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                                                             on Gopher (inofficial)
   URI Visit Hacker News on the Web
       
       
       COMMENT PAGE FOR:
   URI   The great junk transfer is coming
   DIR   text version
       
       
        lbschenkel wrote 2 days ago:
        I think that emigrating killed any hoarding tendencies I may have had.
        I went to live in another country with two suitcases as my possessions,
        and left everything else behind. Although scary, I don't miss any of
        those things and it was one of the most liberating things I have ever
        done because it thought me that the objects we accumulate are not
        really that important.
       
        ThinkBeat wrote 2 days ago:
        This is also about a change from living in houses with some
        real estate to living in small boxes stacked on top of each other
        in a dense city.
        
        Depending on your family history and where you live maybe this
        transition was done a generation before, or even longer, but
        for many who have parents and grand parents this is the shift
        from houses in more rural areas, or houses with a garden and some
        space to dense urban living.
        
        People in small, stacked boxes do not like stuff because there is
        little space for stuff.
        
        They are trained to rent everything. 
        Box, music, movies, games, car, bike, scooter, sports equipment, 
        tools, a space for parties, coffee, cooking, books, photo albums,
        Less common: furniture, clothing
        
        Perhaps in a few decades what a new generation will leave behind is
        nothing.
        
        Some will say that is great.  
        People in small, stacked boxes more than others.
        
        I think it is a tragedy.
        
        There is real wealth that is transferred, but there is so much more.
        A mosaic of how your parents lived, their culture, what they learned,
        and what they treasured.
        
        My father's rich record collection.
        
        From a different time and place. 
        A time capsule.
        
        Books, some have been handed down in generations. 
        Most now impossible to buy.
        
        Tools of all sorts.
        Some have old and well used and still working and 
        great to own if you have a house with some property.
        
        All is stuff and stuff is junk now.
        
        Your grandchildren will have no idea about how you lived and what you
        experienced. There will be no record collection, books, tools.
        
        I do live in a small, stacked box myself and these things I find
        tragic.
        
        Others will find freedom.
       
        dangan wrote 4 days ago:
        My father in law dumped 6 giant totes of my wife's childhood belongings
        on us right before we moved into our new home. It was a 1000 mile move
        so basically we had to pay hundreds of dollars for a bunch of crap she
        didn't even remember having.
       
        ghaff wrote 4 days ago:
        >An exponential growth in storage lockers that are never emptied.
        
        Based on a couple of relatively recent experiences, you probably
        shouldn't get a storage locker unless it's to bridge some specific
        short-term need. Otherwise, you're paying monthly rent, mostly kicking
        the can down the road, and potentially creating an unnecessary chore
        when someone--who may not even live locally--has to clean out the unit.
       
          MerelyMortal wrote 3 days ago:
          Assuming they even know about the locker in time to go through it
          before the payments lapse and it goes to auction.
       
        deanCommie wrote 4 days ago:
        Almost 400 comments, and noone seems to be getting to the crux of the
        issue:
        
        This is about mortality, legacy, and humanity's fundamental inability
        to effectively deal with death.
        
        The "junk" is memories. A lifetime of memories of people important to
        us - important to them - a record of their accomplishments. It was the
        best they could do. Not everyone gets a library wing, a mausoleum, or a
        wikipedia page. But for a brief moment maybe you have your stuff - and
        stuff triggers memories that your life actually happened and had
        meaning.
        
        And then you're gone, and it all becomes a useless burden.
        
        Yes, it's frustrating. But it's more existential than that. When you
        clean out your parents' junk, you have to confront with the reality
        that in some years someone else will be cleaning out yours. And the
        memories you're making of the rich and powerful experiences you had
        will also disappear into the aether.
        
        That is disturbing and upsetting to most humans. I'm impressed so many
        commenters here can be completely detached from it.
       
        mensetmanusman wrote 4 days ago:
        Recently had to do something like this. Here is how I wrapped my mind
        around it:
        
        Get a large number of identical plastic storage boxes, take a quick
        picture of everything as you put it in a box, fill the box, put a
        number on it, take a picture of the box - done. Repeat.
        
        This helped me bypass the physical organization stage of sorting,
        because before you pack everything, you don’t know what exists yet.
        Once everything is boxed up and documented, all you have to do is make
        an excel sheet of what is in each box, and then search through that
        instead of searching through a physical box.
        
        Tl;dr > replace physical sorting with digital sorting.
       
        waynesonfire wrote 4 days ago:
        not surprised, the cheap crap we buy from china isn't worth keeping.
       
        kodah wrote 4 days ago:
        My dad had a brief encounter with a coma and it really brought the
        mountain of his belongings to the forefront of my mind. Books, comics,
        baseball cards, knives, guns, and other collectibles. Where he stores
        all this is a giant building that looks like a barn.
        
        After his coma I talked to him about my fears of dealing with this and
        the issues I had trying to reverse engineer his finances from
        QuickBooks. He was actually very receptive, and it was an opportunity
        for him to share his thoughts on life and death with me. Since then
        he's earmarked or given away a lot of things, and the building is much
        more organized.
        
        If you find yourself in a situation like the article, don't wait until
        someone died to deal with those things. In my dad's coma, I observed my
        own mental state; everything I saw was a collection of memories of my
        dad, I couldn't fathom if he passed what to do with all of it (and my
        mother would need to move). I had no hierarchy that correlated things
        that remind me of him and things that were valuable to him. Those
        things were impossible to know without a conversation.
       
          Merad wrote 4 days ago:
          > If you find yourself in a situation like the article, don't wait
          until someone died to deal with those things.
          
          You may not have a choice in the matter.  My own dad is 75, my mom
          passed away two years ago.  I've tried several times to nudge him in
          the direction of dealing with some of his stuff, but he's not
          interested at all.  He's not willing to part with any of mom's things
          because I think he feels like that would be some kind of betrayal of
          her memory.  I hope he'll get better about that with time, but there
          are still plenty of things that are "his" that he doesn't want to let
          go of.    We had a debate just a few weeks ago about a push mower
          that's been used maybe twice in the last decade.  I told him that he
          should sell it or give it away while it can still be useful to
          someone, he insisted that he might need it someday.  He won't... he
          has a riding mower and weed eater for maintaining his yard, and he's
          almost at the point where he can't use them.  My parents weren't
          hoarders by any means, but they both grew up poor in the 1950s which
          left its mark on them, and living in the same home for nearly 50
          years gives you the chance to accumulate a lot of stuff.
       
        maerF0x0 wrote 4 days ago:
        One says "junk transfer" another sees opportunities.
        
        Jewelry likely can be smelted, stones reset in modern settings.
        
        Tools can be refurbished and/or moved into 3rd world markets where
        things are often repaired.
        
        Ok, trinkets and doilies really are junk, perhaps a handful for movie
        sets?
        
        Hopefully some bright and hustle style entrepreneurs can find ways to
        upgrade this junk into the hands that rightfully could use them.
        
        The part I'm particularly hopeful about is more homes coming on the
        market. Yes they may want for a renovation/updating but think of the
        multibedrom family homes that grandma is living in housing 1-2 ppl and
        soon could house a whole family? That's going to be helpful to those
        currently priced out of the market.
       
        at_a_remove wrote 4 days ago:
        Here is the hard one: photos, report cards, all of the "familial
        documentation."  I am a technically-only child and will have no
        children myself.  What will I do with these photos of my mother as a
        young girl?  I've no-one to pass them onto.
       
        walnutclosefarm wrote 4 days ago:
        My parents lived on the same farm for 70 years, a mile from where my
        father's parents had lived since 1905.     If you think a suburban home
        can fill up, just imagine a place with all kinds of outbuildings, and
        two adults who having grown up dirt poor in the depression, could see
        potential value in almost anything.   But when my father became too
        incapacitated by age to maintain the place, they bought a new townhouse
        in the small prairie town 7 miles from the farm, selected the things
        that they needed and wanted to occupy that space, including a few
        things they thought they should pass on to their children.  Then they
        sold everything else, including the homestead, at auction.   Us kids
        were permitted to buy anything we wanted personally, of course, but at
        the auction.   Costs for us could come from our eventual inheritance,
        if necessary (in the end, nothing that valuable went to any of us).   A
        week preparing for the auction, and a morning, and it was all gone.
        
        Now in my own retirement, I have been thinking a lot about what happens
        to our own homestead, and the tools and detritus of a lifetime that it
        contains.   I've been diligently culling things that I know I won't be
        able to use in the next 20 years (which is probably the most I've got
        here), either through Craigslist or the like where an item is still of
        use to someone, or to by disassembling them and recycling the materials
        (where feasible), or hauling to the landfill (where recycling is not
        feasible) for those things that are no longer likely to be useful to
        anyone.
        
        But that will still leave a lot of stuff.   Multiple looms, spinning
        wheels and associated equipment and fiber material from my wife;
        innumerable tools and machines that I still use regularly in the
        orchard, woods, garden, and wood and metal shops; a library of
        thousands of volumes.
        
        We have a neighbor 15 years older than us who, faced with this problem
        and no children who wanted their homestead, which they, like us, had
        built up from bare land over 40 years, found a much smaller place,
        moved what they wanted there, and sold the homestead, furnishing
        included. to a younger couple wanting to start a rural life.   I like
        that idea ... make it someone else's problem, but also boon.   My own
        kids will get and have enough that we can afford to sell at a discount
        if someone who really values the place and supporting materials comes
        along.
       
        tediousdemise wrote 4 days ago:
        George Carlin wasn't wrong when he said houses are just a place to put
        our stuff. Why are we all so attached to stuff?
        
        I've found myself slowly letting go of material things, and with that
        comes a feeling of tranquility.
       
        possiblydrunk wrote 4 days ago:
        One of the hardest things in life is knowing when to cash in your
        chips.    Most wait too long.
       
          MerelyMortal wrote 3 days ago:
          My dad collects things that only people his age collect.  I've told
          him that my and my siblings don't want them when he dies, and they're
          only valuable while other people his age are still alive, thus if he
          wants to extract value from them, he needs to sell them immediately
          yesterday.  He's a hoarder though, so someone lucky will buy the very
          valuable things today for a fraction of a penny on the dollar five
          years from now, assuming I can find a buyer if the economy is in a
          depression.
       
        DonBarredora wrote 4 days ago:
        This is the most first world problem I've ever seen.
       
        HollowEyes wrote 4 days ago:
        I have silly items of zero value, that my partner would throw in a
        heartbeat.  I have wires and gadgets rarely used. And books they are
        not I inerested in.  If I dropped tomorrow, my cooking pans and teddy
        bear would be all that remained!
        
        We had seven days to clear my Dad's which was our family home.    Not
        even enough time to review trinkets and resurface memories.  A few
        useful items went to charity.  The rest the scrap heap.  And I was
        limited as to what I could take.  I took a multimeter and, a drill, and
        a barometer.   Could have done with some furniture, plants and other
        stuff, but it was just too bulky to deal with.
        
        My Mum sits on a pile of organised rubbish.  And shortly after she
        shuffles off, the lot will go in the bin.
        
        But then, my family and I have nothing of value.  Which does at least
        save on any squabbling.
        
        Both my parents have and had loads and loads of stuff.    My Dad had
        about five car carcasses.  Three sheds of wood.  And other junk.  It's
        pretty selfish leaving others to deal with your shit.  I know that
        sounds cold, but it ruins people.
       
        RickJWagner wrote 4 days ago:
        My mother died last year at 92.  She was a very wise woman.
        
        One of the 'gifts' she gave her children was to intentionally
        de-clutter several times.  She'd offer us her possessions periodically
        and would refuse material gifts for holidays or birthdays.  At the end,
        she lived in a small apartment with sparse furnishings.
        
        She also managed her own funeral, making arrangements for all the
        necessary processes.
        
        Her passing was very difficult, but much, much less than it could have
        been.
        
        I hope to do the same for my children one day.
       
        beej71 wrote 4 days ago:
        I'm fortunate that Mom and Dad have been considering this and have been
        actively thinning their possessions as they age.
        
        For about the last 10 years, their "birthday presents" to us kids have
        been things from the house. (Us kids are old and don't need typical
        presents. The nostalgic stuff is better now, anyway.)
       
        1970-01-01 wrote 4 days ago:
        I have hundreds of computer and service manuals for electronics that I
        will never see again. Part of me wants to give it away, part of me
        wants to retire and open a vintage repair shop. Everyone under 30 sees
        it as a pile of trash. Worst case scenario: they can all be thrown into
        the recycle bin.
       
          sterwill wrote 4 days ago:
          If you have the time, you might consider scanning some of those
          manuals and uploading them to a site like
          
   URI    [1]: http://bitsavers.org
       
        bityard wrote 4 days ago:
        Why is everyone acting like this is not already a solved problem? Heirs
        are not forced to spend hundreds of hours sifting through their parents
        stuff... If that is too much of a burden, just call up the nearest
        estate sale company. They will do it all for you.
       
          eropple wrote 4 days ago:
          Some people feel obligations that you do not. Empathy matters.
       
        angst_ridden wrote 4 days ago:
        My father's family lost everything in the Great Depression. His
        earliest memories were of moving out of the mansion into successively
        smaller houses. My mom is the daughter of refugees who often went
        hungry in their early years in the US. When I was growing up in the
        80s, we lived in relatively wealth, but I thought we were poor. We had
        economizing rituals that are laughable in retrospect: we'd save
        everything including used tin cans, we would share a single teabag for
        making tea at breakfast, nothing ever got replaced if it could be fixed
        (Dad still keeps an 1980s-era microwave working, although over the
        years he's had to replace half the components on the main board).
        
        My parents' house is now probably worth millions. They had careers and
        have savings and are living out a very comfortable retirement. There's
        a house full of stuff that I'll have to deal with one day. It will be
        hard, but I will try to look at it as a meditation on the challeneges
        they went through and how they coped.
        
        I expect one of the hardest parts to be books. I was raised to think of
        books as practically sacred. Every inch of the house is stacked deep in
        books: art books, science books, old books, mass market books ...
        Libraries might want 1% of them, but they'd sell the others at
        fundraisers for a nickel or maybe just send them off to be pulped.
        
        There's also my dad's old computer stuff. I think there's a PDP-11
        rotting in the garage. When I was a kid, there was a big old analog
        computer out there. I suspect these will be re-homable.
       
        havblue wrote 4 days ago:
        Realizing that someone has too much junk that you're going to inherit
        is easy. Convincing them to do something about it is hard.
        
        I'm unfortunately going to have to face this scenario with my in-laws
        and I'm not looking forward to the arguments in the future about a
        whole storage building of junk that we're going to inherit soon. Rusted
        cars. Art from the eighties nobody wants. Furniture. Medical records.
        Lots of planned projects that will never be realized.
       
        jakedata wrote 4 days ago:
        I collect phonograph records, generally from thrift/charity shops. It
        is always an interesting glimpse into someone's life when an entire
        record collection (minus anything actually valuable of course) ends up
        there after a house cleanout. Sometimes a bit of the personality shines
        through, and if there is a name I can often get more context.
        
        I recently discovered an acetate home recording from the 1940s that had
        a name on it. I discovered that the family still lived in the area and
        a little research let me reach out to one of the children to return it
        to them. They had no idea of the recording's existence, it just went
        out with all the other stuff.
        
        It's probably a great premise for an extreme cold case murder mystery.
       
        JoeAltmaier wrote 4 days ago:
        Recently had this experience. It helped me to consider it this way:
        
        An old stage theatre has finally closed, after nearly a century in
        operation. I had the task of emptying the prop room. Going through it,
        I found very recognizable things from shows I knew and loved. Also some
        things I maybe remembered, but not sure what script it supported. And
        lots of stuff, no idea why it was there or what show it was in.
        
        Anyway, it's just props. The actors have done their lines, the shows
        long finished their runs, the audiences come and gone. The important
        part, the only part that really stays with us is the memory of the
        performances and how that changes us.
        
        So sure, keep a prop or two if they are particularly commemerative. But
        don't worry about the rest. They can move on to another performance in
        another theatre elsewhere, or even the bonfire if that's their fate.
        Others should have them if they find them useful for their audiences.
        
        Thinking about that helped frame it for me.
       
          buzzert wrote 2 days ago:
          Very beautifully said!
       
          randomsearch wrote 4 days ago:
          Thanks, that really helped. Perhaps a good framing for life and
          episodes within it too.
       
        llamajams wrote 4 days ago:
        Jeez, At least y'all have someone giving. You could have noone and
        nothing and have to do it all from scratch by yourself.
       
        ransom1538 wrote 4 days ago:
        I went to a storage shed once with my wife. Her father put a bunch of
        stuff in a  shed including hers.  The storage shed manager:
        
        "Yep. Parents store a bunch of shit the kids don't want. The parents
        die off, then the kids empty it, then add a bunch of shit 
        their kids don't want into it.    The cycle continues. "
       
        pfdietz wrote 4 days ago:
        We moved across the country a few years ago after living in one place,
        raising kids, for more than two decades.
        
        The experience of disposing of accumulated junk was very cathartic, and
        has led us to both reduce accumulation of more junk and look critically
        at what we still have.    We're not close to death (I hope!) but we've
        left things in a much tidier state for the kids when we do go.
       
        maffydub wrote 4 days ago:
        My grandmother died about 8 years ago.    One of the things I took when
        helping clear out her house was a white plastic chopping board - it was
        probably pretty cheap to buy, but I just hadn't got one at the time.  I
        still use it almost every day... and remember her.
       
          cameron_b wrote 4 days ago:
          I think this is the spot-on critique of the attitude in the article.
          
          I was in college when my mother's parents died a few years apart.
          They had all kinds of stuff, but I actually appreciated getting some
          of their kitchen utensils. Not the flatware, but the knives ( not
          great ones, just okay ), the slotted spoons, the mixing bowls, hand
          mixer, things like that. I didn't have any of that stuff. It isn't
          worth much money, but when you don't have that stuff it is
          non-negligible to buy especially with the decision cost.
          
          I still use two of the knives for the rougher work in the kitchen and
          camping.
          
          It brings to mind the story of Jesus talking to the "Rich young
          ruler" [0]
          Where they guy is dismayed at confronting the idea - as we might
          translate here in this discussion - that his possessions are a great
          burden and not at all as valuable to anyone as they feel to him.
          Jesus' instructions seem economically wrong ( Wouldn't some of the
          stuff convey more value if simply given away instead of sold and
          given as money? ) but that seems to be the point being made for this
          individual. ( something of "you think you know what's right, what's
          valuable, but it's all just a mess" )
          
          [0] -
          
   URI    [1]: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2010%3A17-...
       
            roflyear wrote 4 days ago:
            I was too young to care about those things, but I wish I was able
            to get some of my grandparents cast iron.
       
        zokier wrote 4 days ago:
        One thing I don't see discussed is how increased longevity means that
        the inheritors are also older. This means that they have more and more
        of their own junk to deal with. Even the grandchildren are getting
        relatively old these days; it is different situation to receive stuff
        from grandparents when you are just getting your own home set up vs
        really already having everything you possibly could want
       
        Beltiras wrote 4 days ago:
        Oh gods I can relate to this article. I am moving from Iceland to
        Tenerife in the next 2-3 years (just made up my mind last month) and I
        have a 163 sqm house full of "stuff" I need to reduce to 4 large
        suitcases in less than 24 months. I dread it but a bonus is that I
        won't leave a pile of garbage for my kids to clean up once I kick the
        bucket.
       
        basisword wrote 4 days ago:
        Is it just me or is that article written by, and this thread full of,
        assholes? Your parents are dead and you’re complaining about having
        to sort through their stuff and deal with their horrible taste in
        furniture? If you don’t want to deal with it have it all collected
        and sent to landfill and get on with your life. I’m genuinely
        surprised at how miserable and selfish sounding a lot (not all) of the
        people in this thread are.
       
          roflyear wrote 4 days ago:
          HN is full of assholes.
       
          noneeeed wrote 4 days ago:
          My father passed away suddenly last week.
          
          I would love to be able to just get someone in to clear the house and
          "get on with my life", but it doesn't work like that when someone
          dies.
          
          Instead of being able to just grieve I spent all weekend digging
          through 40 year old bank statements and other crap trying to find all
          the documents that we need to be able to register the death so we can
          actually bury him.
          
          And no, I'm not going to just get someone in to clear the place out,
          because in all the crap is stuff that matters. Some of it will be
          paper, like his hand-draw schematics from when he worked on Concorde,
          some of it will be objects like his first camera, or the model of a
          ship he built when he was young that's in a cupboard somewhere, some
          will be photos. But all this stuff is buried under all the
          meaningless objects he filled his house with (how many torches does
          one man really need?).
          
          The problem with accumulating crap is not the crap itself, it's the
          way it acts as a barrier to all the stuff that mattered, both to him
          and to us.
          
          I had been slowling trying to sort all his stuff out before he died,
          and as we did so we'd uncover little mementos and memory joggers
          (great for a man in the early stages of dementia). Each one would
          spark a conversation and his eyes would light up and his voice would
          get all excited and I'd learn something new about my dad, some new
          story.
          
          But 95% of the time was just going though tax returns from when he
          was 30 and insurance documents for policies that expired in the 90s,
          and pointless objects that were only there because my parents
          couldn't go into a garden center without buying some nik-nak.
          
          So no, I'm not complaining about all the crap because I'm an asshole.
          I'm lamenting all the time and effort lost, that could have been
          better spent with my father when he was alive, and with his memory
          now he's dead, but which I and my siblings instead have to devote to
          trying to excavate what's important.
       
            dgellow wrote 4 days ago:
            Sorry for your loss :(
       
              noneeeed wrote 4 days ago:
              Thanks.
              
              In a way it was good, we'd been planning for a long, slow decline
              into immobile sinility due to alzheimers and vascular dementia,
              but in the end he died at home in his sleep, two days after
              seeing all his kids. He was already getting quite distressed by
              his memory loss, and would have hated being dependent on carers
              for everything or ending up in a home.
              
              Go see you parents everyone, you might not have as much time as
              you think.
       
          mattlondon wrote 4 days ago:
          I think the point is that people are obviously sad and grieving about
          their parents' death, and that then having to deal with their
          possessions is additional grief.
          
          Someone kept something useless and valueless for decades. It clearly
          meant something to your recently-deceased parent, so if you just bin
          it without thinking then that feels like a betrayal to me. Imagine if
          you walked into your parents' house when they were alive and just
          started binning their momentos/prized-possesions/favourite
          cups/tools/etc right in front of their face - what would the reaction
          be from them?
          
          I don't think people begrudge the time and effort so much, just that
          they are upset at having to make decisions on what to keep and what
          not to keep, especially if they are already grieving.
          
          I've got some of this on the horizon for my in-laws.  I feel like if
          I do the clearance and not my wife we can find a happy medium - I
          know the in-laws well enough and long enough to treat it with respect
          and deference, but I am also distanced enough to not get all tied up
          in sorrow about old childhood memories or whatever, and hopefully be
          able to move quickly(or if nothing else to genuinely clear out the
          trash and leave the personal stuff to the wife to look through)
       
          FooHentai wrote 4 days ago:
          I found out overnight my dad passed away. Here's the thing - I might
          come here and post some thoughts about the big clutter horde at his
          place that'll need to be sorted out. I'm certainly not coming here to
          talk about how I feel about my dad passing away. Because.. why would
          I do that? Who are you people to me? Who am I, or my dad, to any of
          you?
          It would be pretty weird to do the latter, not the former. One is a
          shareable likely relateable situation with the potential for insight
          and interesting discussion. The other is a personal matter that
          doesnt belong on a generic online commenting platform.
          I think most people understand this.
       
            dgellow wrote 4 days ago:
            I’m just an internet stranger but let me share that I feel sorry
            for your loss.
       
            Shermanium wrote 4 days ago:
            sorry for your loss.
       
            onlyrealcuzzo wrote 4 days ago:
            Am I reading this correctly?
            
            You're saying it's NOT relatable that your dad died and you're sad,
            but it is relatable that your dad died and left behind a mess?
       
              FooHentai wrote 4 days ago:
              You'll have to forgive me that my thoughts are a little muddled
              on the whole issue right now. My core point is that one aspect of
              the situation feels quite appropriate to discuss here, while the
              other more intimate (and central) one does not. The outcome,
              assuming most other people also feel that way, is that the
              discussion here is not representative of the grief experienced
              when a close relative passes away, and shouldn't be taken as any
              kind of indication about people here 'all being assholes'. And
              that this is expected and fine.
       
          MafellUser wrote 4 days ago:
          It's a bit of a cognitive dissonance yes but I do not think they are
          assholes as you said. They were clearly attached to the items and in
          essence they people those items once shared the connection. Having
          strong emotions is not a bad thing, you need to see over the petty
          complaining.
          
          Quote from the article:
          
          "Sons and daughters who have faced the chore describe wrestling with
          how to do it properly, respectfully and fairly (also cheaply and
          quickly) while ghosts hover. The whole process shakes awake buried
          sorrows, sibling rivalries, family dysfunction. It is never just
          about the the stuff."
       
            zrail wrote 4 days ago:
            This is accurate in my experience. It's not about the stuff
            directly, it's all the things that the stuff represents to the
            family left behind.
       
        adenozine wrote 4 days ago:
        Hoarding is a revolting, serious antisocial behavior. If your loved
        ones do this, there are counselors and therapists that can address
        this, if the person(s) are ready to accept responsibility and change
        their behaviors.
        
        It’s easy to dismiss it as quirky and harmless but it can get out of
        control if there’s a significant trauma or some other trigger.
       
        lnauta wrote 4 days ago:
        When my grandma died we found something similar. We were getting more
        and more aggressive with shoving stuff into garbage bags, when my mom
        and aunt opened the closet and found clothes of my deceased
        grandfather. He had died ten years before my birth. Most of it was
        falling apart, except for a tuxedo that fitted me nicely! A good catch
        for a day of clearing out this apartment.
       
        einpoklum wrote 4 days ago:
        Somehow I am not very moved by people who have inherited houses having
        to go to the bother of sorting through yet more stuff they've inherited
        along with real-estate. For many younger people in the US (perhaps even
        most of them?) buying a house is either a pipe dream or a life-long
        debt-servicing endeavor.
       
        iamben wrote 4 days ago:
        My mother is very pragmatic about this. She took me and my brother
        aside and (to paraphrase) said "You don't need sentimental a attachment
        to these things. Keep a few bits if you want, get rid of everything
        else. But this, this and this are valuable and you should get them
        properly appraised and then use the money for something you need. The
        rest shift as you want."
        
        As someone who's fairly minimal (and definitely doesn't like clutter)
        it was lovely to hear and has (somewhat!) relaxed me. I'm definitely
        the kind of person who would have felt guilty about shifting the things
        she has chosen to surround herself with otherwise.
       
          s1mon wrote 4 days ago:
          Be careful with appraisers. They essentially make money by making you
          feel like your collection of stuff is worth something and worth
          insuring. If you get things appraised multiple times over many years,
          you better believe that they will come up with higher values each
          year, otherwise you won't feel good about continuing to use that
          appraiser in the future.
          
          Then when you actually try to sell the item(s), you will discover
          that they are only worth what someone will pay you for them (minus
          the time it takes to find the buyer and manage the transaction).
          
          The "good china" that they got for their wedding with the fancy
          pattern - no younger people want it, especially if it's not in great
          condition and complete. The silverware is only worth something if
          they are solid silver - for their value to melt down - not as cutlery
          or a collectable (and those knives - the handles are hollow).
       
        ramazanpolat wrote 4 days ago:
        Here comes another post to promote "own nothing" era.
       
          eropple wrote 4 days ago:
          This isn't what the article says at all.
       
        Tade0 wrote 4 days ago:
        I hail from a long line of hoarders - it so happens that the three
        previous generations all experienced war and associated loss of all
        possessions.
        
        I know what to do with the mass-produced stuff like furniture,
        souvenirs and electronics, but I'm going to have a hard time parting
        with with things my parents made themselves.
        
        Myself, I include the cost of space occupied by each item I'm
        considering buying. With the real estate prices being what they are
        it's a great way to limit the amount of new stuff pouring in.
       
        femto wrote 4 days ago:
        First thing I did was take a bunch of photos.  One of the things that
        had meaning wasn't the individual items, but the assemblage of the
        whole:    the choices made in the arrangement of tools in the workshop,
        projects being worked on, the "look and feel" of the house.  After that
        I felt I could "disassemble" things without losing too much: in the
        process getting rid of cruft and keeping other stuff.
        
        A big part of the job was "reverse engineering" the things the deceased
        knew but I didn't, and I could no longer ask about.   That random key? 
        Can it go out, or is it irreplaceable and belongs to something that
        matters?
        
        In my mind the best thing a person can do to ease the clean up is leave
        current documentation.    Little things like labeling keys and making
        sure documents have dates.  The things in your head that others can't
        know.
       
          maerF0x0 wrote 4 days ago:
          > Can it go out, or is it irreplaceable and belongs to something that
          matters?
          
          I wonder if there is such a thing as digitizing said keys? Like maybe
          a 3d scanner could archive it incase you find a mysterious locked box
          later?
       
            corobo wrote 4 days ago:
            Use a camera
            
            You can recreate keys from images
       
              maerF0x0 wrote 4 days ago:
              surely this cant be true for most keys? I mean I'm sure for
              regular house keys... But car keys, bike lock keys, padlock keys?
              
              if true then TIL!
       
                alexjm wrote 4 days ago:
                If you have a decent photo of the side of the key, you can make
                a pretty good guess at the bitting code, which is essentially
                the instructions for making a copy.  Here's an example of the
                process:
                
   URI          [1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoRyv4ANhM4
       
                corobo wrote 4 days ago:
                Admittedly I was only thinking of like safes and lockboxes,
                stuff you could probably open without the key anyway given a
                bit of time
                
                I doubt there's any forgotten  houses or cars in my family's
                junk collection in any case and I have no use for old bike
                locks and padlocks, they'd binned anyway whether I found a
                matching key or not
       
          JKCalhoun wrote 4 days ago:
          The article itself illustrates the photo-aspect of it. There are some
          very touching photos of personal items in the article. No doubt the
          photos themselves (especially artfully shot) will give some of the
          same emotional fulfillment.
       
        jokoon wrote 4 days ago:
        I guess somebody will come up with an app to sort all this out so that
        a few of those objects can find new users.
        
        The amazon of used stuff.
        
        Not to mention the recycling of things people nobody wants.
       
          aurea wrote 4 days ago:
          What would be the added value of that app compared to already
          existing options? Where I live (Switzerland) there are already
          several nation-wide websites where you can publish ads for things you
          want to sell or give away. And it is absolutely free. Furthermore, as
          already mentioned in the thread, many charities can clean up a home
          if needed.
       
        spinaltap wrote 4 days ago:
        Fortunately, I like to collect digital things while being minimalistic
        with physical things. When I die, I'll just tell my children to bury my
        hard drives with me.
       
        tyiz wrote 4 days ago:
        Wasn’t this the case with every generation? This is not boomer
        specific at all.
       
          eropple wrote 4 days ago:
          Arguably not in the way it is today, with the advent of consumer
          industrialization making it way easier to have stuff.
       
        danielovichdk wrote 4 days ago:
        Stay away, as much as possible, from physical items.
        
        They will serve as a pair of handcuffs and make your life harder to
        move around in.
        
        If you feel comfort in things you should try to get out more and
        experience what else life can give you.
        
        Sell it all or give it away. It's fake comfort and it comes with a
        different cost than what you paid for it in the first place.
       
        johnsanders wrote 4 days ago:
        I got it when i saw that dirty green Coleman flashlight.  Who'd keep
        that?  But ours was red, we used it at night on our farm and I vividly
        remember how that button felt and sounded when you clicked it on or
        off.
       
          sitkack wrote 4 days ago:
           [1] one of these?
          
   URI    [1]: https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/V94AAOSwmL9f8vwL/s-l300.jpg
       
        nasmorn wrote 4 days ago:
        In my twenties I was cleaning out my apartment if some old stuff and my
        in laws who had a cat said they would take the boxes to the dump. Turns
        out they kept the stuff and I had to get rid of it again when my FIL
        died.
       
        accountofme wrote 4 days ago:
        I'm just curious how boomers lived through the great depression.....
       
          bontaq wrote 4 days ago:
          The article says, "The parents of baby boomers, the oldest generation
          alive today, were savers, having learned in the lean times of war and
          the Great Depression to treasure what they owned."
       
            accountofme wrote 2 days ago:
            Now I see it. I misead.
       
            accountofme wrote 3 days ago:
            Yes but boomers were born after World war 2 (1945) ... The great
            depression was 1929 - 1939... Before WW2.
       
        helsinkiandrew wrote 4 days ago:
        I thinking it was the Canadian sitcom "Kims Convenience" that had the
        excellent line from the father when he was cleaning out his basement
        with his son:
        
        "We're putting things into two piles, one we're throwing away now and
        the other you throw away when your mother and I have died."
       
          thedailymail wrote 4 days ago:
          Thanks - that made me laugh!
       
        Mountain_Skies wrote 4 days ago:
        Generational differences in tastes will take its toll on some of this
        more than other bits. I don't know anyone under the age of 40 who cares
        one bit about fine china and china cabinets. As more and more people
        who collected china die off, there's a bigger glut of it. Collections
        that took a lifetime and thousands of dollars to accumulate end up
        going for pennies at estate sales while the cabinets end up in a
        landfill. Pianos seem to be going the same way. Probably grandfather
        clocks too. There are some younger folks who are interested in these
        things but not enough to sop up the ever increasing supply coming in
        from estates.
       
          ncpa-cpl wrote 4 days ago:
          > I don't know anyone under the age of 40 who cares one bit about
          fine china and china cabinets
          
          Definitely. My parents house has a china cabinet, with china dishes
          no-one is allowed to use. I've never understood why, I'll ask them
          tonight.
       
            chihuahua wrote 4 days ago:
            "Why" - people apparently thought that owning that sort of thing
            was a sign of being "grown-up", and you were supposed to do that if
            at all possible, to show that you're a respectable person.
            
            But in reality, those reasons are nonsense. Relics of a past age.
            
            Also, convincing the entire population that owning a large set of
            useless expensive things is essential to a successful life is a
            good way to sell a lot of stuff and keep your China cabinet factory
            in business.
       
          fallingfrog wrote 4 days ago:
          I feel like having the fine china in your house is a flex, like
          you're saying "my home is so big I have space to fill it with a bunch
          of dishware I never use."  From my vantage point today it seems as if
          status symbols were a much bigger deal back then.  I considered
          getting rock countertops for my kitchen at one point, but I realized
          that a) I don't actually care if my countertops are plastic and b)
          none of my friends care either.  Same with fine china- it wouldn't
          actually impress anyone very much.  The biggest flex you could make
          in the present day would be to tell your friends that your college
          debts were paid off.
       
          maerF0x0 wrote 4 days ago:
          My generation collects tattoos and IG-able experiences. We'll be easy
          to clean up after (save for the environmental impact) .
       
            chihuahua wrote 4 days ago:
            There are definitely advantages to that kind of lifestyle. Also, it
            makes it much easier every time you move to a different
            house/apartment.
       
              maerF0x0 wrote 4 days ago:
              Also great cause we can simply say "Look I have no assets!
              Forgive my student debt!"
       
          BeFlatXIII wrote 4 days ago:
          I bet house price inflation is a factor.  Pianos, china cabinets, and
          grandfather clocks are all a major pain to move and aren't worth
          owning until you have purchased your forever home.
       
          pfdietz wrote 4 days ago:
          At least old silverware can be melted down and recycled (and used to
          make PV modules!)
       
          lebski88 wrote 4 days ago:
          Pianos don't age well. Antique pianos either need an incredible
          amount of money spending on them to restore or they are furniture at
          best. Most pianos were cheap when new and are worth negative money
          once they are old.
       
            lrem wrote 4 days ago:
            > negative money once they are old
            
            At the    very least they should still work as firewood.
       
              zemvpferreira wrote 4 days ago:
              Not even! Burning treated wood is a good way to get a serious
              respiratory illness.
       
              hammyhavoc wrote 4 days ago:
              Releasing more carbon into the upper carbon cycle should be
              avoided if possible.
       
            martyvis wrote 4 days ago:
            Cheap pianos don't age well - quality ones do.
            
            I sold some shares (stock)in 1993 for around $8000. I bought the
            best PC I could get with about $3500 (a 488DX66 with 8MB RAM...). I
            bought my wife a 30 year old Yamaha U3 upright piano for about
            $4000. (It was built the same year I was born).
            
            We still have the U3 (I just looked and they are worth about $7K
            now). I think it is overdue for a tune but it still has that
            beautiful near Grand piano tone.
            
            The PC and the next one and the next one I bought are all in in
            landfill or melted down somewhere.
       
          henrikschroder wrote 4 days ago:
          Oh no, this reminds me that I have a box in my basement with my
          grandparents' wedding china that they got in the 1940's or something.
          My dad gave me the box, and I'm not allowed to throw the thing away
          as long as he lives.
          
          But it's completely useless. It's pretty, but you can't ever use it.
          It's not dishwasher safe, it's extremely fragile, and I cannot
          imagine ever hosting some kind of event where it would be appropriate
          to bust it out. Hell, I don't even know if my grandparents ever used
          it, or if it was just a thing that you "should" collect, and
          therefore they collected it.
          
          It feels like a waste to just throw it out, but I realize you're
          right, there's not gonna be a market for things like this ten,
          twenty, years from now.
       
            dcminter wrote 4 days ago:
            > ...there's not gonna be a market for things like this ten,
            twenty, years from now.
            
            You never know. Vintage fans are a thing, after all (1940s and
            1950s are quite popular). When the time comes, ask around - there
            might be someone keen. Worth checking with family too - there might
            be someone who'll love and use it just for that connection.
       
              henrikschroder wrote 3 days ago:
              The point of the parent poster was that the market is going to be
              completely saturated when the boomers die, because there's way
              more boomers with stuff like this laying around, than vintage
              fans who would appreciate it.
       
              throwaway0a5e wrote 4 days ago:
              It will move down market until supply and demand equalize.
              
              There's a plethora of china cabinets and hutches right now. 
              They'll be used as storage.  And when the supply dries up
              (because 90% of them will have been thrown away or destroyed in
              hard use) people who want one will spend $50 on them.  Metal
              cabinets that held various sizes of card stock went through the
              same thing starting a couple decades ago.
       
        mikehain wrote 4 days ago:
        For years I've been engaged in an enormous decluttering project in the
        house I grew up in. Aside from filling a few huge dumpsters, I went on
        countless trips to scrap yards to recycle metal stuff, to Best Buy for
        electronics recycling, to auto parts stores to get rid of old motor
        oil, to thrift stores to donate useful things, and to a hazardous
        materials disposal facility where I had to pay nearly $700 to
        responsibly dispose of fertilizers, antifreeze, old paint, and so on. I
        also spent entire days digitizing huge amounts of photos and documents.
        It has been a very time-consuming project. My piece of advice to help
        prevent this kind of situation is to keep a big "thrift store donation
        bin" beside your trash and recycling bins.
       
        jmspring wrote 4 days ago:
        My father has been doing a decent job decluttering from things my
        mother accumulated.  She is still alive, but not all there.
        
        He has a safe that has multiple locks that I need to make sure I have
        the code(s) for.
        
        I don’t accumulate stuff and already told my sister when it comes to
        that time, she can grab what she wants.  The rest goes to
        donation/dump.
       
          r2_pilot wrote 4 days ago:
          Regarding the lock, hurry and do that. My family lost the combination
          to our safe when my dad passed away, and it was a long time before we
          regained access (found the note eventually).
       
        yardstick wrote 4 days ago:
        > And, even if they did want them, this Great Intergenerational Dump is
        happening just as millennials are facing a housing crisis, which will
        leave many of them either renting or living in much smaller homes.
        Grandma’s massive china cabinet is not going to fit.
        
        Seems like a weird comment given the possessions were already in a
        property in the first place, and the death of the parents will normally
        result in one of the children inheriting it too. Unless the parents
        were renting, in which case I doubt they had much space or money to
        accumulate too much stuff (this will more likely be my generations
        problem, since homeownership is soo far out of reach for most of us).
       
          salawat wrote 4 days ago:
          Ironically, investment grade housing ensures that for multi-child
          households, the price of a home is generally too high to afford the
          buyout of other family members, so the "family home" is more likely
          to bubble up to someone wealthy enough to buy it as a rental.
          
          Just another way the market perversely guides capital toward a
          centralized population due to the quirks of estate management.
       
          prmoustache wrote 4 days ago:
          As said above, if there is more than one child the most common is
          that the no child can afford or is willing to pay his siblings their
          share of the existing house and it ends up split.
          
          Also most people have their own life/home, often far enough from
          their parents place to want to relocate there.
       
          HideousKojima wrote 4 days ago:
          If there is more than one child then the house will likely be sold
          and the proceeds split.
       
        DeathArrow wrote 4 days ago:
        This article makes me sad. Is this all what it remains when someone
        passes away? A headache, an unpleasant chore? What about memories? Do
        people have no feelings? Are they so selfish?
       
          shp0ngle wrote 4 days ago:
          That’s literally what the article is about?
       
            tediousdemise wrote 4 days ago:
            I think that's the point they were trying to make. I can see things
            from their perspective: it is pretty antisocial and callous to
            focus solely on material things when the fact of the matter is that
            somebody has passed away.
       
        vulcan1964 wrote 4 days ago:
        What will happen to the heaps of digital junk stored on flash drives,
        hard drives, forgotten online accounts? I get overwhelmed thinking
        about organizing my own electronics files… wonder what my kids will
        do with it all.
       
          prmoustache wrote 4 days ago:
          I try to remind myself to print albums on a regular basis as I am
          pretty sure my daughters will be as happy as I am to go through old
          photos albums as the digital stuff will probably be hard to manage.
       
          a9h74j wrote 4 days ago:
          They will do what NASA did: forget how to read all the old tapes.
       
          Freak_NL wrote 4 days ago:
          “Oh. This one is encrypted too. I wonder what mum and dad kept on
          those… Ah well.”
          
          I mean, with digital stuff all the things that may be worthwhile to
          pass on can be passed on easily way in advance because you don't have
          to get rid of anything to do so. Online accounts and such will just
          be forgotten excepting the ones they need to access to finish your
          affairs (like banking).
       
          wonderbore wrote 4 days ago:
          > wonder what my kids will do with it all.
          
          The good part about digital content is that you don't have to do
          absolutely anything with it.
          
          Keep documents and photos accessible, forget the rest.
          
          As we approach multi-generational widespread digital content "cloud"
          services, we'll see more and more companies allowing content to be
          easily passed over to the next generation — but just for reference.
          
          I don't need my father’s iCloud photos, but it'd be nice to take a
          scroll in 20 years.
       
            jodrellblank wrote 2 days ago:
            You won't need grandma's YouTube either, but one of these days the
            videos from your ancestors' early lives will still be there in the
            hundreds of hours of high quality full colour. The idea that old
            people's lives were small black and white portraits once or twice
            per decade and that the past is a long way away, will totally
            collapse in the next 25-100 years. I keep wondering if that's going
            to be a big change to society or not.
       
            smolder wrote 4 days ago:
            The cloud services of big tech cos can be counted on to store
            things cheaply or for free long term, for now. I do not trust them
            to hold onto anything or preserve access to it for 50 or 100 years.
            IMHO, people should be their own digital archivists for the really
            important stuff on those timescales, to avoid the risk of important
            data being discarded or held hostage by profit motivated companies
            at some point down the line we can't see coming yet. "The cloud" is
            young in terms of human life, and the rules we live by are volatile
            on that scale, shifting with transfers of power and depletion (or
            discovery) of important resources.
       
          2000UltraDeluxe wrote 4 days ago:
          I've gone through things like digital photo collections with mine and
          sent whatever they wanted (mostly pictures from their childhoods
          etc). They seem to prefer storing it all in their phones (w. cloud
          backup), but I have it all available through a NAS if they ever want
          it. I suspect that when the missus and I are gone, the physical
          digital stuff like drives and computers will simply be sent to
          recycling.
       
        AnimalMuppet wrote 4 days ago:
        My dad was born at the beginning of the Great Depression.  He told me
        once about being unable to buy thread, not because they didn't have the
        money, but because there was no thread to buy - all the thread
        factories had closed.  You had to re-use thread.
        
        Now imagine that that was all you had known for your entire life up to
        that point.  And you had no idea that it would ever be different.  That
        would shape you.
        
        My dad was a hoarder, at least partly because of that.    When he saw
        something that he could possibly use in some way, he kept it.
        
        My dad died earlier this month.  I'm getting to clean up the mess. 
        It's not fun.  I don't like it.  I find it rather depressing that he
        spent so much effort collecting so much that has so little value.  But
        I can understand why he did.
       
          MandieD wrote 4 days ago:
          I wonder what effect the narrow, intermittent shortages of the past
          2+ years is going to have on what had been the minimalizing
          generations.
          
          Before 2020: having more than a few rolls of toilet paper and an
          extra bottle of cooking and olive oil seemed excessive - I have three
          grocery stores within walking distance!
          
          Now: we always have two month's worth of toilet paper, and are
          currently glad that we started stocking cooking oil, because the
          cheapest available is 5 EUR/liter.
          
          Plus all the little-to-major electronics/amateur radio parts that
          have been really hard to get the last year or so...
       
            MerelyMortal wrote 3 days ago:
            I wonder how the next 10 years is going to effect people.
            
            Our supply chain is crazy complex, and things won't get better as
            companies shut down due to the economies.
       
        smm11 wrote 4 days ago:
        I'm planning on burning my house down.
       
        peter303 wrote 4 days ago:
        PBS has an interesting way of decluttering in the Legacy List series.
        The service asks for 5-10 mementos to (find and) keep. Everything else
        goes to resellers, charity, or garbage. They often choose large estates
        that have been in the family for a century.
       
          a9h74j wrote 4 days ago:
          One bit of advice I took from an old decluttering book: You can only
          sentimentalize a limited number of things, so any mementos of yours
          beyond what are displayed on a single set of shelves should be
          stored/rotated or discarded.
       
        ChuckMcM wrote 4 days ago:
        Cleaning out a parent's house is a singular ritual. For me it reminded
        me that most of the stuff I "value" my kids will not care about, I've
        worked on putting disposal suggestions into my trust documents so that
        not only can they efficiently get rid of the stuff, they will do so
        knowing that it is what I want them to do.
        
        It is the last bit that was hard for me, wondering if my parents would
        be "okay" with me giving this stuff to a person who is clearly just
        interested in making a buck of reselling it rather than cherishing it
        as they did.
       
        gumby wrote 4 days ago:
        My mother in law was born and died in the same room of her house, which
        had been her mother’s (father went to war and was KIA; he’d been
        born in that house).
        
        On of my sisters in law moved in while her mother was dying; she was
        moving out of her husband’s home (he’d grown up there; his father
        had too).  When her mother died, SIL simply kept living there.
        
        I’d sometimes go into the attic and find weird old stuff.  It
        appeared that stuff was discarded when house was renovated or repaired,
        but otherwise simply accreted.
       
        robocat wrote 4 days ago:
        Cleaning up after your parents is a gift you give to them: look at it
        like them paying it forward for all the times the cleaned up after you
        as a child.
        
        Psychologically, mentally, and physically, parents can have difficulty
        tidying up their stuff. My friend’s parents came from very poor
        backgrounds and had a lot of trash. The father had a shed full of stuff
        that was useful to him - he knew what was in it and how to use it. When
        the father died, the stuff in the shed was mostly junk to be sorted
        into scrap metal or put in the skip. A very few useful tools, a bunch
        of valueless obsolete tools, and a little antique/collectable stuff.
        The mother’s stuff was useful or precious to her, mementoes and
        knick-knacks. Plus some hoarder mentality that made sense given her
        background. Mostly valueless stuff to anyone else. What value is a
        drawer of your smalls?
        
        I want my parents to pass their problem down to me and my siblings. I
        think forcing parents to tidy up or downsize can be cruel. Why be
        selfish and needlessly make my parents sad?
       
          dannyphantom wrote 3 days ago:
          > Cleaning up after your parents is a gift you give to them: look at
          it like them paying it forward for all the times the cleaned up after
          you as a child.
          
          This is contextual per family; but absolutely not. There are parents
          who make it known to their children that they were never wanted so
          when a child goes no-contact, the onus of cleaning up after them post
          mortem can be handled by someone else.
       
          thow34wqway wrote 3 days ago:
          >  I think forcing parents to tidy up or downsize can be cruel.
          
          This is on point. Its hard to feel empathy over your age especially
          when you are young. By young i mean under 40's or even 50's.
       
          rumblestrut wrote 3 days ago:
          I’ve done this twice for parents in this year alone.
          
          Yeah, sure, it’s a gift I can give. But also, it took valuable time
          away from other care I could have given, not to mention the time it
          took away from my own family and work.
          
          Overall, it’s a consumption problem that everyone should address
          routinely. We as a society would benefit from editing our own lives
          from time to time, and make this burden less for all parties
          involved.
       
          saturdaysaint wrote 4 days ago:
          This attitude of acceptance is probably the most helpful attitude the
          vast majority of the time, but I was lucky enough to have parents
          that radically minimized their possessions in their early 60's and
          moved into a retirement community, and it has first and foremost been
          a favor to them.  As they've aged a few years, they're just enjoying
          a wildly unencumbered existence with the bare minimum of regular
          maintenance chores.  They're focused on spending time with the people
          they want to, not puttering around the house.  You're right that this
          kind of mindset can't be forced on senior citizens and it bespeaks a
          certain level of affluence, but it is a wonderful way for the elderly
          to live.  I'd encourage children to lay the seeds with their parents
          before they're elderly and more resistant to change.
       
          klyrs wrote 4 days ago:
          I see it in a slightly different light: it's a gift they're giving
          you.  In the cleaning, sorting of junk, I've found countless
          treasures of my dead relatives.  Handling it helped me process my
          grief, reminding me of the good times and the bad.  I leap at the
          opportunity to help clear that stuff out, because it's a powerful
          grief ritual.
          
          Like the folks in the article, most of what my relatives considered
          valuable wasn't, by and large, I only kept little worthless trinkets.
           Like folks in the article, some of my cousins got weird and fought
          over the stuff, but for me, it's just stuff, and I've got too much of
          that already.
       
          snarf21 wrote 4 days ago:
          Well said. The best strategy is to always just say "Yes, thanks!"
          whenever they offer you something they do decide to get rid of. My
          grandma used to bring boxes of junk to family reunions and put it on
          a free table. My sister and I would always be sure to take almost
          everything. She felt better that it was getting "used" and we just
          trashed/donated it as appropriate.
          
          People forget that they kept this "junk" for a reason. When you tell
          them to get rid of it or call it junk, you are insulting them, not
          their possession. It doesn't matter that you think their reason is
          silly. They would think a lot of your stuff is silly too. It is so
          sad that we've lost (almost ?) all ability for empathy. We have
          become so selfish and it is sad.
       
          naravara wrote 4 days ago:
          > I want my parents to pass their problem down to me and my siblings.
          I think forcing parents to tidy up or downsize can be cruel. Why be
          selfish and needlessly make my parents sad?
          
          Lots of people downsize before retiring because they don't want to be
          encumbered by a bunch of junk. It's a lot of work to live in a house
          surrounded by stuff. It's work to maintain the stuff, it makes it
          harder to clean, you have to have a larger living space to house it,
          etc. All of these things are harder on the elderly once they can't
          move around or do physical work as easily anymore.
          
          It's also not just parents to children. Parents don't typically pass
          away at once. Often enough it's one spouse leaving a pile of their
          things for their partner to live with. That can be a weighty reminder
          of grief and once they pass getting rid of any of their things can be
          too emotionally heavy to cope with.
       
          philjohn wrote 4 days ago:
          I was having a tangential conversation with my parents this morning.
          
          They're getting on, and are looking at selling a treasured holiday
          property in a warm country - I originally thought it was due to not
          feeling able, or wanting to, visit - but it's because when they die
          they're worried about me and my brothers having to sort out marketing
          it and paying the inheritance tax.
          
          I pointed out that's not a burden, it'll be fine, we're all adults
          and can sort things like that out - only sell if it they want to
          spend the money on visiting other places, or doing other things, not
          because they worry about being a burden after they're gone.
       
          oh_hello wrote 4 days ago:
          I agree. My parents should enjoy life to the fullest all the way to
          the end. Wasting their golden years cleaning up, planning for death,
          and likely emotionally parting with a lifetime of possessions is not
          something I'd like to foist on them. It will be time-consuming and
          painful for me to do, but so what.
       
            whartung wrote 4 days ago:
            This is very important.
            
            Having cleared out 3 parents and a grandparents house, it gives a
            very stark vision of the destiny of my "stuff". Simply, the bulk of
            it is going into a landfill.
            
            I have no children, I don't think anyone is really going to be
            interested much in the pictures of my cats. Or my family. Or my
            parents. Or any of it.
            
            So, long term, it's all for naught. No museum for us, no trust to
            maintain an estate for strangers to pay tickets and walk through to
            take photos for their homes.
            
            But that doesn't mean tossing it away now. Or ever. I'd like to
            hope I pass surrounded by my home and memories, rather than a
            sterile empty box already conveniently cleaned out for whoever
            becomes my estate administrator (whether it's a friend, or some
            complete stranger).
            
            That said, if you have a collection of anything you deem of value,
            and you care that it does not end up in a landfill, you'd be wise
            to distribute it yourself while you can. Otherwise those years of
            Slurpee cups, Pez dispensers, collectible cereal boxes, etc. will
            not be cared for properly.
            
            I see this all the time on vintage computer forums. Someone with an
            estate of stuff they "think" is "worth something" and want to
            dispose of. Meanwhile, there's always some young Indy posting "that
            belongs in a museum!" and "don't sell it to those vultures on eBay,
            they'll just part it out!".
            
            "Well, perhaps, but if it's not out of the house by Friday, it's
            going to a landfill."
            
            When clearing out an estate house, most people don't have a lot of
            time to do it, much less deal with it properly. It's one thing if
            your loved one is nearby, but quite different if you live far away.
            I had to clear out my fathers house. I live on the West Coast, he
            lived on the East Coast. There were a lot of mementos in there,
            things that have been part of my entire life. I even found the
            TRS-80 that I cut my teeth on in high school, but boxing it up,
            shipping it home, just wasn't practical.
            
            I had a service come in, we cleared it out, I took the important
            papers and a few nicknacks. The rest they hauled off to auction,
            and that was that. I was done in 2 days and on a plane home. Just a
            stark reality.
            
            So, anyway, keep your stuff. Enjoy it. Get more stuff if that suits
            you. Clutter is its own thing, and thats different. Just know that
            at some point, someone is going to come along and most of those
            things will be meaningless to them, and they'll treat it that way.
            
            Another example. There is a house in Pasadena, the Gamble House.
            Craftsman home to nth degree, very well preserved. Visitors look
            upon it in wonder today (I certainly did). The key point is that
            it's not like this was the only house done like this. Several
            houses were done, by "important figures" in the field: architects,
            artisans, etc.
            
            But, in the end, those houses were sold to...people who wanted a
            house. A roof, kitchen, bed and bathrooms. They weren't looking for
            a museum, or an art piece. Many of those houses were torn down,
            remodeled, etc. "OH NO!" some may exclaim, but, that's just the
            truth of it. Like movie makers crashing classic cars, people view
            things differently.
            
            It's just a house, they're just cars.
       
              ghaff wrote 4 days ago:
              I have some things like a fairly big laserdisc collection and
              some vintage (1980s era) computers and probably various other
              things that are presumably worth something to someone. But it's
              honestly not worth my time to pay matchmaker between the stuff
              and that someone.
       
          tomc1985 wrote 4 days ago:
          One of my parents is a hoarder and has filled up a 2500+sqft house
          with junk. It is so bad that there are aisles carved through the
          house so that they can get through it.
          
          My siblings and I have been begging and pleading with them to sort
          this out for the past 20 years. We have offered to help. But they
          haven't, as said parent is "throw themselves in front of the car if
          we try to leave with anything" emotionally attached to this stuff and
          somehow maintains an inventory of everything, including how they
          bought it and how it made them feel.
          
          Now they are getting old and infirm and are barely able to afford the
          house that they are renting, let alone put in the effort to clean it
          up. My siblings and I are going to be stuck with a quagmire where
          they only solution is to pay a professional to come over and clean
          out the house, and that will not be cheap.
       
            HollowEyes wrote 4 days ago:
            I feel your pain.  But they won't change.  We cleared a house in a
            week, that belonged to a hoarder.  It can be done.  And requires a
            week, rather than years of pestering and agonising yourself.
            
            Our neighbour died and the kids just paid not much for house
            clearance, which was a side line of the funeral parlor.  For them
            it's a gamble as to whether they will find something of worth to
            make it worthwhile.
            
            I have another slowly dementing relative with mobility issues. 
            They need space, but will not give up piles of plates, and four
            knive blocks that litter their precious kitchen space.    They don't
            even cook.  It's impossible, and when I dare to help, it is just
            met with derision and scorn.
            
            I chucked ten back issues of phone books/directories and have never
            lived it down.
       
              hinkley wrote 4 days ago:
              It's important to note that anything too big for a vacuum cleaner
              to pick up off of carpet can, with a moment's practice, be picked
              up with a broom and a dust pan. Don't try to separate everything
              into boxes and trashcans by hand. It takes too long and it's hard
              on your back.
              
              Importantly, if trash is a bulk operation, then the cost
              difference between keeping things versus throwing them out
              becomes more pronounced, earlier on.
              
              I'm sure most of us have that experience of figuring out that our
              stuff isn't going to fit in the truck and/or car and all of a
              sudden things we really intended to keep become negotiable.
              Problem is that there are probably three other things you'd be
              more willing to part with, but they're already in boxes in the
              truck.
       
          throwawaylinux wrote 4 days ago:
          Totally agree. I don't want my parents in their golden years to worry
          about having to "clean up" or becoming a burden after they're gone. I
          don't want them to have to think about that at all, I want them to
          have fun and do what they want and spend their time and money how
          they want.
          
          I'll be quite happy to spend a modicum of effort sorting through
          material possessions when the time comes, if it means they get to
          spend just one extra minute creating happiness and joy with their
          grandchildren.
       
          dismantlethesun wrote 4 days ago:
          My parents recently died but before they passed by siblings and I
          were invited to help them declutter (it was Covid and a nursing
          assistant was coming to live with them). It took five trips to get
          things down to normalcy but the benefit I saw was that we got to talk
          with them about their mementos.
          
          Doing it while they are alive is important because you get to here to
          story behind it. Without that it’s just unlabeled and soon to be
          forgotten junk.
       
          audiometry wrote 4 days ago:
          Yeah I “de-thatched” my parents basement by filling up an
          enormous dumpster of shit. Literally things like “oh here are 9 CRT
          monitors that will never be used” etc.  objectively it improved the
          basement and usability at zero opportunity cost. But it didn’t make
          them happier at all.  My conclusion was better to let them do as they
          wish.  I fortunately don’t have to live amidst the debris. (The
          basement has since then swelled to full capacity and spilled into two
          disgusting permanent tents outside).
       
            sumtechguy wrote 4 days ago:
            You stumbled upon one issue some people have.  You can declutter
            but they use that opportunity to refill and somethings grow even
            further.  Sometimes it is best to leave in place.  Unless you get
            to the root of the issue of why are they keeping it all.
            
            I have this issue currently in my home.  My wife does not want to
            go through anything but will not let me touch it either.  "no dear
            my shoebox sized matchbox cars collection is not worth anything to
            me and I am not going to play with them lets get rid of it".  I
            leave it be, as is, as it is at least in easy to get rid of boxes
            now.  That was at least a step forward.  My parents have filled
            every possible storage area in their house top to bottom with
            stuff.    Some of it has not seen the light of day in 40 years.  It
            is at least 'neat' but it will be an interesting challenge to pull
            it all out and sort it.  I leave that one be as they have filled
            the storage areas and they have no more room to still be neat and
            tidy but grab more items.
       
              hammyhavoc wrote 4 days ago:
              It can always be worse: my mother has a storage unit with 2,000+
              unsold paintings she did in it.
       
                dougmwne wrote 4 days ago:
                Start snapping photos. It'll hurt less when you give them away.
       
              unbalancedevh wrote 4 days ago:
              I have the same situation with my parents.  Their home is
              storehouse of stuff that my mom bought, mostly with the intent of
              giving them as gifts as special occasions come up, with paths
              carved through to get from one room to the next.  She knows it's
              a bit much, but won't let anyone throw anything away.  Some day
              going through it all will be a chore, but I don't think I'll find
              it difficult to sort out the keep/donate/trash piles.
              
              I've been worrying lately about leaving too much stuff for my
              kids to deal with, but so far it's mostly things that they left
              in their rooms when they moved out.  I'm trying to keep from
              acquiring more stuff.
       
          noobermin wrote 4 days ago:
          Seriously could not finish the opening story. I understand a small
          tinge of disdain for the effort required, but surely deep down a
          sense of gratitude and nostalgia should be mixed in no? Do people
          really not have no love for their parents they inherited the
          belongings of? The fact of the inheritance occuring is a hint that
          we're already filtering for kids who did not have an amiable
          relationship with their parents, so assuming that, i cannot
          understand how resentment can "slice through" your feelings of loss.
          Perhaps it can be mixed in, sure, but if it fills your heart so much
          as displace your sense of loss, I cannot imagine a more selfish and
          ungrateful attitude towards one's loving parents.
       
            hammyhavoc wrote 4 days ago:
            It depends what kind of relationship you had with the parent(s).
            I'll give you an example: I've not seen my mother in half a decade,
            I've barely seen her in twelve years. Perhaps that's for the best,
            after all, she did just leave my father and I over twenty years ago
            to pursue a man twenty years younger than her from the other side
            of the world that she met in a psychic chatroom. When I have spoken
            to her, as recently as last Christmas, we only argue. I've tried
            extremely hard.
       
            treis wrote 4 days ago:
            You can love a parent without loving their gigantic pile of useless
            junk
       
              HollowEyes wrote 4 days ago:
              Exactly.
              
              My partner has inherited a big project and collection that meant
              everything to their Dad.  He would always say, I want this taken
              on etc.  But when push comes to shove, the prospect/reality of
              inheriting someone else's hobby/business, which requires years
              and years of work with no return just feels more and more bizarre
              and absurd.  But you feel indebted and horrible not carrying
              through with wishes.
              
              Never mind a pile of junk.  You can just inherit a big pile of
              problems.
       
            beowulfey wrote 4 days ago:
            I think you’re reading too much into the language of that one
            sentence. But also, if you’ve never felt true loss before, anger
            and resentment are absolutely a part of the grieving process.
            It’s very natural to feel anger when coping with the loss of a
            loved one.
       
            smeej wrote 4 days ago:
            Why can't you love someone, but not appreciate a new project
            they've given you that creates hundreds of hours of unpleasant
            work?
            
            Sure, you might bear it willingly out of that love, but you don't
            have to like a new tedious, dirty, frustrating project just because
            you love(d) the person who left it to you.
            
            To take it a step further, the junk is usually a result of your
            loved one's insecurities and fears. It's largely a reminder of a
            burden you wish they hadn't even had to carry. Now that you have to
            carry the results of it, it makes sense just to want to be rid of
            it all.
       
              saturnaga wrote 3 days ago:
              I imagine a person's view on this is highly correlated with the
              level of hoarder their parents are.
              
              For me, it will only be a sad single day project as part of the
              grieving process. Hundreds of hours is just a totally different
              story.
       
              corobo wrote 4 days ago:
              Indeed! I've got my own projects to be dealing with!
              
              Honestly the way I see it my mum knows me well enough. If I'm
              instructed to do anything like a tidyup it will be done quickly,
              efficiently, and without emotion.
              
              Take a picture of your nostalgia items and bin them, the emotion
              is in the memory anyway. You'll look at it just as infrequently
              but at least it's only taking up bytes now.
              
              Extract the useful-to-you stuff and get someone to cart
              everything else away with a "you get everything for £500 if you
              take it ALL away" deal.
              
              If she doesn't want this I imagine my sister will be in charge,
              haha.
       
          nonrandomstring wrote 4 days ago:
          You don't have to be old to experience this problem. This was my take
          on
          techno-clutter from a few months back: [1] A more funny story:
          
          Back in school, when we were about 17 years old, another kid told me
          that his Great Uncle had died, and caused him much stress. He'd never
          met this distant relative, so I enquired, why was he worried?  Great
          Uncle Ben-Ali had named my school-friend, who he'd heard about only
          through a grandparent but "taken a shine to", as the sole heir and
          benefactor of his estate - 5 acres of harsh scrub land about 200
          miles
          into the mountains of Morocco containing a shack and two donkeys.
          He'd
          received a letter, which was very specific that he was now
          responsible
          for the welfare of the donkeys.
          
          Today, this would probably be the start of a great scam, but this was
          in the 1980s before people "had internet". Many people would have
          just
          ignored the whole situation, but my friend, true to his conscience,
          enlisted Arabic translators and sent letters back and forth to North
          Morocco for months. Eventually the fate of the donkeys was secured.
          It was agreed that Ben-Ali's neighbour, whose land they had already
          wandered on to, would have the donkeys, and the shack would go back
          to
          the village/local-government.
          
   URI    [1]: https://cheapskatesguide.org/articles/techno-clutter-farnell...
       
            NickBusey wrote 4 days ago:
            The article you linked I agree with almost fully, nice work.
            
            The only part I have issue with is when the teacher says “we fix
            things by "switching them off and on again"” as if that’s a bad
            thing. I see and agree with your actual point, but a power cycle is
            generally step one for almost all debugging.
       
              corobo wrote 4 days ago:
              > but a power cycle is generally step one for almost all
              debugging
              
              If you're not the sysadmin and the debugging relates to a
              production server, stop power cycling it and causing it to fsck
              on the way up while I'm trying to actually fix it tho lmao. Bonus
              points: you're frying all the information I need to actually see
              what is going wrong, now I'm digging in logs and monitoring
              graphs hoping to catch a clue
              
              Definitely not something that happened repeatedly this morning,
              haha
       
              nonrandomstring wrote 4 days ago:
              > the teacher says “we fix things by "switching them off and on
              again"”
                as if that’s a bad thing
              
              TBH, as an electronics engineer and computer scientist it's the
              first
              thing I do too :) I think my point in that article was that we
              shouldn't teach that it's the _only_ recourse, and after if it
              still
              doesn't work then just replace it.
              
              It's still one step better than the wisdom of my Grandmother's
              generation:
              
              "If it doesn't work bang it once on the top. If it still doesn't
              work
              bang it hard on the side twice. If it still doesn't work, call a
              man."
       
                starkd wrote 4 days ago:
                The banging fix was also useful for getting better reception on
                the tv set.   Surprising how often it actually worked!
       
                  Damogran6 wrote 4 days ago:
                  Chip creep was the behavior for chips to walk out of their
                  packages due to temperature cycling, percussive maintenance
                  helped reseat things, sometimes enough to make them work
                  again.
                  
                  (The Apple III was a beneficiary [1] )
                  
   URI            [1]: https://www.techjunkie.com/apple-iii-drop/
       
                    QuercusMax wrote 2 days ago:
                    My dad always talked about lifting the front edge of a
                    component up 2 inches and then letting it drop - he called
                    it the "2-inch test". He said that either it would reseat
                    whatever was flaky, or make it super obvious that it needed
                    to be reseated.
       
          robocat wrote 4 days ago:
          And an altruistic gift for friends and family: take away their
          useless rubbish.
          
          Tell your aunt you need some wires from that old Pentium computer she
          has, and take it to be recycled.
          
          “Drop in” at your friends on the way to the dump with half a
          trailer full of rubbish, and ask if they want to fill up the other
          half for free.
          
          When there is a book market on, visit your friends and take away
          their old books to go to the market. Boxes of books they don’t
          really want but which are too “valuable” to throw out.
          
          Tell your friends you are doing a metal recycling run, and does
          anyone have any old metal that they want gone?
          
          One friend I took 3 or 4 trailer loads of stuff away, mess which was
          really depressing them, and it has really cheered them up over the
          long term.
       
            SoftTalker wrote 4 days ago:
            I've found books surprisingly hard to get rid of. Local recycling
            center doesn't take them, and they are pretty heavy so you can't
            set out a big bin full of them for trash collection. Used
            bookstores are extremely picky about titles, authors, and
            condition. Listing and selling on eBay is not worth the time for
            the tiny amount of money you may make, and most of them don't even
            sell.
            
            I mostly just end up throwing them away a few at a time.
       
              Arete314159 wrote 3 days ago:
              Try your local Buy Nothing group. I got rid of some books I
              didn't think anyone would want, but they were excited about them.
       
              syntheweave wrote 3 days ago:
              The unfortunate fact is that although we romanticize reading,
              most books don't have much trade value. And if it's already in
              the Library of Congress, it's as good as archived.
              
              Still, my household(multigenerational) has too many books, and
              this is mostly an artifact of a childhood that gave me plenty to
              read. We even still have the incomplete Funk & Wagnalls
              encyclopedia picked up from when the school library dumped them.
              
              It'll be the "great book downsizing", for us. Someday.
              Occasionally I look into scanning the ones I have sentimental
              value towards, and there are services to do so...but really, that
              would just displace the problem into "digital junk hoarding".
              It's hard to let go of things, especially in the gradual way that
              fits with our waste stream system.
              
              The best tactic I've had to deal with it is to first make an
              explicit division of space (no piles allowed, at least have a
              tray or tie the bundle) and then use the divisions to create a
              ranking mechanism. You don't have to let go of things
              immediately, but whenever you have a day where you value space
              over stuff, the low rank stuff can be taken out with minimal
              ceremony: "thank you very much".
       
                ghaff wrote 3 days ago:
                I have a big cinderblock set of bookshelves in the back of my
                garage. It's where the not quite ready to go out yet books go.
                I did some book downsizing during the pandemic. This summer I'm
                going to try to get some more books and a fair bit of clothing
                out of the house.
       
              netsharc wrote 3 days ago:
              This is probably why a lot of book exchanges[1] have odd books. I
              remember sitting in a bar which decor were bookshelves with old
              books, I found a book about DOS 5.0 which actually amused me.
              
   URI        [1]: https://londonist.com/london/books-and-poetry/bookswap_e...
       
              ghaff wrote 4 days ago:
              That surprises me. I've always been able to donate to my local
              library for their annual book sale. I've also seen donation
              containers in various parking lots around my area. Books are one
              of the easier things for me to get rid of.
              
              >Listing and selling on eBay
              
              Yeah, unless something is a big ticket item, eBay isn't worth the
              effort. You used to be able to outsource it to someone for a cut
              but nothing like that seems to exist any longer.
       
            lapetitejort wrote 4 days ago:
            I helped a friend move out. They loved to buy stuff and never use
            it. Anyone who came over to help left with some decently priced
            trinkets. I left with an instant pot, sous vide wand, console
            table, a bag of small electronics, expensive markers and pens, and
            other stuff I surely forgot. I couldn't believe my good fortune and
            felt I had to compensate them. But they refused. We had performed
            an extremely valuable service just removing the items, the value of
            which was immaterial.
       
            The-Bus wrote 4 days ago:
            I'm in a high foot-traffic urban area and anything that's too
            cumbersome to sell locally (I don't want to haggle over a $5 item)
            we just put outside on the sidewalk. Almost all of the time, it
            finds a new home.
       
            pnutjam wrote 4 days ago:
            Yup, I never turn down leftovers or anything my parents want to
            give me even though at least 3/4th of it goes right in the trash or
            recycle. They need help letting go and I'm here to take it off
            their hands.
       
            driverdan wrote 4 days ago:
            I've been doing this with my parents, but for stuff I want. They
            have a lot of old computer stuff that they don't need. I've been
            taking some of it each time I visit.
            
            It helps them declutter and lets me make sure they don't throw any
            of it away. I can always dispose of it later if I decide it's not
            useful.
       
              lobocinza wrote 4 days ago:
              > I can always dispose of it later if I decide it's not useful.
              
              I bet they though the same.
       
                driverdan wrote 3 days ago:
                Maybe but this is different. Computers are a hobby for me and
                this is hardware and software I used growing up. It's not like
                I'm taking stuff I have no interest in.
       
                TheNewsIsHere wrote 4 days ago:
                This is an interesting thought.
                
                My mom passed away unexpectedly and in her sleep last year. She
                had been depressed for half a year prior because she had lost
                her spouse to cancer. She had not yet gone through their items.
                
                So between the household results of half a year of depression
                and two lifetimes worth of stuff it was so overwhelming that I
                only believed we could get through it all because there was no
                other outcome to believe was possible. My aunt has experience
                with this and she flew home to help. It took us about a month.
                
                And now I have half a basement room, not even 5% of the things
                they’d had, waiting to be packed up and shipped to me. It was
                all stuff that at the time I could not imagine getting rid of.
                
                Now, I know that I will have a ton of re-sorting ahead of me
                because after a year has passed I doubt I’ll want to keep all
                of that stuff.
                
                It’s so easy to project meaning onto items.
       
            squeed wrote 4 days ago:
            Yeah, we had a lot of construction debris once, and rented a 30
            cubic-yard dumpster (one of the big ones). After we tossed what we
            had, we told the neighbors to bring all they wanted. It was really
            helpful, especially since there were definitely a few that were
            down on their luck.
            
            It was an awesome way to build good-will, since the price
            difference between a 10 and 30 cu.yd dumpster was ~10%. Obviously
            most of the cost is in the truck roll.
            
            We also did the opposite once: we were demolishing a small vacation
            home, so we told some of the locals to pick through and take what
            they wanted. It was funny seeing our kitchen.. but in a different
            house.
       
            kossTKR wrote 4 days ago:
            This is great! I can recommend everyone doing this - it's weirdly
            satisfying to help out in other peoples places and not as much a
            "chore" as in your own home for some reason.
            
            You can clean up, move stuff around, throw things out, get them a
            better vacuum, set up wifi, get them better lighting, decorate
            stuff, or whatever you're good at.
            
            It's the same psychological mechanism at play when you can quickly
            give good advice and plan in other peoples lives but it's harder
            applying in your own.
            
            I recommend trying to "optimize" your friends or parents homes if
            they are down / getting old - for me it's about getting rid of or
            organising their stuff stuff, making it easy to clean, set up good
            lighting etc. Always respect peoples history and stuff and history
            of course.
       
            helmholtz wrote 4 days ago:
            Your comment is cathartic to me for reasons I cannot explain. I
            hope, for my sake, that everything you mentioned really is
            something you're doing often. I love the idea of constant forward
            progress in downsizing not just your own possessions, but that of
            the near and dears too.
       
              ghaff wrote 4 days ago:
              >constant forward progress in downsizing not just your own
              possessions
              
              Or at least keep it in a steady state past some point. I've been
              in my current house for 25 years and I find that I need to
              allocate time now and then to go through and clean out some
              clothes, books, electronics, etc. Especially with a fair bit of
              storage space it can be tempting to just toss something in the
              attic because it's easier than getting of it--especially for
              bulkier items.
       
              robocat wrote 4 days ago:
              Oh, I definitely try to help, although it is very very important
              to be respectful.
              
              One friend showed me a bag with a heap of kiwi fruit fluff they
              had collected a decade ago. Nothing to see here.
              
              One friend had too many tables, so I thought it might help them
              to grok the absurdity of that if I gave them a bunch more tables
              (tables which someone else was discarding): that didn’t work
              because they now have tables stacked up on one another. Nice
              enough tables, but I feel bad. Also it is very likely I will help
              them move . . .
              
              I am semi-retired, but I still need to take care I am not wasting
              my time.
              
              The free trailer load to the dump is fun mental jujutsu because
              dumping stuff isn’t cheap: someone who just can’t pass up a
              bargain trying to choose stuff to throw out for free! Needs a
              believable reason why it is “free” e.g. neighbour already
              paid me, or work is paying for it.
              
              I haven’t done the book one exactly, but I have done similar.
       
                dzhiurgis wrote 4 days ago:
                I'm crashing at my parents atm (including my family).
                
                Counted 10 chairs in one room - they are couple of 70 year olds
                that never have guests.
                
                7 mops in bathroom. About 20 huge bowls in one of kitchen
                drawers.
                
                I'm just trying to offload the excess to some storage to make
                their (and mine) lives easier, but oh boy.
       
                  ncpa-cpl wrote 4 days ago:
                  I counted more than 200 dishes in a house of 2 :(
       
                MafellUser wrote 4 days ago:
                For the tables, in some markets they're primed for being
                upcycled and you can make some pretty bucks.
       
                  samatman wrote 4 days ago:
                  Careful with this, it's the thinking process which leads to
                  hoarding behavior if unchecked.
                  
                  Have you already refurbished a couple tables just for fun? It
                  might make sense to flip some furniture as a hobby.
                  
                  If you haven't, this is a recipe for being that guy with too
                  many tables, whose friends drive by with a half-filled
                  trailer and ask, politely, if maybe they want to throw
                  something away today.
       
              abyssin wrote 4 days ago:
              I think I understand your feeling. The thing that makes me most
              empathetic with my family and friends is visiting them at their
              house and witnessing their struggling with stuff. It looks like a
              physical equivalent to the emotions and feelings in which we
              often find ourselves entrapped.
              
              A light dose of psychedelics does wonders for me in this regard.
              I’ll suddenly look at my place and see as if for the first time
              that thing that’s been laying around for weeks. “Oh, I put it
              there because I was anxious for this and that. Of course that’s
              not its place. Let’s move it where it belongs.” I love my
              mostly empty house, there’s so much space to move around and
              breathe.
       
          formerkrogemp wrote 4 days ago:
          Sometimes, the sentiment is nice, but this 'cruelty' is often times
          necessary.  When your parent's health is in terminal decline and your
          family can't afford to hire a caretaker or your relative made poor
          life decisions and needs to live with you for awhile, downsizing and
          relocating may become necessary if you have to step up and take care
          of them, assuming there is a healthy relationship.  Of course, trying
          to keep all of their things would be nice, but storage and extra
          space in the house are at a premium.  The essentials and emotional
          items should be kept, but a lifetime of objects and memories cannot
          be kept in tough times in small quarters.  Sometimes we don't have a
          choice when being cruel.
       
          donw wrote 4 days ago:
          Thank you.
          
          The top-level article is unbelievably crass.
          
          I have had to deal with this. Sorting through an entire lifetime's
          worth of knick-knacks, papers, Christmas cards, plaques commemorating
          achievements and milestones that probably wouldn't even make sense to
          a twenty-year-old, all of it.
          
          Sure, it was hard. It takes time.
          
          But so did changing my diapers. And dealing with infant-me crying
          through the night. And watching toddler-me be picky and waste food,
          which is a big deal when you get most of your groceries from a
          charity. All the scrounging and saving for Christmas presents, all
          the hours spent answering every question that I had as a boy, all the
          trips together to play in the snow during the winter...
          
          Those things took time, too.
          
          That sounds like a square deal to me.
       
            FollowingTheDao wrote 4 days ago:
            My mother told me she brought me into the world to experience joy,
            not her bullsht.
            
            When she died she left one small box and $90k. We did not have to
            do a thing.
       
              hammyhavoc wrote 4 days ago:
              Grounded and polite. Love it.
       
                FollowingTheDao wrote 4 days ago:
                I have to say, you described my mother perfectly. I was the
                last of five to go to college. I came home for Thanksgiving my
                freshman year and she said; "I am glad you were not like the
                others, calling me and writing me all the time. I raised you
                kids to go off in the world like I did."
       
            PebblesRox wrote 4 days ago:
            > The top-level article is unbelievably crass.
            
            I think it's written as an ad for junk removal services. The goal
            is for the reader to see the task as an overwhelming burden to be
            outsourced.
       
            brazzy wrote 4 days ago:
            Hell, no.
            
            What's unbelievably crass is the idea that children are obliged to
            respect and sift through gigantic heaps of stuff just because their
            parents had some emotional connection to some small parts of it -
            because most of it is guaranteed to be absolutely useless junk they
            did not actually value but merely couldn't bring themselves  to
            throw away because of hoarding instincts.
            
            The idea that this obligation is some kind of way to repay for what
            the parents did for the children is completely absurd and idiotic.
            It does nothing for your parents.
            
            If you want to repay them, spend time with them. Do something for
            them which they actually experience.
            
            When your parents are dead, sorting through their stuff out of a
            sense of obligation is basically self-castigating for your failure
            to do the above. Sure, if you enjoy it, if it helps you deal with
            the loss, do it. But not because you feel you have to.
       
              1234letshaveatw wrote 4 days ago:
              In many cases the sorting and disposal is necessary because your
              parent(s) can no longer maintain their dwelling or live
              independently.
       
              CydeWeys wrote 4 days ago:
              > The idea that this obligation is some kind of way to repay for
              what the parents did for the children is completely absurd and
              idiotic. It does nothing for your parents.
              
              Thank you for saying this. I can't believe the points people are
              making here. Your parents are already dead at this point. Of
              course it does nothing for them. Taking care of them while
              they're still alive does something for them, but once they're
              dead nothing can ever affect them again.
       
                tmn wrote 3 days ago:
                I think the 'what is being done for the old parents' is them
                not having to confront and part with their stuff while they're
                old but alive. By doing this after they have passed, they get
                to bypass this possibly mentally taxing task. The value add is
                debatable. I personally love to get rid of stuff, so it's hard
                for me to imagine how much of a burden it is. But the point
                makes sense.
       
              lupire wrote 4 days ago:
              You don't have to sort any of it. You just have to not make them
              sort it. You can just pay to have it hauled if you don't want it.
              Or sell the property as is or forfeit the property to the state.
       
            lebski88 wrote 4 days ago:
            Having done both sides I'd say the kids are getting the better deal
            :-) Palliative care for a parent is draining and can take years but
            it utterly pales compared to how much effort raising kids is. Doing
            both at the same time is not recommended!
       
              lupire wrote 4 days ago:
              Kids are far far more fun.
       
          Aeolun wrote 4 days ago:
          I don’t necessarily look forward to this, but I imagine it’ll be
          very satisfying sorting through my parents’ stuff and finding all
          the little gems.
          
          Of course 80% of it is junk, but 80% of everything I save is junk
          too, so I can hardly blame them for it.
          
          My dad recently threw out a lot of his old school stuff that we’d
          gone through and looked at a few times during various instances of
          cleanup over the course of my life, and I think I was more sad than
          him.
          
          I imagine he has all that stuff somewhere inside his head still, but
          to me the only tangible remains of the time when my dad was a
          boy/young adult have disappeared.
       
            Ntrails wrote 4 days ago:
            > to me the only tangible remains of the time when my dad was a
            boy/young adult have disappeared.
            
            My parents, when they were young and carefree and enjoying life,
            used to make mix tapes.  Loads of them.  There was something almost
            magical about being able to listen to them in my old car, and
            experience a little window into what they used to listen to etc.
            
            Sadly my car went to the great scrapyard in the sky and now I hold
            onto a plethora of cassette tapes I'm unsure I'll ever listen to. 
            Silly really.
       
              hammyhavoc wrote 4 days ago:
              Get a cheap tape deck and digitize them. They are just containers
              of information that will otherwise wear out. After that, get rid
              of both and enjoy the contents any time.
       
              samatman wrote 4 days ago:
              I'm also sorting through my parents things (the article is
              timely), here's a drive-by suggestion: pick up a Walkman on eBay.
              
              My folks have a rack of VHS cassettes of their performances in
              plays, which they ripped to DVD at some point. I haven't started
              watching them but I'm lucky to have them.
       
                hammyhavoc wrote 4 days ago:
                Back them up. Homemade optical media perishes in a surprisingly
                short time. Drawers full of it.
       
          repiret wrote 4 days ago:
          My grandmother was an incessant collector.  She collected anything in
          the shape of a chicken or with a chicken on it, and her house was
          lined with shelves of chicken nick-nacks.  But she also had an
          impressive wind-up toy collection, a collection of cherubs, a
          collection of supposedly collectable porcelain dolls from QVC. 
          Probably a few others that I've forgotten.
          
          In the last few years of her life, she became very concerned with the
          work her children and grandchildren would have to undertake to clean
          out her house.    She went through and added a note on a sticker on the
          backs of things for who she though should get them.
          
          But in the end it was easy.  My grandmother created an order of
          magnitude more grief for herself worrying about cleaning up after her
          than actually existed.    And I wish that she hadn't had that burden on
          her.
          
          Most of her children and grandchildren didn't have any sentimental
          connection to all of the things, and those of us that did went
          through and grabbed what we wanted.  Once that was done, we called
          Goodwill and they came and cleaned out the rest.
       
          tjojrtoiertj32 wrote 4 days ago:
          Yes, but seriously, the previous gens. hold onto a lot of junk.
       
            bsder wrote 4 days ago:
            Often because they were poor.
            
            My father hoarded all manner of stuff in the garage.  It took me
            days of work to clear it out.  And yet I basically understood why
            each thing was saved.
            
            That chunk of metal was used to repair the car when the front
            quarter panel rusted from salt.  That brass got brazed onto that
            fixture.  Those were the washers for the kitchen sinks.  That
            leather chunk repaired his briefcase.  That stuff was used to fence
            in the garden.    That stuff was used to stake the tomato plants.  He
            held onto furniture from my room until I was out of grad school and
            needed it.  etc.
            
            We flat out didn't have the money when I was growing up to just buy
            stuff from a big box store (and they didn't really exist yet).    If
            we didn't have the material, it didn't get fixed.
            
            A lot of children didn't grow up like this.  None of the younger
            generation in my family want any of the furniture.  They have the
            disposable cash from their parents that they can buy something
            "new".    I would have killed at their age for the stuff I now throw
            out.  C'est la vie.
       
            Ekaros wrote 4 days ago:
            I think nearly everyone holds junk. Rather few go to actual
            minimalism. For rest they end up collecting some things marginally
            useful.
       
            onion2k wrote 4 days ago:
            Everyone who owns a house fills it with what other people call
            junk.
       
              hiq wrote 4 days ago:
              That's a good argument for living in a small place rather than a
              house as big as you can possibly afford.
       
                AnIdiotOnTheNet wrote 4 days ago:
                I'd love to, problem is that they don't make 400-600sq ft
                houses anywhere near a job.
       
                throwaway0a5e wrote 4 days ago:
                You missed the point. The point is that the value depends on
                the person assessing it.
       
                teh_klev wrote 4 days ago:
                I think you'll find for the generation being discussed they
                likely didn't buy "a house as big you can possibly afford".
                Their houses were sanely priced, decent sized accommodations
                before the property market went bonkers at some point in the
                80's.
       
                  lupire wrote 4 days ago:
                  A lot of those houses got additions added over the years, and
                  were 2500sq ft which is plenty of room for junk as kids grow
                  up and move out
       
                    teh_klev wrote 4 days ago:
                    And that as well.
       
                jseban wrote 4 days ago:
                I don't see what the big deal is to be honest, just a harmless
                hobby to collect random trinkets, it gives people joy, and you
                can just get rid of it when they die. I don't see what the harm
                is
       
                  theandrewbailey wrote 4 days ago:
                  Buying random trinkets that are mass produced in a factory
                  overseas and shipped across the ocean is not ideal.
                  
                  When you fill your house with it, to the point where you're a
                  hoarder and can't see your floors and walls, that's a health
                  hazard that attracts dirt, rot, and pests.
       
                  distances wrote 4 days ago:
                  The son in the article, nine months into the process of
                  clearing his parents' house, estimated he is one-third done.
                  That's a lot of mental and physical work he inherited, or
                  alternatively signed up for.
       
                    JasonFruit wrote 4 days ago:
                    I cannot believe it is necessary to be so persnickety about
                    it that it causes you stress and bitterness. Give your
                    siblings a day to grab anything they want, then rent a
                    dumpster and a wheelbarrow and go to town. Throw away
                    everything you can force yourself to, one room a day. Dad's
                    dead, he won't care. If it takes nine months, you're doing
                    it wrong.
       
                    jseban wrote 4 days ago:
                    You can just use a service to take care of the estate, you
                    are not obliged to do that at all.
       
                      hammyhavoc wrote 4 days ago:
                      That's assuming they've got money to pay for it after
                      funeral expenses, et al.
       
                        olyjohn wrote 4 days ago:
                        They've had this house for 9 months. They're paying
                        money to keep it, whether it's rent, mortgage or
                        property taxes.
       
                  substation13 wrote 4 days ago:
                  Opportunity cost is high. Acquiring the trinkets in the
                  moment feels great but leads to long term challenges.
       
                    SturgeonsLaw wrote 4 days ago:
                    One must live an ascetically trinket-free lifestyle in
                    order to fully minmax their life
       
                      substation13 wrote 3 days ago:
                      I am not advocating minmax-ing
       
                      Dudeman112 wrote 4 days ago:
                      Alternatively, one really should stop to think about what
                      they care in life at least once or twice each decade.
                      
                      Lots of people never do it once in their whole life.
                      There's a world of optimization levels between "randomly
                      doing things" and "min-maxing life". There's a huge-ass
                      chunk of people who never leave the 0-optimization level
                      of randomly doing things.
       
                  hiq wrote 4 days ago:
                  Sure, it's a matter of preference, I just prefer to have less
                  stuff, everything else being equal.
       
                    onion2k wrote 4 days ago:
                    In that case it's a good argument for you to buy a smaller
                    house, but if you accept that it's a matter of preference
                    and not something that can be generalized then it's not a
                    valid argument for other people.
       
                      jseban wrote 4 days ago:
                      Yeah I think this war on consumerism and boomer lifestyle
                      is a bit exaggerated, and I mean, if you take away all
                      the benefits and rewards you have to take away some of
                      the demands too. I can recycle and share and rent and
                      downsize if I can also downsize my working hours
                      accordingly. A bit weird that the middle class now wants
                      to get rid of the carrot and just have a bigger stick,
                      that doesn't really add up for me.
       
          jhgb wrote 4 days ago:
          For some reason you've just reminded me just how much archeologists
          love midden heaps. I guess pretty much everyone gets to be an
          archeologist of sort at one time in life.
       
          debbiedowner wrote 4 days ago:
          What are some examples of the obsolete tools? I can imagine a manual
          hand drill...
       
            mensetmanusman wrote 3 days ago:
            My favorite: [1] Found one of these cleaning an old science lab,
            was very confused by what it was initially.
            
            Wonder what tools will look like in 1k years…
            
   URI      [1]: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planimeter
       
            mauvehaus wrote 4 days ago:
            A eggbeater drill is as obsolete as it'll ever get. Good ones are
            worth hanging on to for those occasions when you need to drill a
            couple of holes some ways from the nearest outlet. Plus, kids love
            them and will happily spend a ridiculous amount of time drilling
            holes in scrap.
            
            They also work in tighter spots than an electric drill. There's
            usually less bulk off the axis in at least one direction, generally
            opposite the crank. If you're in a corner, you're usually boned
            though.
            
            The drills that are guaranteed to be trash in 20 years are the
            battery ones. I have a set and love them for when I need to drill
            more than a couple holes, but I have no illusions that I'll be
            passing them down to anybody because the batteries will be
            unavailable.
       
            Sander_Marechal wrote 4 days ago:
            I have a manual hand drill and it's awesome for large holes using
            self-feed bits and for delicate jobs.
       
            Freak_NL wrote 4 days ago:
            Look at what gets put out at jumble/rummage sales and charity
            shops. In addition to what others posted, I see a lot of rusty
            screwdrivers (Phillips and slot) which everyone already has (and
            most of the time you're using Pozidriv or Torx anyway) and rusty
            spade drills.
            
            Every once in a while you spot a good one before someone else does
            (pincers, a good vintage cast-iron hacksaw frame for €5, a
            pristine sheet metal clamp for €1), but most of it is crap.
            
            Which does make me wonder where all the good tools go.
       
              matth3 wrote 4 days ago:
              Snapped up by collectors if they are desirable enough, check out
              the going rate for pre 1960s hand planes or vintage Snap On
              socket sets in obsolete sizes!
       
              Teever wrote 4 days ago:
              > Which does make me wonder where all the good tools go.
              
              Now I'm imagining tool companies sending people around to garage
              sales and estate sales to buy up good used tools to landfill them
              so that they can sell not so good new tools.
       
            kevinpet wrote 4 days ago:
            Specialty tools that fit vehicles you don't have. Specialty tools
            for operations that no one would perform by hand anymore. E.g. a
            cylinder honing tool.
            
            Whitworth wrenches, sockets, taps, and dies. My dad had a British
            motorcycle shop around 1980 and I'm pretty sure there is still some
            of this in his tool boxes in the garage.
            
            Homemade jigs whose purpose you can't even figure out.
            
            I think the dominant category would just be extra or broken or
            cheap tools that aren't worth hanging on to. For some reason I have
            like four stubby Phillips #1 screwdrivers. Cheap hatchets with
            broken handles. Mushroomed lead mallets. A whole drawer of dull
            drill bits.
       
              drewzero1 wrote 3 days ago:
              Ooh, those are good. I have a few homemade (or home-modified)
              specialty tools for my old cars, and some I'll certainly never
              have use for again.
              
              Those are one reason I've never yet had a British or German car,
              though I do have one with a British-derived engine and a German
              fuel injection system. (I'll have to remember to pass on all the
              custom tools when I get rid of the car. The chances are slim to
              none that I'll ever own another one.)
       
            drewzero1 wrote 4 days ago:
            A NiCd-powered cordless drill would be my first thought, clearly
            obsolete since the widespread adoption of lithium battery tools and
            the rapid degradation in NiCd cells over time. A radial arm saw
            also comes to mind, replaced for most tasks by the more portable
            and generally safer compound miter saw. Tools made before modern
            safety devices, such as table saws without anti-kickback fingers or
            riving knife. Some tools rely on wear parts like specialty blades
            or belts that are no longer available. Analog multimeters and
            fixed-resistance soldering irons.
            
            I've inherited my share of obsolete tools, including but certainly
            not limited to the above examples.
       
              UniverseHacker wrote 4 days ago:
              I inherited a high quality NiCd cordless drill from my late
              grandfather. I was able to cheaply buy some new cells online,
              solder them in, and it's good as new! It has a multi-speed
              gearbox with a ton of torque... useful, but not a common feature
              on a drill.
              
              I like the connection to previous generations, and remembering
              these people by using 'obsolete' tools passed down to me.
       
              mschuster91 wrote 4 days ago:
              > A NiCd-powered cordless drill would be my first thought,
              clearly obsolete since the widespread adoption of lithium battery
              tools and the rapid degradation in NiCd cells over time.
              
              On the other side, as long as it's something brand-name like
              Bosch, these things are built to last - and there are still shops
              around selling new battery packs for them (or you can replace the
              cells yourself - no fancy BMS required like with modern lithium
              batteries and no risk of things exploding or going up in blazes
              if you mess something up!). I'm still using power tools from my
              grandfather, meanwhile a friend recently complained to me that
              one of his "new" drills broke less than two weeks in his house
              renovation.
              
              The thing is, what you can buy in construction stores these days
              is optimized to last for the two years warranty period aka six or
              seven times of being used. Keep that "old" stuff, it will likely
              outlast you. And if you go and buy lithium-based tools, please
              buy brand name (=Makita) and don't buy knock-off batteries. These
              are fire hazards.
              
              ETA: The worst thing you can do with NiCd packs is using them
              while they are nearly empty or squeezing out that last bit of
              power. That will drive one of the cells into reverse charge and
              by then it's effectively forever toast [1]
              
   URI        [1]: https://www.icmm.csic.es/jaalonso/velec/baterias/aboutn~...
       
                eropple wrote 4 days ago:
                > please buy brand name (=Makita)
                
                This is probably better described as "not from an
                algorithmically generated name on Amazon", I think. Makita is
                great (I have their track saw, it's amazing)--but so are
                DeWalt, Milwaukee, Bosch, Festool, Metabo HPT (formerly
                Hitachi), and a bunch of others. Even the relatively "budget"
                flavors of those (Craftsman for DeWalt/SBD, Ridgid/AEG and
                Ryobi for Milwaukee/TTG) are solid tools these days; Ryobi
                still has its reputation from the days before they went neon
                green, but you'll see professionals using them these days
                because the battery compatibility guarantee is valuable. Even
                some of the more ancillary brands you'll see out there, like
                the new cordless Skil stuff (made by Chervon, who own the EGO
                line of garden power tools) are quite reliable; I have DeWalt
                and Makita stuff in my shop, but Skil's 12V tools live in the
                house and are fantastic.
                
                More important than the brand name is usually the product tier,
                which is related but not distinct from the brand. Most of the
                brands above sell cheap tools, often as part of a set, and
                they're value-engineered until they scream. A bottom-tier
                DeWalt and a bottom-tier Makita and a low/mid-tier Ryobi
                probably aren't that different in terms of reliability, nor
                would the higher tiers of the above. (With some occasional
                exceptions; the DeWalt oscillating tool they currently sell is
                the best one I've ever used from any brand, with affordances
                that I appreciate more. Apparently they've sold particularly
                good ones for a while. But a drill's a drill, mostly.)
                
                Power tools above the basement-tier have just all gotten really
                good in a relatively short period of time. Lemons exist for
                sure (though every time I hear about somebody breaking a drill
                during something as relatively easy as a house renovation I
                find myself asking whether they'd bought the cheapest one they
                could, as before), but overall? We're at a point where you can
                even make a decent argument for a Harbor Freight blue-flavored
                cordless set. I wouldn't, because old habits die hard, but you
                could. And whatever you buy is probably lasting two decades and
                not costing you a whole heck of a lot.
                
                Agreed about the batteries, though. Don't buy cheap batteries.
       
                  drewzero1 wrote 3 days ago:
                  I still wouldn't go for HF tools (or any store brand... Tool
                  Shop, Master Mechanic, take your pick) for anything I want to
                  keep forever. You just can't get parts for most of that
                  stuff. I only get HF or MM if I'm buying the tool for one job
                  and need to fit in the budget, otherwise pretty much
                  everything else I've got is pre-owned DeWalt et al. (The
                  warranty-period breakdown is no joke, but a lot of times if
                  they survive much past that they can be good for a while.)
                  
                  I'm also still not totally sold on cordless tools. I've found
                  corded tools generally much easier to repair. Extension cords
                  are cheaper than batteries, and for my typical applications
                  they're essentially interchangable.
       
                    eropple wrote 3 days ago:
                    I get where you're coming from, but their modern tools are
                    pretty much in line with everyone else's--bear in mind that
                    there isn't much of a cost savings from them, either. The
                    Hercules portable table saw with a rack-and-pinion fence is
                    a good example. A friend has one, I've calibrated it for
                    him and gotten up into its guts. And it's built pretty
                    well! But, by virtue of being built pretty well, it costs
                    in line with what a Metabo HPT or DeWalt model does on
                    sale, while having a slightly smaller table. Similarly
                    you'll see pretty equivalent motors, bearings, etc. in
                    those as in mid-range "name brand" cordless tools. I'm sure
                    they shave here and there, but it isn't anywhere near what
                    it used to be, and for light use they'll be fine for quite
                    a long time. (Plus? Good return policies.)
                    
                    There are few tools I wouldn't rather have cordless,
                    though. Corded drills don't step to an impact driver for
                    screw-driving (the only corded drill I have is a low-speed
                    drill/mixer). Cords on an angle grinder or a jigsaw or the
                    like get in the way more than they help. About the only
                    corded hand tools I have are routers, and I wish my track
                    saw was corded mostly so as to be able to pair the dust
                    extractor with it (but I use the track saw outside a lot
                    too, so it's a wash). All the corded tools in my shop have
                    been retrofitted with either a Festool pigtail or a NEMA L5
                    locking connector to not have to deal with cords on the
                    tool, and that helps, but it's still not great.
       
                    mschuster91 wrote 3 days ago:
                    Cordless is a dream on construction sites without
                    electricity though. No more danger of tripping over a cord
                    and suddenly you have at least two injured people... a
                    colleague back when I was working in construction had a
                    nasty incident involving an angle grinder and some poor sod
                    lugging a heavy bag of cement who tripped over the cord
                    where the angle grinder was attached to.
       
              Avamander wrote 4 days ago:
              Analog multimeters can surprisingly be useful with more complex
              or short signals. Sometimes providing significantly better
              results than digital equivalents.
       
                tlb wrote 4 days ago:
                The good quality large-scale ones like AVO are wonderful to
                use.
       
            tjmc wrote 4 days ago:
            VB6?
       
              ClumsyPilot wrote 4 days ago:
              Nice one
       
            HideousKojima wrote 4 days ago:
            A brace and bit can be really useful if you're working with very
            soft or delicate woods. Also a bit and brace is fairly cheap, but
            good bits for them are lot pricier.
       
            nlnn wrote 4 days ago:
            Some woodworkers still use manual drills (I own two, along with a
            brace and bit).
            
            They're useful for very exact/delicate work, quiet drilling, and
            for getting into awkward places where an electric drill doesn't
            fit.
       
              verve_rat wrote 4 days ago:
              Yeah, I'm just starting out in woodworking as a hobby and a brace
              and bit is something I'm considering putting on the wishlist.
              
              The useless tools might have been a treasure trove to the right
              person.
       
                dghughes wrote 3 days ago:
                Someone in my town started a tool library. It's a collection of
                tools that people can borrow and then return. At the moment
                it's just in a storage locker. Some tools can be obscure and
                rarely used like a toilet wrench for the "spud nut" for the
                gasket that's under a toilet tank.
       
                matth3 wrote 4 days ago:
                Like most hand woodworking tools, the brace and bit is
                incredibly satisfying to use, especially with a decent set of
                augers.
       
                donw wrote 4 days ago:
                Exactly what I was thinking.
                
                I'd love to go through all those "useless" tools.
                
                Oh no, Dad's old all-steel table saw that was designed and
                built to be repaired, and which has the same tolerances as a
                "precision tool" today, doesn't have bluetooth to pair with
                your iPhone? Guess you'll just have to toss it, then.
       
                  wccrawford wrote 4 days ago:
                  Unfortunately it probably also doesn't have all the safety
                  features like a riving blade, either.  That doesn't mean it's
                  useless, but it does mean it needs more care to use it and
                  novice woodworkers shouldn't rush in blindly.
       
                    donw wrote 4 days ago:
                    Fair point!
                    
                    Although a riving knife — which I wish that I had known
                    about when I was younger - shouldn’t be that hard to add.
       
                      mauvehaus wrote 4 days ago:
                      They are. A proper one goes up and down with the blade. A
                      saw without an in-built provision for that is a
                      surprisingly tough retrofit [0].
                      
                      A riving knife that doesn't go up and down with the blade
                      is just a pain in the ass that gets removed the first
                      time you aren't making a through cut and rarely gets
                      reinstalled.
                      
                      [0] [1] If you've never seen the inside of a Unisaw,
                      there's a lot of parts in that video that weren't there
                      when the saw left the Delta factory. Even if you
                      mass-produced a kit, it would require reworking some of
                      the original parts, possibly at machinist level
                      tolerances.
                      
   URI                [1]: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4CuchotcM_4
       
                ungamedplayer wrote 4 days ago:
                You'd be surprised, there is a growing 'youtube' community of
                manual carpentry.
       
            gfaregan wrote 4 days ago:
            I keep an old hand brace in my toolbox and it's amazing. It doesn't
            need a cord or a battery and you can get a lot of torque out of it.
       
            dukeofdoom wrote 4 days ago:
            I've seen the guy from "my self reliance" (Youtube) use  manual
            hand drill in the building of his remote cabin. No power for
            electric drill. A battery operated drill would probably fail rather
            quickly boring through a log with a large drill head. If I remember
            correctly, proper wood working chisel sets are still very highly
            priced. And the antique ones can be of higher quality.
       
              fy20 wrote 4 days ago:
              "Highly priced" should be taken in context, for a retired person
              who has no other income it's worth to go to the effort of selling
              them on eBay or the like. For the type of crowd on HN who
              probably have relatively well paying jobs, probably not.
       
                dukeofdoom wrote 4 days ago:
                When I made the comment, I was vaguely remembering information
                I learned from this video. [1] He prefers 80+ year old American
                chisels due to quality of steal. "The older the better".
                
                But anyway, just to confirm, I did an ebay search and top of
                the line Japanese chisel set is listed for $8.5k. 
                I was thinking "highly prized" but wrote "highly priced", but I
                think it can stand.
                
   URI          [1]: https://youtu.be/3LB8wtA9LwU?t=265
       
            whatusername wrote 4 days ago:
            I think perhaps the middle space?  
            90's power tools?  Any old battery tools?
            
            I consider my petrol mower to be obsolete - but I can't justify
            replacing it with an electric/battery one when it functions fine.
       
          Eextra953 wrote 4 days ago:
          Thank you for this perspective. I agree, my parents have a lot of bad
          habits one of which is holding on to things that may be of value at
          some point for way too long. I help get rid of extra things
          occasionally but whenever I push too hard I can see the stress and
          anxiety it causes them. They've been through a lot, if having more
          things than they need soothes them, so be it!
       
          RaoulP wrote 4 days ago:
          Wonderful perspective, I appreciate it.
       
        danielodievich wrote 4 days ago:
        A friend of mine has a dad who is known in certain circles (name
        withheld) and I quote "Mr XYX, the owner of the largest collection of
        non-running Triumph coupes in the USA". He got a lot of sh*t for what
        is essentially a junk yard from his city. His house is filled to the
        brim with model train cars, in the bozes still, and all the EBay
        printouts of the auctions he won and lost. I do not know what my
        friend's plans are for all of this when his dad kicks it but I am
        betting on a lot of hassles around rusted hulks. Although they are
        strangely photogenic, we took some incredible photos...
       
          Symbiote wrote 4 days ago:
          The eBay printouts are very useful. You can see which of the models
          was worth €10, and which were worth €200.
          
          The value will change over time. Probably down, unless there are some
          very rare models. But it will give your friend some idea (and some
          terms to search for) when he contacts a local model railway dealer
          and asks for a quote. (Or lists everything on eBay himself.)
       
          kQq9oHeAz6wLLS wrote 4 days ago:
          Those Triumphs are junk; it's not like they're MGs or anything.  :)
          
          I kid, of course. On a serious note, when the time comes, contact the
          local British car club (yes, there is one). They'll help.
       
        slyall wrote 4 days ago:
        The book "Inheriting Clutter: How to Calm the Chaos Your Parents Leave
        Behind" by Julie Hall is a fairly good guide to how to handle this
        situation. Would recommend reading it before you need it.
       
        petesergeant wrote 4 days ago:
        I love getting rid of stuff. I've just packed up my apartment again,
        and my wife and I have under 5m3 of stuff, and that includes a couple
        of larger pieces of furniture, 7-8 framed pieces of art, a
        decently-sized toolbox, and a big TV. Most of the time we're away from
        our homebase anyway, so living out of two suitcases. It really means
        that our treasured items are treasured, as most have undergone several
        iterations of this slimming process.
        
        It's not for everyone, and I'm not trying to make some larger moral
        point, but for me it always feels so cathartic to strip down the stuff
        and just be left with items that you actually really like
       
          benhurmarcel wrote 4 days ago:
          I used to make sure I owned a fairly small volume of stuff. And then
          I got a kid.
       
            kaybe wrote 4 days ago:
            Being an adult for some years now after the changes in childhood
            and early adulthood surely is interesting with regards to stuff.
            
            As a kid, you outgrow things so quickly that you often pass them
            along before they break down, or they break faster due to, well,
            being a kid. It's natural that things come and go quickly. This
            rhythm is very different in different times of life. I'm not done
            pondering it yet.
       
          jseban wrote 4 days ago:
          If you are always travelling then yeah, I guess it makes sense. The
          problem I have with minimalism is that it also minimises the
          activities you can do. Any sport and hobby requires stuff, the more
          stuff you have, the more activities you can do.
          
          Painting, playing music, going swimming, skateboarding, playing
          tennis, running, picnic/barbecue, hiking etc etc.
          
          If you don't have any stuff, you can't be active. I just get bored to
          death when the only thing I do in my free time, is looking at things
          and eating/drinking.
       
            petesergeant wrote 4 days ago:
            Some hobbies certainly require a lot of gear, but I think it's also
            possible to massively overdo the stuff-to-fun ratio. We go for
            four-hour hikes with our trainers, our badminton rackets weigh
            almost nothing and take up almost no space, and so on.
            
            > If you don't have any stuff, you can't be active
            
            This is simply false. We're currently on a little island and there
            are boats and stand-up paddle-boards to rent, we have a scooter and
            helmets we've rented and go for long drives, there are lots of
            multi-hour walks we've done in our sneakers, lots of scuba and
            snorkleing optins, there's kilometers and kilometers of beach to
            walk along. My only concession to this is travelling with a
            rash-vest for being in the sun, plus most of my shorts are very
            happy to get wet / be in the water
       
              snowwrestler wrote 4 days ago:
              It really depends on how much money you have or want to spend.
              Skiing frequently is way cheaper over time if you own your own
              gear. Same with climbing, biking, kayaking, surfing, etc.
              
              Some gear you absolutely cannot rent for liability reasons, like
              most rock climbing gear.
              
              It also depends on how good you get. I’ve been kayaking for 25
              years and whatever I can rent down the street is not likely to
              work for what I typically want to do.
       
              jseban wrote 4 days ago:
              It also requires exponentially more stuff to be active year
              around, and adapting to a full time work/weekend schedule,
              compared to temporarily with a flexible schedule.
              
              Just the beach walk will require a whole wardrobe of suitable
              clothes and shoes if you want to do it year around and live in a
              place with seasons. The scooter doesn't work in the winter.
              
              Renting things also requires you to have a flexible schedule and
              be outside of the normal work week/weekend, because on a sunday
              when the weather is nice, everyone wants the stand-up paddle
              board and all the other stuff at the same time, that's the whole
              point of owning stuff, that it's there for you when you want it.
              Renting always means you get it when (most) other people don't
              want it.
       
          jxramos wrote 4 days ago:
          There's something very pressing about moves that pares down the true
          sentimental value of some belonging. If the item survived multiple
          moves it either concentrated in value or waned in value and will soon
          have skeptical eyes glancing over its continued presence in one's
          life.
          
          I can remember photographs or something being held onto that after
          the 3rd move I just said "it's not worth keeping this thing around"
          and so it went. But it first traveled through this diminishing
          trajectory that was interesting to observe this incremental
          detachment to the object like shedding a skin I had now outgrown.
       
        silisili wrote 4 days ago:
        I'm not looking forward to dealing with my parents stuff, a major
        reason(other than their death) being that taste seems largely
        generational.  They both seem to love giant wooden cabinets...for
        everything.  They both have monstrosities of a TV stand/console/shelf,
        etc.  It's actually nice quality, but nobody I know my age or younger
        really likes stuff like that.  I can't imagine I ever will.
       
          robocat wrote 4 days ago:
          > being that taste seems largely generational
          
          Some things have a bathtub curve of desirability: they go out of
          fashion but many decades later the good stuff becomes stylish again
          — retro or antique. Think ugly 50s Formica kitchen table and
          chairs, 70s cookware and fondue sets, or 80s children’s toys.
          
          There is a public database[1] of registered car models by year in the
          UK going back decades: if you look at the data for say a super crappy
          Vauxhall Chevette station wagon, numbers drop sharply followed by a
          longer slow decline, and finally a ducktail uptick when they become
          collectable by mental enthusiasts e.g. one acquaintance I know with
          an original hatchback[2] “I would rather drive my Chevette into the
          sea - I will never sell it”, gotta agree . . . [1] which I can’t
          find at the moment
          
          [2] example
          
   URI    [1]: https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/cult-classics/vauxhall-chevette...
       
          Gigachad wrote 4 days ago:
          Doesn't sound very hard. Walk through and grab the stuff you like,
          and then have an open inspection to sell off all the stuff you don't
          want at a price just worth making it for your time.
          
          Perhaps gather the common items like kitchen stuff and dump it at an
          op shop / charity.
       
        beckingz wrote 4 days ago:
        The chair I'm sitting in cost me $20 at an estate sale a few houses
        down from where my parents live, because the wife died and the husband
        wanted to move to florida.
        
        I do not look forward to the day my parents die because we have a
        history of accumulating material possessions and there will be a lot of
        cleaning.
       
        obnauticus wrote 4 days ago:
        This is what I think of when all of these headlines about
        boomer-to-millineal wealth transfers come out every few months.
        
        How is this a good thing? How does this wealth transfer help
        decentralize the wealth in the US?
        
        The only thing I’m probably being left is a vintage collection of
        HGTV Magazines and piles of depreciating assets.
       
          synu wrote 4 days ago:
          I’m not being left anything either, but there is a lot of wealth in
          assets held by that generation in aggregate, and that’s the wealth
          transfer they are reporting on. Not just the junk in hoarders houses.
       
        chaostheory wrote 4 days ago:
        I feel with Millennials not being able to buy normal sized homes and
        the rise of minimalism with trends like Marie Kondo, this traditional
        junk transfer may end with Gen X.
       
          thebigspacefuck wrote 4 days ago:
          Millennials will inherit the houses along with the junk.
       
            trgn wrote 4 days ago:
            The great junk transfer is the flipside of the great wealth
            transfer. It's going to be massive, and only just starting.
       
          heurisko wrote 4 days ago:
          I think there is also a generational divide in not wanting to collect
          figurines, ornaments etc.
       
          _carbyau_ wrote 4 days ago:
          I see it as a % game. A larger % the currently dying generation may
          have a bunch of useless stuff. The next generation will likely have a
          lesser %. But it's probably not a big difference in %.
          
          This is just humans being humans.
       
          astrange wrote 4 days ago:
          I wonder how far back these traditions go? People didn’t have the
          ability to generate junk until recently. Even the concept of
          generations is post-WW2.
       
            kevin_thibedeau wrote 4 days ago:
            This only exists because of industrialization and the creation of a
            middle class who had disposable income to buy surplus stuff. Before
            that, inherited items were truly precious.
       
        eddy_chan wrote 4 days ago:
        Where I live we have 'council clean-up' days. It's a designated day
        once per year you can leave a reasonable amount of rubbish outside your
        house including old furniture, tools, utensils etc etc. The good thing
        is it's widely advertised and if you sort your stuff out properly and
        lay it out in an organised manner, lots of amateur collectors will come
        and take it away to re-sell or re-use leaving only a small amount of
        true rubbish for the council to actually pick up (3 days later than the
        advertised day).
       
          wilgertvelinga wrote 4 days ago:
          In Amsterdam we have a Facebook Group called "Amsterdam Deelt/Geeft
          (Shares/Gives)" with 40k+ members. Almost anything you put up there
          is picked up within 24hrs by a very happy new owner!
          
          I must have given a way over 50 items through this page. It is really
          nice that you can see the happiness of the person who will benefit
          from what you don't need anymore.
       
            thebigspacefuck wrote 4 days ago:
            I use Nextdoor/Craigslist and put stuff up for Free or take it to
            the thrift store nearby.
       
          ggm wrote 4 days ago:
          Me too with a sad twist: no matter how often I put a sign on my
          council kerbside collection e-waste saying "works" some metal
          scavenger on a copper hunt cuts the powercord and moves on. They're
          trashing value to extract the one bit they care about.
       
            pfdietz wrote 4 days ago:
            If it were actually valuable they wouldn't do that.
       
              ggm wrote 2 days ago:
              Value is a word which is used in two senses. One is yours: what $
              can I get for it. The other is use-value: the object can be used
              to perform it's role.
              
              What they do, to extract $ value, is destroy use-value. The
              use-value didn't interest them, but waking at 4am and driving
              round before anyone ELSE sees the copper and takes it, interests
              them mightily. Consequently, anyone who is interested in finding
              things, finds broken things, not useful things.
       
              corobo wrote 4 days ago:
              Different people hold different values, humanity isn't a hive
              mind yet
       
                pfdietz wrote 4 days ago:
                They'd pick it up and resell it.  What, it's too difficult to
                find the person who would want it and be willing to pay?  Then
                it isn't actually valuable.
       
                  corobo wrote 4 days ago:
                  Do you know the value of every object in existence?
       
          robocat wrote 4 days ago:
          I suspect a surprising amount of stuff put on the street ends up with
          hoarders.
          
          If I am putting stuff on the street, I try to trickle it out over the
          day, to spread the love, and hopefully avoid it all going to one
          person. The best is when it goes to someone who obviously needs it:
          perhaps a recent refugee immigrant, or a broke-arse single mum.
          
          Picking up “valuable” stuff is a vice, so I try to only collect
          what is immediately useful to me or friends. It is however surprising
          the junk that people will take.
       
          bruce511 wrote 4 days ago:
          I am fortunate to live in a country where there are lots of people
          below me on the totem pole. There is a delighted recipient for
          literally everything we have outgrown.
          
          Pretty much everyday is council day here - you can leave whatever you
          like, whenever you like, by the kerb and it'll be gone by lunchtime.
          While it's painful to see so much need, it's gratifying that
          everything finds a new home where it will be used.
          
          [broken stuff is especially in demand - it can be fixed and reused -
          there's an active trade in collecting broken appliances. Large stuff,
          like furniture will be collected by charity organisations.]
       
            maerF0x0 wrote 4 days ago:
            >  you can leave whatever you like, whenever you like, by the kerb
            and it'll be gone by lunchtime.
            
            I used to live in the SF bay area, and a good amount of items would
            be gone as you described. Items I couldnt sell on CL likely ended
            up on someone else's CL account who had more time to sell (I was
            moving) .
       
        ars wrote 4 days ago:
        I've started doing this in my life: I take pictures of items that have
        emotional meaning to me, and then throw away the item.
        
        I care about the meaning to me, what memories it gives me, not the
        physical item.
        
        It's really really hard though. But my kids will just have a Google
        Photos album to keep rather than a house full of stuff.
       
          jjav wrote 4 days ago:
          > But my kids will just have a Google Photos album
          
          If google doesn't lock out your account at some point between now and
          death.
          
          Seriously, relying on something like google as the repository of all
          memories seems extremely risky when we know how often they lock
          accounts for no reason and there is no recourse.
       
          sixstringtheory wrote 4 days ago:
          I like to draw them or write about them in my journal. I find that
          the intense focus required helps remember them very well.
       
            thakoppno wrote 4 days ago:
            how do you archive your journals?
       
              sixstringtheory wrote 1 day ago:
              Nothing beyond just keeping them around, currently. Maybe one day
              I’ll try to digitize/ocr them.
       
        laurieg wrote 4 days ago:
        I feel like these days, stuff is incredibly cheap and therefore it's
        very easy to accumulate a huge amount of it. Sure, we have out
        sentimental items and useful tools we use everyday. But a huge amount
        goes un-used, sitting in boxes, closets, attics and garages waiting to
        be thrown away.
        
        I try to "live small". My apartment is relatively small. I'm still
        wearing clothes from high-school. I still the knife, fork and spoon I
        bought when I moved out on my own. When something breaks I mend it,
        replace it or turn it into something new.  I'm not a hardcore
        minimalist, far from it. But there is great joy in having enough.
       
          kelseyfrog wrote 4 days ago:
          It's 2066 and a grieving 54 yr old has to figure out how to throw
          away boxes and boxes of their dead parent's funko pops.
       
            GlassKingdom wrote 4 days ago:
            All unopened in box.
       
              haupt wrote 4 days ago:
              Just stick them with the Beanie Babies.
       
          jamal-kumar wrote 4 days ago:
          I live out of a carry on bag mostly. My stuff is pretty minimal but
          the heaviest things I own are the books. I have some really weird old
          ones too, like one for learning german from 1939 and another on how
          to survive an atomic bomb from 1946. Just weird shit that's hard to
          find and hard to let go of.
          
          I tend to like doing book trades though so it pays off on my travels.
       
            petre wrote 4 days ago:
            Oh, I hate moving my books. And they'd fit on a 8 meter shelf.
       
              jxramos wrote 4 days ago:
              at one point I was moving a stack of books and realized I'm
              essentially moving thinly sheared off logs around. It was quite a
              visual to imagine me moving stumps of logs around the size of
              small UHaul boxes. That's essentially what that quantity of books
              felt like when divvied out into small cardboard boxes to push the
              load into bite sized chunks.
       
          olivermarks wrote 4 days ago:
          The difference here is that until recently things used to be well
          made and built to last. It's easy to buy a bunch of junky tools etc
          that might last a few years but it sometimes amazes me how people
          don't understand that owning a few good quality tools that will last
          forever is vastly preferable to giving them away.
          
          Same is true with a lot of other things, but of course this is only
          relevant if you're going to use them.
       
            lrem wrote 4 days ago:
            Mom still uses grandpa's can opener. I still haven't managed to buy
            one that would work that well too.
       
            prmoustache wrote 4 days ago:
            Yes.
            
            Alao furnitures. Though they are out of style I would totally
            accept the well made furniture my parents own than the shit we tend
            to buy nowadays at ikea and similar that don't last 2 moves.
            Problem is partner would probably not accept it.
       
            SoftTalker wrote 4 days ago:
            Don't overlook survivorship bias. There was plenty of cheap junk
            being sold 50 years ago.
       
              antisthenes wrote 4 days ago:
              Also, good things still exist, they are just marketed as
              commercial/industrial and carry the corresponding price tag.
              
              But they will easily last 20-30+ years with good maintenance.
       
        motohagiography wrote 4 days ago:
        My grandparents and great grandparents are dead, so they don't have to
        live with the embarrassment of having their descendent reduced to being
        "the sort of person who buys his own furniture," but that's progress. I
        am keeping some of it, and we all do a purge every few years just in
        case, but I find it's the photographs that are the hardest to destroy.
        Something that meant so much to someone else. Like tears in rain, I
        suppose.
       
          sk55 wrote 4 days ago:
          I digitize all of the photos so they’re preserved and organized.
          That way you can feel a little better about getting rid of the
          prints.
       
            gevz wrote 4 days ago:
            I wonder if digitized objects will hold same sentimental value as
            real ones. What if taking a picture of a vase or a postcard, or
            even 3D scan of a toy you cherished as a kid, will help with
            keeping memories and not agonizing on the decision to junk it.
       
              lmm wrote 4 days ago:
              I stumbled across some digital photos from about 25 years ago
              while going through my "library". The experience felt very
              similar to finding some old analogue photos in a box, though
              unlike with physical photos you'd be unlikely to find them while
              looking for something that wasn't photos.
       
        pessimizer wrote 4 days ago:
        I get this if one of your parents was a bad painter and filled the
        house with huge framed canvases. Otherwise, I'm just looking for stuff
        I want, and anything that I know was meant for posterity and few people
        would care about (my father updates a family tree, for example.) After
        that, call a professional and sell the lot to them i.e. the thing that
        these people mention not doing.
        
        You may "lose" your parents if you don't have all of their stuff (I'm
        not sure what that means, but the article keeps saying it), but
        luckily, the odds are you won't have to live without them for more than
        another 20-30 years.
        
        If that stuff outlived your parents, that means that it served its
        purpose well. Let somebody else buy it off ebay from an estate
        liquidator so it will create more happiness in the world, rather than
        hoarding it, which is the impulse I really suspect these situations are
        feeding.
        
        I have brought up in hypotheticals to anyone who might be lumbered with
        them after my untimely passing the best ways to liquidate a lot of
        board games without getting pennies on the dollar. My only actual worry
        about my (physical) estate is that my heirs may get ripped off while
        dumping it.
       
          bee_rider wrote 4 days ago:
          I can't really think of much I'd want from my parents house. Maybe a
          few items with family history. But mostly, it is like you said --
          they've mostly got their stuff for a reason, and if it serves them
          well for as long as they need it, then it has already met and likely
          exceeded expectations.
          
          On the other hand, one step removed I think it makes more sense,
          because you have maybe less direct contact with the person -- I've
          got a microscope and and oil stone from my grandfather, which have
          some significant sentimental value to me. These were almost certainly
          obsolete when I got them, more than a couple years ago (Well, the
          microscope at least. An oil stone will last you a while). I think I
          value these because he was a very precise, but also very
          down-to-earth guy. That's my summary, having had limited time with
          him. My mom would not be able to sum up his whole personality in two
          items, because she has a much more full view of it. But, despite
          knowing that this stuff holds only the slightest outline of his
          personality, it really does mean a lot to me.
       
            pessimizer wrote 4 days ago:
            One or two little things like that are nice. I have my
            grandfather's hat. If the microscope fits on a bookshelf, it counts
            as decoration:)
       
          ars wrote 4 days ago:
          You have no items in your parents home that reminds you of something
          you did as a child? Nothing?
       
            fuzzy2 wrote 4 days ago:
            Oh, I had tons of them. When my parents decided to move out of
            their house, I had a blast going through the stuff and remembering
            things. Still, except for my LEGO bricks, everything went into the
            trash.
            
            I do not have the space to keep a lot of stuff.
       
            mackrevinack wrote 4 days ago:
            i usually just take photos of that type of thing. they take up much
            less physical space
       
              JKCalhoun wrote 4 days ago:
              Yes, this is the solution. I have done the same with my own
              keepsakes. Take a photo and then toss the keepsake.
              
              The cloud, my backups, are really my only physical "treasure".
       
            supernovae wrote 4 days ago:
            Not really…
            
            my parents got divorced and my mom abandoned everything and
            everyone
       
            pessimizer wrote 4 days ago:
            I generally don't need to be reminded of the things I did as a
            child. Anyway, what am I going to do with these things, put them in
            my closet to burden my heirs?
            
            If I see something useful that also reminds me of my parents or my
            childhood, all the better. But it has to be something that's
            integrated into my life, not something that I'm attaching to my
            life because I'm afraid to give anything up.
            
            edit: I do have to say that there might be a subtext in the article
            that I agree with. The useless stuff that your kids will have to
            deal with after you die is probably also useless to you now, so you
            should deal with it now.
       
            girvo wrote 4 days ago:
            I don't. We moved too much. Aside from computers and video games,
            there wasn't really any "stuff" that survived all those moves. Even
            less survived 13 years after moving out. My parents were always
            pretty ruthless about culling things.
       
        FunnyBadger wrote 4 days ago:
        It will be handled the exact same way it always has: 90% of the time
        it's off-loaded at a garage sale, at Goodwill, on E-bay or otherwise
        sold - almost always below market value because the survivors can't be
        bothered - they just want it gone.
        
        This is the very basis of yard sales and antiquing.
        
        It's how I get a 1999 BMW Z3 with 20K miles back in 2008 for $5K
        bundled with a Mac Cube and several $K of other goodies from a widow of
        a former Apple employee.  She just wanted it gone.  I didn't even
        "hardball" her - I gave her what she asked for all of it!
        
        I got a vast stamp and coin  collection from my father: my sibs who
        live within 50 miles of my mother wanted nothing to do with it; she's
        getting on and needed to deal with it - I was willing to come across
        the country to take it all.  Now I have quite a collection of both
        valuable stamps and a ton of gold and silver.
        
        It's how you get cheap Ham radio gear, machine tools and furniture also
        - estate sales.
        
        The article is ignorant of all of this apparently.  Never had anyone
        close to them actually die perhaps.  The "problem" will solve itself
        and no one will notice it ever was a problem!
       
          moeris wrote 4 days ago:
          > The article is ignorant of all of this statement... The "problem"
          will solve issue and no one will notice it was ever a problem.
          
          I think you've misread the article a little.  It's not so much a
          problem in the sense that there will be an overwhelming wave of junk
          that piles up on street corners.  The problem is that there's a
          generation which is about to share a collective experience, one which
          will enforce an already minimalist tendency.  The article doesn't
          spend most of its time going on about waste management.  It's about
          the physical and emotional toil associated with handling an estate. 
          That's why it focuses on stories of individuals struggling.
          
          As someone who lost a parent this last year (and spent three days
          just removing food from the house), I may be a little biased.  But
          that was my reading.
       
          daenz wrote 4 days ago:
          >The "problem" will solve itself and no one will notice it ever was a
          problem!
          
          Yep, everybody wins. The person selling gets quick cash for minimal
          hassle, and the person buying gets extremely inexpensive treasures.
          Win-win
       
          erickhill wrote 4 days ago:
          Or, the article is precisely about you and you don't realize it. You
          might not be the son in the article. You might be the dad (hopefully
          with many decades of collecting yet to go).
       
          pessimizer wrote 4 days ago:
          Death is the only way to obtain a lot of hobbyist board games. They
          usually only go through a printing or two, then are sold and traded
          for a few years after that until they find the collections that
          they're loved in, then they sit in those collections for another 50
          years until the collector dies.
          
          A collector dying is often cause for a feeding frenzy that will make
          a hundred people happy. I know of at least two game collectors who
          had time to plan who threw post-mortem potlatches where the people
          who they enjoyed playing those games with while they were alive
          divided the collections between themselves. I guarantee those friends
          did not feel burdened. Honestly as much an opportunity for renewal as
          a time of loss.
       
            calvinmorrison wrote 4 days ago:
            The most fascinating collection I think, was the auction of
            notorious mayor, police chief and brow-beater, rather fist beater
            Frank Rizzo, of Philadelphia.
            
            No where else was there such a collection of awful italian style
            Tchohkes, religous paintings, horrid furniture and even his own
            personal police baton.
       
          Scoundreller wrote 4 days ago:
          Oh man, stamps, for the past 10 years I’ve bought “discount”
          stamps off eBay. Basically buying 45cent or whatever stamps for 25
          cents or less and plastering my packages like the… never mind.
          
          Obviously this is the lossy side of stamp collecting, but man, to
          take a haircut like that after preserving something for 20 or 30
          years.
       
            calvinmorrison wrote 4 days ago:
            My father does this... incessantly. He has stacks of stamps he uses
            to send out for work and he gets them all at major discount on
            ebay.
            
            It turns out the post office, mostly doesn't actually care to count
            up the 1 and 2 cent stamps.
            
            There's a group of hobbyists committing felonies out there making
            their own stamps and sending them out. The post office doesn't
            notice.
            
            One sillier trick was, forget a stamp, it'll get returned to
            sender. Simply put your destination as the return and you get a
            free mailer.
       
              docandrew wrote 3 days ago:
              “Mail hacking” was a thing. I forget the name they gave it
              but read an article in 2600 or Phrack some time ago that talked
              about some of the tricks like the one you mentioned. The only
              other one I remember was to put a smear of Vaseline in the corner
              where stamps normally go. It was enough to trick the sorting
              machine.
       
              selimthegrim wrote 4 days ago:
              I have definitely gotten mail with a postage due ink stamp so
              they count at least the absence of them
       
              Scoundreller wrote 4 days ago:
              At least I hear USPS really cares about weight. In Canada... not
              so much.
       
            bruce511 wrote 4 days ago:
            With very rare exceptions, even giant stamp collections are
            worthless. Stamp collecting is all about collecting, not disposing.
            
            Sure there are catalogs that detail the "listed price" of a stamp,
            but that's the dealer price to you, not the price they'll buy it at
            (which is likely < 10%). Buying stamps is really easy, selling them
            (for their actual value) is hard. (I guess this is true for
            collections in general.)
            
            Apart from the selling issue, is the searching issue. You might
            inherit a collection of a few thousand stamps, but it's unlikely to
            be sorted by value. Which means it has to be examined. By a
            professional. Which takes time. So there goes any value in it.
            Which is why a dealer will only pay pennies for a whole collection
            - it'll chew their time separating the wheat from the chaff.
            
            Best thing you can get any collector to do is dispose of all the
            value in their collection, or clearly separate the value from the
            rest, before they pass.
            
            Now me, I have books. Lots and lots of books. The kids will love
            inheriting those... :)
       
              paulhart wrote 4 days ago:
              Yeah, my dad is into stamps... These days he only collects items
              that are no longer produced (i.e. from Newfoundland), and keeps
              them highly organized.
              
              No idea if they're actually worth anything, but it gives him
              pleasure.
       
          irjustin wrote 4 days ago:
          My take is the population growth differences that accounts for the
          premise of the article.
          
          The 1950's parents for the first time had extra stuff more so than
          previous generations with the rise of consumerism, but they also had
          larger families where the parents of the 1980's took stuff off their
          parents hands. Garage sales for sure.
          
          Today, the trend is smaller families while the things of the 80's
          tend not to transfer as well.
          
          This trend will likely continue to be even worse as fast consumerism
          + innovation makes many items not last more than a few years.
       
            _delirium wrote 4 days ago:
            This will be very regional I feel. I have tried to stock my house
            with used furniture everywhere I've lived. This was very successful
            when I moved to Cornwall (UK). If you weren't too picky about the
            styles, there were many options, all at huge discounts over
            original price. But in contrast to that, in large U.S. urban areas,
            used furniture shops are not worth your time, with no good deals. I
            assume this relates, somewhat morbidly, to the difference in death
            rates vs. new-resident rates.
       
              eropple wrote 4 days ago:
              The difficulties in finding decent used furniture, and not
              wanting to buy More Particleboard as I've settled in a house I
              plan to stay in for a good long while, has got me going the other
              way and building my own furniture.
              
              Articles like this do gently nudge that my personal tastes in
              styles aren't universal, though, and it will be worth a think at
              some point as to whether the stuff I'm making is future waste,
              too.
       
          dehrmann wrote 4 days ago:
          This is all true, but "cheap" is a tricky term because you have to
          actively look for it. People picking over stuff to catalog and resell
          is a valuable service. Like you said, families just want it gone, but
          even if they wanted top dollar, parting out a collection take a lot
          of time.
       
        themadturk wrote 4 days ago:
        We went through this ten years ago with my wife's dad. He had a lot of
        stuff, but he had a lot of hobbies...there was relatively little
        "junk," and he used a lot of it until just a year or two before he
        passed. Some of it went to fellow hobbyists. Some went into storage.
        The stuff we just couldn't deal with were sold, along with the house,
        to a professional flipper who conducted an estate sale, hauled the rest
        away, and remodeled and sold the house.
        
        My mom was smart, for the most part. My parents weren't really big into
        accumulating stuff, beyond what people without many hobbies accumulate
        over the years. Twenty years after my dad passed, my mom downsized
        before she sold the house and moved into and independent living
        community. We got professional help downsizing further when she moved
        from independent living to assisted living, and finally got rid of
        almost everything else when she went into memory care. As much as she'd
        gotten rid of, she still had an amazing amount of stuff. It was a
        little easier doing it in stages, I suppose.
       
        tmountain wrote 4 days ago:
        It doesn't have to be this way.
        
        Synopsis of "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning" by Margareta
        Magnusson.
        
        In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, dö
        meaning “death” and städning meaning “cleaning.” This
        surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary
        belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be
        done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you. In The
        Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, artist Margareta Magnusson, with
        Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism.
        Her radical and joyous method for putting things in order helps
        families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process
        uplifting rather than overwhelming.
        
   URI  [1]: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Gentle-Art-of-Swedi...
       
          brabel wrote 4 days ago:
          Swedish garages are never used for cars. Their only purpose is to
          hold a whole lot of trash that "you may need some day". I've visited
          lots of houses when I was on the market, nearly all of them had a
          garage or basement completely full of what to me looks like trash (as
          the article says, to the owners, it's old stuff that has some
          sentimental value, of course).
       
            theandrewbailey wrote 4 days ago:
            > Swedish garages are never used for cars.
            
            A bunch of American garages are the same way. There are lots of 2
            car garages in suburbs that only have enough empty space for 1 car,
            if any at all. I suspect that this may be more of a widespread
            phenomenon than I had realized.
            
            Growing up, I'd hear of all of these big tech companies that got
            started in some guy's parent's garage. I considered my parent's 1
            car garage: mom complained when she couldn't put the car in it, and
            the rest was filled with tools and the lawnmower. No way a company
            other than a car shop could get started there.
       
              brewdad wrote 3 days ago:
              I think a part of the issue lies with the fact that most homes
              built in large suburban developments of the 21st century don't
              have basements. My dad kept his tools and camping gear and other
              less used stuff in the basement. I have to sacrifice a parking
              spot and still usually need to move a bunch of "stuff" in order
              to use my table saw or work on anything larger than a bench top.
       
            unwind wrote 4 days ago:
            You forgot the semi-official extra storage that many houses come
            with, especially I guess in the northern half: the sauna. :)
            
            Apologies to any sensitive readers from Finland.
            
            In my case, no sauna and previous owners redid the garage into
            hall/utility (laundry) room/big bathroom and a small unheated
            workshop. Guess where the clutter lives, heh. :/
       
              niemenmaa wrote 4 days ago:
              Saunas filled with stuff like warehouses arouse unpleasant
              feelings in me, and sometimes actually offend :D
              
              I guess I'm a sensitive Finn :)
       
          shakezula wrote 4 days ago:
          This feels like the anti-hero to Kondoesque sparks-joy cleaning.
       
            kzrdude wrote 4 days ago:
            Yeah, "death cleaning" sounds very off-putting (also in the
            original language).
       
            cbhl wrote 4 days ago:
            Even if you follow Kondo's methodology, your late parents' things
            are almost certainly "sentimental items", which Kondo explicitly
            states to leave for last.
       
              lupire wrote 4 days ago:
              But that "last" is almost all of it, after "bulk/hazardous that I
              can't just toss to the curb". The rest was already gone.
       
            astrange wrote 4 days ago:
            Btw, “sparks joy” was invented for the English translation. The
            Japanese was IIRC “tokimeki”, so I’d say that is a clever
            localization but is too specific about the kind of emotion sparked.
            
            Kondo’s Japanese books also have a lot more specific advice about
            trash disposal in Japan, which can be difficult, leading to
            hoarding because you don’t want to figure out how to do it.
            
            Japan has some high productivity systems for sure, but in things
            like trash and childcare they’ve instead chosen to have very
            complicated processes you have to get just right, and instead of
            improving them they just have all of society shame you if you ever
            get any of it wrong.
       
              SenHeng wrote 4 days ago:
              I've often seen that when old houses get torn down, everything
              inside gets dumped into a skip that later goes to a magical place
              that does magical things with it.
              
              I'm quite sure similar services can also be used by the average
              person. You simply google for these magical words '産廃業者
              $CITY'. Most* things can and will be handled by your local
              'industrial waste' disposal person. Industrial here stands for
              non-consumer, not stuff-in-factories.
              
              * Except hazardous materials like asbestos, used paint and
              assorted chemicals which require another kind of disposal service
              that the city council can point one to.
       
        irrational wrote 4 days ago:
        I’ve already told my wife that when her parents die we are just going
        to burn the house down. I’m just half joking.
        
        I truly don’t understand people that fill up their homes with stuff.
        You can’t take it with you. And I have no intention of sorting
        through it. It’s all going straight to the landfill.
       
          ryandrake wrote 4 days ago:
          > I truly don’t understand people that fill up their homes with
          stuff.
          
          I almost replied this way, too, but then I remember the junk drawer I
          have full of DB9 serial cables, Firewire cables, PCI SCSI cards,
          256MB RAM chips, 2GB spinning hard disk drives,  three prong computer
          power cables, mice, webcams, power strips, power bricks, and a fully
          functional Dell OptiPlex GX620 with a screaming Pentium D 3.2GHz CPU.
          I keep all these things out of some insane sense that "One Day I
          Might Need It And Will Be Glad I Kept It."
          
          Same reason I keep scrap wood, extra floor tiles, and 1/4 full paint
          cans in my shed.
       
            thematrixturtle wrote 4 days ago:
            Leftover paint exposed to temperature extremes is unlikely to last
            longer than a year or two.
       
              memcg wrote 4 days ago:
              I had vinyl siding installed and some wood trim painted on the
              exterior of my house in 1985. The leftover  oil-based paint is
              stored in my crawl space, which has no direct heat or air
              conditioning. I used some of the paint in 2021 to touch-up the
              wood trim and then put the can back in the crawl space.
       
            sockaddr wrote 4 days ago:
            I had a similar pile but went through it and tried to pick:
            
            - Only one of each type of thing
             - Only the highest quality/safest power bricks
             - And items that punched above their weight in terms of utility
            (like an adapter that at least one end was not obsolete)
            
            This reduced my pile by about 75% .
            
            I find that I subconsciously keep a map of things that I encounter
            on my search for other items and this is actually a burden. Just
            getting rid of that PCI SCSI card lets me just forget that type of
            thing even exists and move on with my life.
            
            I've been doing this sort of thing since the pandemic started and I
            haven't once regretted it. Actually now I have more space for new
            junk.
       
              aix1 wrote 4 days ago:
              I have a similar method: I keep all cables in a set of small
              boxes.    All USB cables go into one box, networking into another
              etc.  I don't allow the boxes to overflow.
              
              This does three things:
              
              1. Makes it easy to find the right cable or to establish
              definitively that I don't have one.
              
              2. Limits the volume of cables I keep.    Say some gadget comes
              with a micro-USB cable, but the USB box is full.  I either
              already know that I don't need any more micro-USB cables and
              recycle it right away, or check the box and find another USB
              cable to recycle to make space.  (On extremely rare occasions I
              decide that the box is too small and either upgrade to a bigger
              one or split the category up into subcategories.  I haven't
              needed to do this for a very long time.)
              
              3. Makes explicit the process of thinking "Do I need to keep this
              thing?" instead of automatically storing it away.
              
              I use the same method for chargers, mains extension leads and
              adapters etc.
       
                JohnBooty wrote 4 days ago:
                This works for me and it's pretty effective!
       
            ars wrote 4 days ago:
            Are you me? :)
            
            And whenever I think about throwing it out, I actually do end up
            using something from the pile :)
            
            My only consolation is that it's all easy stuff to throw out for
            the next generation - there's no emotional stuff there.
       
            klyrs wrote 4 days ago:
            I had such a collection.  It spent a decade in storage during a
            transient period of my life, and I emptied my storage when I got a
            house.    I made a decision that I was going to empty every single
            box, whether or not I'd go on to repack them.  I saved a miniscule
            fraction of the computer stuff, in the face of the evidence that I
            had not needed it for an entire decade and had no plans to open a
            computing museum.
       
              eropple wrote 4 days ago:
              I just did the same thing last weekend, from boxes that had been
              kicking around a few moves, which is where most of my "buildup of
              crap" came from personally. I'd lived in a series of apartments
              with more storage space than actively usable space, then I'd met
              a girl, she owned a house so moved in there, we bought a house
              together, COVID hit so we sold that house for another with a yard
              for us and for the dogs, then we split up and I kept this house
              because she had her eye on one not far away.
              
              Five years after some of these boxes were packed, I finally went
              through them. I found a few things to keep, like the thank-yous
              from charity events I've run, but I don't need a monitor stand
              for a monitor I don't have anymore or all those VGA cables.
              
              My studio and my wood shop are pretty well-organized now. Aiming
              to keep them that way. The rest of the house--I dunno, I live
              pretty lightly outside of those two areas.
       
          ta988 wrote 4 days ago:
          Don't throw things, get specialists that can sell and redistribute
          it. You can negotiate to not get money back and they can even take
          care of what's really trash.
       
            djbusby wrote 4 days ago:
            Yes. Well, this process takes months. Do you want the empty house
            to sell or use? Or would you rather wait 6+ months while stuff
            slowly clears out?
            
            Edit: for the replies: that works in populated areas. Rural MO, WS
            not so much.
            
            Edit2: also, arguing with kinfolk about stuff or waiting for
            probate (in the absence of a Will)
       
              1123581321 wrote 4 days ago:
              Shouldn’t take nearly that long. Get another quote from a
              professional with a warehouse so they can work from there. Or
              schedule an estate sale as soon as legally able.
       
              bseidensticker wrote 4 days ago:
              There are definitely people who will move every single thing out
              of a house in a weekend for free.  That's how storage unit
              auctions are done, and buyers even pay for it.
       
                Cerium wrote 4 days ago:
                Exactly, if you want a house empty you can make it empty just
                about as soon as you would like. The only question is who pays
                and how much. As you say - if it is junk you will pay some, if
                there are some things of obvious value you can come out ahead.
       
        SoftTalker wrote 4 days ago:
        After having to deal with all the stuff my parents left behind I swore
        to myself that I would not do the same thing to my kids.
        
        It's easy to say "just throw it out" but so many items have nostalgia
        and memories attached. Yet if I hadn't had to sort through it all, I
        never would have missed that stuff.
        
        I need to get on it. I'm not getting younger.
       
          BeFlatXIII wrote 4 days ago:
          > if I hadn't had to sort through it all, I never would have missed
          that stuff.
          
          That's the thing I hate most about doing deep cleans.  I end up
          emotionally drained from nostalgia.  If someone else had thrown away
          all the mathoms while I was on vacation, I'd never even notice they
          went missing.
       
            JKCalhoun wrote 4 days ago:
            I find it cathartic — if done from time to time.
       
          Wohlf wrote 4 days ago:
          My strategy from moving frequently was to leave things I don't use in
          the boxes, and if they're still there when I move again it's time for
          them to go. Now that I've settled down I set a period of time
          instead. This had the side benefit of helping me figure out the few
          mementos I really care about so I start taking better care of them.
       
          vitaflo wrote 4 days ago:
          Any items that have memories attached, I take a photo of, then throw
          them out.  The photo will give the same memories, but not take up the
          space.
       
          pbuzbee wrote 4 days ago:
          For me, often the amount of time I've hung on to the item becomes the
          reason I keep it longer, rather than the item itself. "Oh wow I've
          had this trinket since the 5th grade. It's not really significant to
          me anymore, but it feels a little sad to get rid of it now."
       
          bentcorner wrote 4 days ago:
          My dad is getting older and even though he doesn't say it I can tell
          he's contemplating his own mortality.  He recently asked me if I'd
          like to take the old Vic-20, C-64 and Apple 2e off his hands.  We
          have a lot of very fond memories we made together with that
          technology and it played a part of who I am today.  But frankly I
          don't have the room nor do I have the time to do anything with that
          stuff.    It'd just sit in a box in my garage.
       
            sokoloff wrote 4 days ago:
            I wish I’d archived the contents of the floppies from my old
            8-bit days. They would fit on the smallest SD card* now, and I
            would have like to reminisce and laugh at myself for things that
            were hard for me at 12.
            
            * - not appropriate archival medium, of course.
       
            warning26 wrote 4 days ago:
            You’d be surprised at how much that stuff will sell for on eBay
            — people will even pay the massive shipping costs. Retro
            computing is really popular.
       
              vintermann wrote 4 days ago:
              I was surprised at how cheap it was, actually, once I went ahead
              and bought myself an old C64. These things aren't remotely at
              "collector level" prices yet, and they might well never be.
              They're still usually cheaper than the sticker price back when
              they were new, and with inflation that's not very expensive.
              
              I have the impression people are selling more to "make sure it
              ends up with someone who can appreciate it" than to make a
              profit, and that's a good example to follow in other niches than
              vintage computers I think.
       
              digisign wrote 4 days ago:
              Not sure about ebay but you can't sell on amazon any longer
              without them knowing everything about you.  I used to sell but am
              no longer allowed.  Not worth it.
       
          calvinmorrison wrote 4 days ago:
          What's hit me the most are a few keepsake items. I have a watch
          handed down, worthless. I have a old cigar tray from Cuba. I have
          some fine dishware we pull out at christmas and i say "this is from
          your grandmother when she lived in Cuba".
          
          However, I sold my grandfathers STHL chainsaw, and that guy still
          uses it.
       
            mod wrote 4 days ago:
            I'm not that guy, but I own some very old tools that belonged to a
            stranger.
            
            I don't know anything about the man but his profession, and that he
            bought good tools. But I often think of him when I use them.
       
        flybrand wrote 4 days ago:
        When FiL passed away there were multiple buildings on their 50 acres
        full of stuff. Both he and MiL were only children. Everything over 200
        yrs had flowed to them.
        
        “Priceless heirlooms” weren’t of interest to anyone. Auctions led
        to junk dealers. There is a hopelessness in realizing that lifetimes of
        activity were of little value, that nobody even knew what many objects
        were.
        
        I felt like the girl in the movie Labyrinth when they weigh her down w
        worldly possessions.  There’s no way to train for it. It’s like the
        Kipple of Philip K Dick.
       
          dhosek wrote 4 days ago:
          I feel a bit that way about my life’s accumulation of books. I
          suspect that the vast majority will end up getting donated to the
          library book sale after I die (plenty of worn and ancient
          paperbacks). I have made a point of pre-segregating the books that
          will likely have a notable resale value, but those are not many.
          Perhaps when I’m older but not too old I may spend some time trying
          to connect some of the specialized sub-collections with individual
          collectors who will treasure them as I did.
       
            cwingrav wrote 4 days ago:
            I bought a used book online, and it had a person's last name and a
            book club in it. I was able to trace it back to a woman in the
            Carolinas that died without family. Her obituary gave a bit of her
            life story and I treasure the book all the more because I know a
            bit about the woman and how she loved reading and gardening (it was
            a gardening book).
            
            Somethings do get passed on.
       
              dhosek wrote 3 days ago:
              I have a book which has some diary entries written at the ends of
              chapters. It seems that the diarist's wife wanted them to move
              from the farm they lived on and the diarist was reluctant to do
              so but was going to acquiesce out of love for his wife.
       
            paganel wrote 4 days ago:
            Hopefully all of my (by now many) physical books will get donated
            to the village library from where my mother grew up and where my
            parents live right now. I remember I borrowed a David Copperfield
            translation and never returned it, that happened about ~30 years
            ago. I still feel guilty about it from time to time.
       
              dageshi wrote 4 days ago:
              Based on personal experiences trying to give away my collection
              of 2000's scifi/fantasy books, it's hard even to give them away.
              
              The physical book market is shrinking and a significant portion
              of new readers likely use ebooks/audiobooks instead so there's
              just far less demand for physical books.
              
              I think it's going to be very hard to even give books away in the
              coming decades, I can see the vast majority going to recycling.
       
                kingcharles wrote 3 days ago:
                County jails. Having spent time in county jails, a lot of them
                have few or no books and people in them are desperate for
                something to read as jails tend to have literally nothing to do
                except stare at the walls (no TVs, radios etc). They all
                happily take book donations. Doesn't matter how weird or
                esoteric the books are, someone will read them. I read over 800
                books in jail, and because beggars can't be choosers I read
                some weird and wonderful things.
                
                Book charities won't send to jails, only to prisons, because
                they say people aren't held long enough in jails, even though I
                know people who have been waiting 11 years for trial so far.
       
                pfdietz wrote 4 days ago:
                Did you try a used book store?    They'll at least take them off
                your hands for a nominal amount, even if they then throw most
                of them away.    Half Priced Books has this business model.
       
                  ghaff wrote 4 days ago:
                  Used book stores--such as there are these days--tend to be
                  very selective about what they take. So you haul in a box or
                  two and they'll take a relative handful off your hands.
                  
                  My local library will take books for their annual fundraising
                  sale. But I suspect most end up recycled or tossed even so.
       
              flybrand wrote 4 days ago:
              Libraries Are over run - few take donations.
       
                pfdietz wrote 4 days ago:
                Here in Ithaca, NY the "Friends of the Tompkins County Public
                Library" has a book sale of donated books twice a year.  Each
                sale goes over several weeks with prices declining, with the
                last day being "$1 for a medium sized bag full of books".
                
                After the sale a large dumpster is parked out front and the
                volunteers fill it with things that didn't sell, to be sent off
                for disposal (recycling, I think.)
                
   URI          [1]: https://www.booksale.org/
       
            Ekaros wrote 4 days ago:
            I'm also kinda worried about my parents bookshelves. Some of it has
            probably bit over minimal resale value like book series still
            collected. Many things albeit interesting for period not so much
            actual value...
            
            I wonder how it will end up, let the people pick interesting stuff
            and then leave some value there and have someone buy it in bulk or
            get all of it and save the cost to recycling and processing it.
       
              dhosek wrote 4 days ago:
              When my grandfather died some 30 years ago, he left behind a
              significant library that was of little interest to anyone but
              him.
       
            fy20 wrote 4 days ago:
            I'd check if they can be donated first, rather than leaving that
            burden for your next of kin. The phrase also works the other way
            around: One man's treasure is another man's junk.
            
            When we had to clear out the apartment of MiL, she had a sizable
            collection of books, and a bunch of clothes and shoes that had only
            been worn once. We tried the library and a few different charity
            shops, but for most things they said no. The books went in the
            trash and the clothes went in a clothing recycling bin - which I
            guess means they also ended up in the trash.
       
              Symbiote wrote 4 days ago:
              Clothing that can't be sold can be recycled into rags, cushion
              stuffing, cleaning cloths etc.
       
          jahewson wrote 4 days ago:
          Oh yes, we had a few of these accumulators on my wife's side of the
          family. It's like the depression created an entire generation that
          couldn't bear to throw anything away.
          
          Five giant boxes of rags. Every tax return back to 1942. Every
          disposable coffee cup sleeve. Presents, never opened. Dresses, last
          worn in the 1980s. Every little white table-shaped thing that comes
          in a takeaway pizza box. 20 of the same wrench, all rusty. The old
          front door knob, long since replaced. Unopened, in-box power tools
          from the 1960s. Boxes of their own parents' stuff they never sorted
          through. 72 boxes of piano sheet music. All in a tiny post-war 3 bed
          family house. It took us 2 years to get through it all.
       
            dijit wrote 4 days ago:
            Poverty does that to the brain, if you weren't aware.
            
            I have the same hoarding mentality, despite being extremely wealthy
            by my parents standards.
            
            My mum still keeps everything she gets her hands on, part of the
            reason is because reacquiring once discarded may not be possible.
            So better to be safe.
            
            While you get pretty good at using things to fix other things,
            these days everything seems to be single-use molded plastic with
            clips; once broken it often has no chance of being fixed. :\
       
              michaelcampbell wrote 4 days ago:
              Some hoarding tendencies seem to be genetic, too.  My father was
              a medium grade hoarder.  He lived through the depression (born in
              1922), but lived on a farm and said he didn't want for much.  He
              was "poor" by urban standards, but didn't know it.  Never went
              hungry, had enough money to buy what they didn't grow.
              
              His garage when he died was packed to the gills with ... stuff. 
              Mostly tools (he was a mechanic) and things he dabbled with, but
              almost none of it quality in any sense.  Enough to where he built
              a little outbuilding/shed and kept shit there too.
              
              I'm not to outbuilding level, but I have the same tendencies, and
              I'm very well off by most standards.  I'm working on it, and now
              that I've gone through my father's death and had to deal with
              that, am focusing on not having my son have to do it.
       
              wutbrodo wrote 4 days ago:
              It's not even poverty as much as material scarcity. That may seem
              like a distinction without a difference in the capitalist Western
              context, but the distinction becomes clear in different systems.
              
              My mother grew up fairly wealthy in a socialist economy, with a
              level of comfort and stability that doesn't match much of what we
              consider the experience of poverty. But material consumer goods
              were more difficult to come by and replace than in the 1980s US
              context that she later immigrated to. that mismatch has been
              apparent in a hundred conversations where she's unable to answer
              "why do you need to keep this" but also unable to discard the
              item.
       
              zivkovicp wrote 4 days ago:
              spot on, it's very difficult to shift mentality.
       
            antisthenes wrote 4 days ago:
            > All in a tiny post-war 3 bed family house. It took us 2 years to
            get through it all.
            
            Did it take you 2 years because you thought some of it would be
            actually valuable?
            
            Seems like a weekend job with a couple of buddies and a pack of
            beer. Buddies are also great for this, because they don't have any
            emotional attachment to the junk.
       
              sbarre wrote 4 days ago:
              It takes time because maybe you want to go through it all, to
              either learn and understand more about your parent(s), or to
              judge for yourself what is "valuable" and what is "junk" - both
              very subjective terms (with exceptions of course).
              
              It's easy to say "toss it all out in a weekend" when it's not
              your family's stuff.. hence your point about getting friends to
              help. :-)   But sometimes efficiency and speed isn't the point.
              
              My SO is going through something similar and it's a very
              emotional and meticulous  process, where you don't want to miss
              out on a chance to learn about your family's history as you sort
              through it all, particularly if you don't have much family left.
       
            voidfunc wrote 4 days ago:
            This kind of hoarding runs on my mother's side of the family. My
            mother's mother lived through the depression and saved
            _everything_. When she was put into a nursing home we had to get
            the house ready for sale and there was quite a flurry of junk to
            throw out.
            
            My mother is a little bit better, but she definitely saves more
            stuff than necessary. Not to quite the scale of her mother, but it
            seems like a learned behavior.
       
          danielodievich wrote 4 days ago:
          Nice use of "kipple" in a sentence. Props and respect!!!
       
            flybrand wrote 4 days ago:
            Labyrinth and Kipple in same post; my recall of hoarding tropes is
            complete.
       
          HFguy wrote 4 days ago:
          This is a bit of a random comment, but what you wrote was very
          evocative of similar experiences I've had.
       
          astrange wrote 4 days ago:
          > “Priceless heirlooms” weren’t of interest to anyone.
          
          Well, it's true. They are priceless, as in worthless.
          
          Those are usually things like furniture that could be valuable to
          someone in the area, but the cost of moving them is enough to make it
          worthless.
       
        sircastor wrote 4 days ago:
        I had to deal with my Dad’s possessions when he passed a few years
        ago. We still have quite a lot of it in our garage. He had a lot of
        technology that is long since obsolete. A lot of books and toys and
        things that were important to him. It’s had a profound effect on me
        and how much stuff I am willing to keep, understanding that it will be
        burdening someone else some day.
       
        kayodelycaon wrote 4 days ago:
        I watched a friend have to deal with this. There’s just so much to
        sort through or get rid of.
        
        My grandfather left dozens of model airplanes behind. No one in the
        family flies them. Most of the people he used to fly them with died
        before he did. Fortunately, my grandmother is still alive and we’ve
        found people who would appreciate the planes.
        
        We could have just burned everything but we have emotional ties to
        these things.
       
          calvinmorrison wrote 4 days ago:
          If you are in a niche, plan to get rid of it BEFORE you get old.
          Please, there are collectors, and stuff!
          
          I just got four new to me toolboxes, from my neighbor who was a
          diesel mechanic. Perfectly good after a bit of sanding and oiling.
          They're awesome, from the 80s, well made, and they'll keep me going
          for a long time.
          
          My father, a prodigious collector of oddities has done several
          wholsale removals of collections.
          
          One comes to mind in parcticular -  every single novel, novella,
          newspaper clipping and piece of paper of "E Phillip Oppenheim", a
          turn of the century  paperback novelist who wrote hundreds of books
          and stories. Some guy drove out, gave him a nominal amount (a
          pittance for all the work done), but another avid collector.
          
          Somewhere Indiana Jones of the paperback detective world is screaming
          "This belongs in a museum!"
       
            docandrew wrote 3 days ago:
            This is sage advice for non-collectors too. My parents had the good
            sense to hold an estate sale before they downsized and moved in
            with a relative, they knew that it’s a massive burden to leave
            children with a house full of unwanted things and I’m grateful
            for their pragmatism. Of course the real treasures, things that
            have been in the family for generations, they held on to.
       
            kayodelycaon wrote 4 days ago:
            It’s really not that simple. My grandfather had almost a year to
            find people. Almost everyone he’d known was dead. The others
            already had too many of the things and were in the same situation.
            
            Chemo stopped him from putting more work into finding people.
            
            There are hobbyist groups for just about anything, but they can be
            small and hard to find. I’m twenty years, I’m sure there would
            be three people somewhere who would want the reMarkable I have now,
            but I’d have no way of reaching those people.
       
            throwaway0a5e wrote 4 days ago:
            >I just got four new to me toolboxes, from my neighbor who was a
            diesel mechanic. Perfectly good after a bit of sanding and oiling.
            They're awesome, from the 80s, well made, and they'll keep me going
            for a long time.
            
            They'll keep you going until you get a "real" toolbox (just like he
            did) at which point they will be relegated to holding your
            assortment of flare fittings or electrical connectors or something
            and then 40yr later when that stuff too is in a cabinet and the
            boxes has sat empty for 20yr you'll give it to your neighbor who'll
            say "wow this thing must be well made, look how long it's lasted"
            when in reality it only has like 5-10yr of being used for tools on
            it.
       
            robocat wrote 4 days ago:
            > This belongs in a museum!
            
            Gotta feel sorry for curators.
            
            Curators wish to save things in museums and are surely the epitome
            of hoarders, for whom almost anything can be valuable, but however
            who can’t even accept extremely valuable collections because the
            museum is already bursting at the seams. And proper curation takes,
            time, effort and resources.
            
            Imagine turning down the collection of someone and rending a hole
            in their heart and putting tears in their eyes: decades of a
            collector’s loving care for their particular interest, for a
            bunch of stuff the museum just can’t accept.
       
            jahewson wrote 4 days ago:
            > "This belongs in a museum!"
            
            Does it? A museum for who?
       
              piceas wrote 4 days ago:
              In my father's case, a railway historical society :/
              
              I tried to dump as much as possible so they didn't have to spend
              too much time on it. It took a long time.
              
              My colleagues at work were happy to take various bits such as
              pandrol clips.
       
                calvinmorrison wrote 4 days ago:
                my first Saab i bought was from a guy who ran worked at NASA
                and in his later life contributed to a rail museum near
                Hagerstown. I have his original title which bore the NASA Bank
                as the lender. Very cool stuff! Looked it up and he worked on
                most of the missions you've heard of today.
       
              vintermann wrote 4 days ago:
              I've gone to my share of oddball museums.
       
          jamal-kumar wrote 4 days ago:
          Around a decade ago I saw an old guy flying one of those (some
          biplane replica) off of a racetrack for the runway in a school field
          and asked him what he thought of these newfangled drones and his
          reply was "I'll shoot them down!"
       
        ahmedalsudani wrote 4 days ago:
        Getting acquainted with Swedish death cleaning is not a terrible idea.
        Less really is more.
        
   URI  [1]: https://youtu.be/yv6fBOZlMgE
       
          kayodelycaon wrote 4 days ago:
          I love the idea of having boxes labeled to throw away, because those
          things aren’t useful to anyone but yourself.
       
        andsoitis wrote 4 days ago:
        > Kevin Cameron, whose father died last year and whose mother is in a
        nursing home, must now decide what to keep or toss from their cluttered
        home in Shelburne, N.S.
        
        this doesn't seem like a difficult decision.
       
          tclancy wrote 4 days ago:
          I don’t think you read the whole thing. Dealing with these issues
          after the loss of a parent (and the even more traumatizing loss of a
          live parent to dementia) can be totally paralyzing. There’s so much
          fear that you won’t ever remember them attached to everything.
       
            andsoitis wrote 4 days ago:
            I understand. Perhaps it is a "clear" decision from a Vulkan
            perspective, but I recognize that it can be difficult, in practice,
            for any human.
            
            Reminds me of a scene out of Labyrinth where a character tries to
            convince the protagonist to put more and more stuff on her back.
            She at first gives in, but then a spark illuminates in her mind and
            she realizes the stuff she's putting on her back will be like an
            anchor, not just a barnacle. So she breaks free. This was one of
            the most important lessons I learned when I was 6.
       
       
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