Death and auctions, don’t let it happen to you

Death and auctions, don’t let it happen to you

All my life, I looked forward to retirement. Then I got there, and two weeks later the big, bad, ugly pandemic started and screech — no one’s having any fun. All the activities I thought I’d be doing in retirement aren’t happening yet, like exercise classes, eating out and taking weekend trips.

Hopefully that will change soon, but one of the most surprising things about retirement is I’m tending to think more about that next big step in life, and that would be death — a wonderful topic for the holiday season.

I’d like to postpone that as long as possible, but there’s also something else I’d like to avoid as well. We’ve all seen it. That would be the big auction at your home after you’re gone. All the valuable stuff you couldn’t live without and that you spent your whole life collecting is thrown into boxes and laid out on your front yard for anyone who wants to go through it. And for a few bucks they’re taking it home too.

Not this girl! Do I really need all this stuff? According to the Hoarders television show scale, my house is immaculate, but I’d still like to pare down.

I’m not doing well at all on this yet, but my plan is to declutter, sell, give away to family or donate all the stuff I’m not using. I want to end up with so little that when I’m gone, the remaining family members can just drop by and load up an item or two in their truck that they’d like to take home. Maybe there’d still be one load to go to the thrift store, but that’s it — no fuss, no muss, no crazy shoppers eyeballing your former stuff.

Plus, you realize the mess is yours, and I don’t want to leave it for someone else.

Of course, if Joe is the long-lived one, he’ll delight in getting rid of my stuff. He’ll probably be on the phone renting a dumpster the same day or calling the thrift store to schedule a drop-off.

If only I’d done a better job all my life of managing my stuff, but when you’re working, it’s easier to just shove stuff out of sight in a closet or attic. I’m hoping to live to a ripe, old age because I’m going to need the extra time to clean out.

Right now there are about 10 pairs of prepandemic jeans sitting in a basket upstairs that I’m hoping to get back into someday. I would hate to get rid of them because I like the regular denim jeans and a lot of jeans anymore are the stretchy jeans. Although stretchy jeans have their good points, I don’t like them as much because they tend to slide south all the time if you are not wearing a belt and you’re forever pulling them up.

I have been going through and donating items from my closet and clothes drawers, but it’s a slow process.

I have some collections that need to be thinned out, but the one thing I’m not going to get rid of is my cookbook collection, even though one time I told my husband Joe I was going to — I lied. I started that collection when we were first married, and it is always fun to go through the books, find new recipes, and make up menus and shopping lists.

I’ve decided not to go back to an outside-the-home day job if I can help it, so I finally am donating my old lunch box, just to get it out of the house. I didn’t want to though. The memories are there, and I still used it when we were going to be away for the day to take snacks. I still had it packed with the necessities like plastic silverware and dental floss.

But I don’t need the old one. We did buy an extra lunch bucket a few years ago that’s still new in the box. And that’s another problem with stuff — duplicates.

We have lots of multiples of cleaning products, car care products, soap and shampoo. We are hoping to live long enough to use it up. It probably doesn’t sell well at auctions.

But let’s not cut out too much stuff. As much as I like watching the tiny house shows, I don’t think I can pare down that far. Still, I’m going to try. With cold weather moving in, I’m hoping to have more time to address the stuff.

Maybe I will get rid of those prepandemic jeans.