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OT: aging and decluttering

Forrest Addy

Diamond
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Location
Bremerton WA USA
I turned 82 today. I'm mobile and in good health but decrepit enough I seldom get out on the shop to do anything productive. Mostly I wipe down the machinery and tidy here and there while reminiscing.

I probably won't live forever. My heirs have no use for my machine tools and shop equipment. They will never find buyers who will pay even a fraction of its worth. They will likely pass it on to an auction house and get maybe a nickle on the dollar of its true worth.

Accordingly, I've taken steps to "de-clutter." Much of my technical library, really fancy tools, Biax, most of my scraping equipment, etc has already found a home and the proceeds parked in my legacy fund. The major machine tools, welders, woodworking tools, and their equipment are spoken for, along with my stocks of materials and boxes of loot.

I'm keeping the heirlooms and memorabilia to pass on to my heirs.

This liquidation hasn't transpired without emotional turmoil. I'm sure there are some of you in the same boat as me. If you have any real value in your shop equipment and nobody in the family to follow your footsteps, don't wait too long to liquidate even though you're sure to suffer separation pangs.
 
Its so good to hear from you!

Transitioning is hard. I’m a bit behind you but already thinking about and seeing changes that are telling me to think about it.

Thanks for writing in.
 
My father in law around 75 yo, moved to a larger, fancier house and in the process lost his behind the house shop which had 3 phase power and a big lathe, mill, etc. He sold off most of it before moving...the new house has only a small & useless garage.

I was surprised he would give up that stuff...though I understand why.
 
I'm 72. A few years back, I realized that, at some point, collectors ultimately become curators, with the responsibility of making sure things go to good homes, or in some cases, back where they belong. Luckily for me, I've got nephews who want my tools. But I've also collected old books and paper. I have a book from the USS Arizona library. It'll be at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial before I kick.
 
Forrest, it is really nice to hear from you. I had been wondering for quite a while where you'd been. Your situation is understandable, and I suppose I'll be in the same boat some day. I'd rather my wife not be left to re-chop the header out of the garage door to get the VMC out when it comes time.

When my Dad gave up his tools and machines, he gave nearly all of it away to the guy cleaning out his basement. It hurt a bit at the time, but I was 3,000 miles across the country and most of the items were not that special beyond being my Dad and that I grew up using them as much as I could. The only thing I wish I'd recovered was his cast iron Challenge Machinery Co. workbench, which was a toolmaker's workbench with a cast iron top finished with a broad-nose planer tool. I've never seen one like it in any catalogs. It was about 30" x 72" and had a riser on the left back corner for a Gerstner chest. At least my son got the Gerstner chest with some mics and nice wrenches. My son carries his granddad's mics around in his backpack at engineering school, which brings a tear to my eye.

Anyway, here's to as much good health as you can muster going forward, and thank you for your contributions to PM (and HSM) going back close to a quarter century. (Can you believe it's been that long since PM started?)
 
My father had almost all junk tools...his whole life he bought everything based on low dollar. Rather one good $35 Estwing hammer, he'd have 35 $1 Harbor Freight hammers. When he died, my mother offered them to me and I told her to throw them all out. Or let my brother have them lol.
 
This liquidation hasn't transpired without emotional turmoil. I'm sure there are some of you in the same boat as me. If you have any real value in your shop equipment and nobody in the family to follow your footsteps, don't wait too long to liquidate even though you're sure to suffer separation pangs.
A friend and perhaps my biggest mentor died about a year and a half ago at age 65. While his health had declined quite a bit in the 3 years since his major heart surgery, this still came as a surprise to all. He was quite a collector (of all sorts of stuff, not just cool machinery), and left a 4000 sq. ft shop packed to the gills with all sorts of stuff, which his wife had to deal with under considerable duress. It was hard to see all that she had to deal with on top of losing her husband!

I wouldn't think to offer unasked-for advice to others (and everybody's circumstances are different, anyway), but watching this unfold made me consider this scenario for myself for the first time, with the goal of minimizing the grief my wife would face should I predecease her!

Wishing good health to all! But plan ahead if you can, too....
 
Forrest Addy

GREAT to hear from you. Your a great teacher.
Getting old sucks in some ways. Sometimes I don't know if I have the patience for being old.
Pass along or sell your possessions but please keep sharing your knowledge.

Hal
 
Happy birthday Forrest!
Keep writing and sharing your life experiences.
I, as well as a bunch of others, sure miss you around here.
Welcome back to the neighborhood!
Tom
 
68 now and downgraded to 2 or less days a week (can't quit quite yet, not a financial thing).
I have been passing on some of my extra tools and books to younger guys starting out.

Having the capability of fixing my own stuff, it will be difficult to loose it by shedding tools. Keeps the friends and family happy too. Home shop is well set up so kind of a different mind frame, no longer looking for more tools though.

Dave
 
I turned 82 today. I'm mobile and in good health but decrepit enough I seldom get out on the shop to do anything productive. Mostly I wipe down the machinery and tidy here and there while reminiscing.

I probably won't live forever. My heirs have no use for my machine tools and shop equipment. They will never find buyers who will pay even a fraction of its worth. They will likely pass it on to an auction house and get maybe a nickle on the dollar of its true worth.

Accordingly, I've taken steps to "de-clutter." Much of my technical library, really fancy tools, Biax, most of my scraping equipment, etc has already found a home and the proceeds parked in my legacy fund. The major machine tools, welders, woodworking tools, and their equipment are spoken for, along with my stocks of materials and boxes of loot.

I'm keeping the heirlooms and memorabilia to pass on to my heirs.

This liquidation hasn't transpired without emotional turmoil. I'm sure there are some of you in the same boat as me. If you have any real value in your shop equipment and nobody in the family to follow your footsteps, don't wait too long to liquidate even though you're sure to suffer separation pangs.
 
Yes to as ll of the above.
I will sing you happy birthday in the marylin monroe style.

I am just turning 70 and have been faced with mortality more and more. Mine and others. Over the last 12 years I have gotten rid of a large house and its contents, a nutty marriage, a dead business and so on. All my material possessions art in my studio except for yayak, bike. And clothing which are in my gf house which we share all expenses for. Which are minimal. I retired and can easily live on my social security but have plenty of savings to fall back on.for other things. On one level I have never been happier.
My will has an attachment with a list of my studio with.suggested selling prices and other details.
I have a 1 inch binder with banking info, passwords etc. I encouraged my kids to do this. When my daughter passed recently, all of accounts, union info, investment accounts, car info, were in one place, far easier,.
After my father retired at 62. They lived in a nice place in Florida and traveled alot and so on. By the time my mother died 8 years ago there posession boiled down to her furniture in her assisted living apartment, some heirlooms and 6 file boxes with dad's family tree reseach and a file folder with their banking and snd so on and a large bin of photos. Their was some nice jewelry and China and silver that was given to specigic heirs. All the siblings took what they wanted.
Instead of a wake. We had a party for mom when we knew she only had a couple of weeks left. A real Irish wake, where everyone had fun and drank and sang. (Fitzsimmons] .That was the best things we have ever done as a family.
My point is that it feels good to let go of things that are going anyways. I think our culture encourages otherwise. And sometimes it is painful .
 
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Being able to let go, and indeed, actively dispose of your stuff, is, beyond the cold, hard cash in your estate, late life's great gift to succeeding generations. The cost of sentimentality and inaction must otherwise entirely be borne by one's loved ones, which is, of course, really annoying for them. My friends and I are in our 50's and seemingly all dealing with parents and in-laws in their 80's and 90's. One things I've been reflecting on is lots of things, including tools, slowly go obsolete. Take welders for example; the newer ones are so much smaller, lighter, lower in power consumption and easier to use, or even hand tools specific to say cars or bikes, where the special wrenches have all changed. So even if the tools are in good working order, they may not be what a professional or serious home shop user would ever want. The same goes for antique housewares, old motorcycles, furniture and so forth. If, by the time your heirs must deal with your estate, you have reduced your possessions to an easily manageable state, you will be lovingly remembered as kind and thoughtful but unsentimental person, who even at the end, was clear eyed and admirable.
 
My late father in law went in hospital in Granada, Spain, for serious heart surgery a few years ago. He’d been told he had a 60/40 chance of pulling through. He was in his late 70’s with breathing issues as well as the heart problems.

Unfortunately although he survived the op he died a couple of days later from complications. The first my wife knew about this was when she switched on her work computer and read an email from her dad’s neighbour. Not being as fluent in Spanish back then as she is now she put the message into auto translate to find out her dad had died.

We got the next available flight out to Spain. When we got into his house I was fully expecting a pile of legal documents on his kitchen table with an “ In The Event Of My Death “ letter on top.

Instead of this there was absolutely nothing.

It took my wife the best part of 3 years to sort out his accounts. It was a complete minefield. He had financial interests in Scotland, USA, and Spain. He’s also been married and divorced in each of those countries. Getting all the documentation through was a “ Labour Of Hercules “. Many times my wife was on the verge of giving up.

So, anybody reading this - think of your partner or your kids - get your financial affairs in a clear and easily understandable order.

One member of this forum went to a lot of trouble to get us copies of the USA divorce papers from California. For that great kindness I thank him. It made our life a lot easier.

Regards Tyrone.
 
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I worked with a guy who one day told me he was going to Oklahoma to help his 3 siblings clean out their mother's house. She had died and left behind the family house, which by then no one wanted as they had all moved away.

So when he got back, he told me - in frank terms - his mother had been a hoarder of sorts and it took them 4 solid days to wade through all the junk.

In particular, she grew up poor and never threw out anything....so there were piles and piles of tinfoil/aluminum foil, all flattened out and stacked high. Anytime they bought food that was wrapped in foil, she carefully flattened it out and saved it.

He mentioned that when they were kids his older brother sometimes would come home with a can of Coke from his job at the grocery store. His mother would let the two boys share it, giving each a glass with 3 ice cubes and half the can. When they were done drinking the Coke, she would take each ice cube, rinse it off in the sink, then put it back in the freezer.
 
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