, his wife passed on a few weeks ago [14 yrs Alzheimer's] and he had to sell his beautiful home and find an apartment/condo rental to move into.... it has been a mad scramble because he sold his home within a week.

If only he would have started downsizing last year knowing that this would eventually happen. He's overwhelmed and said he's on a verge of a nervous breakdown. Way too much paper work to sort through on such a tight squeeze, so those boxes will find their way to his business office.

Everything that was once part of his life most will need to be sold or donated or tossed out. To wipe that much history out in just a few weeks is too much. If done slowly it is easier to deal with.

Glad I started shredding my own paperwork at my house. Like why on earth do I need Federal income tax forms going back 30 years? Keep 7 years and let the rest go. I have old stamp books and old coin books that I will send to my sig other's two grandchildren for them to take up a new hobby.

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I've lived in earthquake country all my life, and have experienced two biggies that did a lot of damage. The last time, I had to move quickly, put stuff in storage, get it back out, yadda yadda. I have no patience for that, lol. It made me a bit of a minimalist. I no longer like collecting stuff, but it's still fun to browse and fantasize while watching Antiques Roadshow! Also, my taste is so different from my parents, and I like switching things up too much to keep stuff for a long time.
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sometimes it's hard to let go of things that remind of us of people and times we care about but I guess, in the end, they are just things. I'm going through each room, drawer, and closet, getting rid of things that don't enhance that room or my life. It was hard at first but it's getting easier, especially when I think about the possibility of having to move it should I sell my house.
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I had started cleaning out before my folks moved in.. and their sale and downsizing took over. Now I a back to mine. I take a load to goodwill at least once a month. Old clothes, glasses that don;t match.. you name it! I don;t want my daughter to go through what I did!
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sitting here thinking about the few possessions i do have . at least 2 of them i had to buy back from my ex wifes yard sale . man . talk about having the patience of job . one was my pressure canner , another was a woodstove that id built myself .
old ike the trike was handed over without a tussle . b*tch was crazy but she wasnt suicidal .
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Last month I donated a bunch of usable stuff to a rummage sale.... now I am sitting and looking at the empty spaces on the shelves and can't remember what was occupying those spaces.... that's good :)

Also gave away half my book collection. Did keep books from the 1920's and 1930's... an old etiquette book (c)1929 is fun to review, how society has changed.
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ive downsized for MY benefit . i dont want to be buried in crap . i even lost 15 yrs or so of pics when a computer went haywire a few months ago . i dont even care , i dont need to live in the past . thats a hard one to comprehend but that attitude makes me more focused on moving forward .
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A few years ago, I'd have had a problem with how to downsizing and what to part with. Now, I want less to deal with, I've seen one of my kids overwhelmed with family belongings and I don't want my kids to feel burdened. The dishes of my parents that I've enjoyed, I now am fine with selling on ebay. My dad passed in 2001 yet my sister and I just got his artwork sorted and started giving it to family and friends. Going thru his art and his life brought too much pain to the surface, but this summer was just the right time for us both. As Jeanne wisely said, to everything its season.
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I think you have a good point, I know I have a lot of stuff like paperwork,toys, and clothes. Im in my 30's but Im tired of all the stuff. Simple for now and the future for me. I agree if its not memories or needed toss it! Every one has good points too! Good luck with all on de -cluttering when the time comes.
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wordy, I know of professional organizers who can be so helpful. Even if they don't have expertise appraising items, they make the work go so much more smoothly. And having someone not emotionally tied to the task can help too.
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Hmm, a friend of mine wants to start a business to go in and downsize homes for people. Maybe she's on to something. Would you all pay someone to do that for you? Do you think people, such as the boss discussed here would be willing to hire an outside person?
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My mother has been in the NH for 2 years. Her house sits just as it did the day she left it. Her van is there, her RV is full of stuff, as is the Airstream. I live in AZ and my sister is 76 and lives in WY. The house is in IL. All I will be able to do, is grab the family items and dump most of the rest.

We took some of my MILs items, but at 60, we need nothing. There would be no way to transport it, if we did.
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jeannegibbs, you made some good points. Maybe being under the gun was the best way for my boss to make things happen.
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I want to comment on one more thing. "If only he would have started downsizing last year ..." I have berated myself with that kind of "if only" many, many times. I am trying to cure myself of that bad habit. "If only I had done more of the prep work for this party last week!" but I've learned to give that a hard look. "Oh? And which part of last week was less busy than this week? You did what you could when you could." "If only I'd sorted this paperwork out when I got it!" "And what, my dear, was your mental state when you got it? Could you really have dealt with it then? At least now the emotional impact is stale." And so on.

We do what we can when we can. Sure, some of us really need to change some habits and plan ahead a little better. But life is what it is and all the "If onlys" in the world will not change it.

Maybe your boss could have dealt with it a little better if he'd had a year to do it gradually. Or maybe having to do it under a deadline is really the least painful way. Who knows? Spending the final year of your caregiving journey, the final year of your marriage, sorting through material things may or may not have been the best use of his time.

Just sayin' ...
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I firmly believe that for everything there is a season. It is not quite my downsizing season yet, but I see it coming. Enjoy and cherish your possessions while you can. Isn't that what you acquired them for? And divest yourself of them when you are ready to. At least that is my plan.

I saw a beloved aunt start this process in (I think) her 80s. Each time I visited her house appeared less full. One time the dining room table was covered with oilcloth because the lace tablecloth that had been on it for years had been given to her daughter. Next the upstairs hallway was minus a book case. The books went to the local library and the case went to the only son who wanted it. And on and on. She was a great role model. But I'm not in my 80s yet. :)

Captian, my poor kids will have at least 52 spoons to deal with -- having a large family I have a lot of silverware. I won't care if they throw them in a dumpster or someone wants them for family parties. I've gotten (and still am getting) my use out of them. (I really dislike plastic forks and knives for anything but a picnic.)

I'm not ready to start downsizing to save my children trouble when I'm gone. (If I go suddenly, they can work off their grief sorting through my stuff.) But I really do need to declutter, especially the paperwork, for my own mental health.

For everything there is a season. Don't rush it -- but just don't fail to recognize your own downsizing season.
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Pam, my boss is having the vast majority of his furniture, art work, etc. boxed up and it will be sold at auction, he will get half of the sale.... his stuff is too good to throw out, but I can understand there are homes where there isn't anything worth donating, or just way too much to deal with.

He would have wished his 6 children and the grand-children would have wanted some of the furniture, but at their ages they already have furnished homes. It's not like years ago when a newly married couple would be thrilled to get the grandparent's furniture :)
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Get an industrial size dumpster and start chucking it all in there. At mom's we filled a 14 cu. yd. container TWICE.
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ive cleaned up a deceased's crapfest 3 times in my life . wont be doing it to someone else. i have two spoons , the boys should be able to divide at least that well .
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