TO DO WITH THE EXTRA STUFF
A loved one has died and left you with a houseful of accumulation-of-years stuff...
You (nearest of kin, let's say) take what you want, and there's still SO much
left! Let's also say that you've decided that it's too much trouble to do eBay
or wheel-and-deal with resellers and too much work for you to put on a yard
sale. And anyway, you hate to give (or even sell) some of this memory-inhabited
stuff to just anybody. What is there left to do? Here are some
Donate where it will do
have been blessed by the former owner:
When my mother passed away, my aunt and I were in attendance from afar at my
parents' house, and my father wished to make the most of our available time
together by having us clear out her clothes, jewelry, and other
only-Mother-related objects right away. My mother had been an avid rummager, and
the church sale was coming up a few weeks later - so my father was delighted to
have many boxes and bags going toward that cause. (We later learned that the
church made much more at that sale than ever before, and my father felt so good
Distribute memories to
It was perfect that my aunt could have immediate choice of anything she'd
like to remember her only sister by, and to advise in the selection of items for
the rest of her family. But I knew of many old friends and other relatives, and
I'd been meeting a number of local people in the community they retired to who
were important to my parents and vice versa, and I wanted each of these
to have something special. My father helped me to make a list of individuals,
and to pick out jewels, scarves, books or the like that they might like and
would remind them of my mother; and I wrote notes of explanation and thanks to
go with each of them. Here was another layer of "wealth" siphoned off
in a heartwarming way.
Donating to charitable
sites where that wealth will do the most good:
A few months later, my father was gone also... and so on to a whole house
full of stuff. I've done yard sales, but I couldn't price my parents'
belongings - it took long enough to sift through it all and quickly sort out the
prizes from the useful objects and the junk. I knew which of the local thrift
stores was their favorite, the one that trained and hired developmentally
disabled people to refurbish the resurrectable and work in the store... so off
to that store I went a number of times - to be greeted by some absolutely lovely
people who really made my day with their stress-free smiles.
Recycle the true
Most of the actual junk, of course, was recyclable - and many trips were made
to the most well-thought-out recycling center I'd ever been to, so I learned
Have a party - even, a
This idea is from a woman in North Carolina named Clare Stone Altmann, from
the July 2009 Guideposts magazine: Invite all of your loved one's local
friends to a (birthday?) party to celebrate his or her life - and let them know
that you'd like them to take whatever they'd like of what they see as a
remembrance... in exchange for a donation to the loved one's favorite charity.
Set up the houseful of objects like a boutique, with similar items stylishly
grouped together as in a store - and have fun!
What other ways can you come up with to "recycle your inheritance"
and make handling the physical aspects of an estate more love than labor?