I don’t mean to be mean, but Claire’s house was grossly overstuffed with stuff. Every drawer, every closet and every cabinet was chock full of never-used sets of dishes; heavily-used dishes; never-opened gifts; never-used sets of stemware; decorative knick-knacks; tons of linens and aprons and napkins and on and on. It was sad to see so much lovely stuff and not know what to do with it.
It would have been so much better to have helped Claire go through all this stuff little by little over the last few years, distributing it to family members who could use it or donating it to charities. She could have helped us decide where she wanted things to go, she could have told us stories about its provenance, and we would not feel so bad now about having to get rid of it all at once.
You see, the house needs to be listed for sale soon. But there’s still a monstrous amount of work to do to get rid of all those items. There are treasures among the trash, but we are all busy and cannot do what she would have liked and parse out the goodies one by one to deserving souls. Instead, we hired an estate sale professional who will open up the house to hundreds of strangers.
Do your children a favor. Save them from the painful process of having to empty your house of all the goodies and all the junk. Help them by going through the process sooner rather than later. Declutter, organize, downsize. You’ll feel better about life if you do it while you’re young (ish), and they’ll feel better knowing they don’t have the two-week (or two-month) headache of disposing of your houseful of items once you’re gone.