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OT: aging and decluttering

Good for you Forest. I just wish I could even get to the position you have. I'm about to hit 91 this month and still have a garage full of my woodworking tools and machines and a bunch of the tools and fixtures from the metal working (always had access to the machines at the high school till Covid came along) .
Don't have any "kinfolk" that are the lest bit interested in any of it even the memorabilia stuff. So have a real problem coming up . I am still able to use the stuff as needed but it can't be long. :-)
...lewie...
 
A good friend of mine had a stroke and passed away a year or so later. He was 77.
He had a big shop chock full of everything. Machine shop, electronics lab, dyno for testing engines, crankshaft grinder.. he had a little bit of everything and was adept at using all of it. He also had lots of "stuff". You never know when you'll need something, so never get rid of anything usable.
He left behind 2 brothers and 3 sisters. He lived frugally... lived in a small room in his shop. His house was used to store "stuff".. .and it was crammed full.
No will, no children to worry about...no money to speak of.
After his death, one brother who lived here was tasked by the rest of the family with "get rid of his stuff and let's split the proceeds."
They wouldn't help this Brother.. they wanted him to do all the work. None of them lived close by.
This brother figured out that "piss on them, if they won't help, I'm not going to do a damn thing.. the stuff's not hurting anything setting where it's at".. so he proceeded to go through the place and get the things he wanted to keep and just left the rest sit.
Well, a year into that... he get's the covid and dies. He leaves behind a wife and 2 step kids, who also have no use for any of his or their uncles stuff!
Now, things fall to the brothers widow... and she REALLY has no idea about anything or what to do with it.
She contacts one of her husbands friends and pleads with him... help me unload all this stuff.
Well, lucky for her, he is methodically going through the remains of the shop and grouping and cataloging and photographing everything and is having a local online auction service sell off stuff.
They've had 2 sales so far.. selling off the miscellaneous material that was stored in the house and outdoors.
The online service publishes the photos on their site.. we get a week to look things over and bid... then, after it's over, those that won bids come by and the services drags out their stuff and helps them load it.
When I first heard that they were doing it this way, I predicted doom and gloom... "people won't bid on this shit.. they want to see it in person".
Well, I was wrong. The service picks one day on that week long time frame for people to come view things in person, before the end of the auction.
With an in person auction.. .everyone's in a hurry... and they might not get the turnout they'd need nor the potential exposure they get on the internet...
I like in person auctions.. but this on-line stuff seems to be the best way... you can leisurely list what you've got.. no big rush... when you're done... one click of the button and the auction's on!!!!
 
I had to dismantle my Dad's shop when he was in his late eighties. We combined our resourses and had a nice little shop, lathe, mill, welder, torches etc. My Dad grew up in the Depression and while not a hoarder he felt that, someday, sometime, somewhere, someone, MIGHT need that. My parents lived at the end of a Cul De Sac. Mom had a stroke and was in a wheel chair Dad had Stenosis and had a hell of a time walking. One beautful spring day brought them both outside to enjoy the weather. They sat outside, Mom in her wheelchair Dad in a lawn chair enjoying the sun and fresh air.. My folks were well liked by the neighbors and soon people stopped by to visit. While that was going on I opened the overhead door on the garage. The common comment was no one thought the door could open. I loaded the back of a pickup level to the sides and 4 city garbage cans. My Dad at first was pissed but the more I pulled out the more he realized how much crap he had. When the truck and garbage cans were full (first of many tossings) I took him in thr garage and asked him to look around and tell me what was missing. Then the light went on because it didn't look any different. Him, being him, pulled an old shower head out of one the the garbage cans and said, "I want this". Funny but sad.
 
I read this thread this morning.. was putting some stuff away in the basement and realized the horrible "old bench" which came with the house was looking more than a little like some of the basements I've helped clean out. Sort of a mulch of bits and pieces and leftovers of 20+yr old repairs and projects, most of which forgotten. So I filled 2 contractor trashbags of stuff I had been saving because "it was too nice to throw out" or "sometime this'll be handy", a lot of it I sort-of recognized dating back to when we first bought the house, some remaining bits of projects themselves now long gone.

Now the bench is usable. Actually relevant stuff (spare circuit breakers, box of trim related stuff, box of old pushbutton light switches, plumbing junk) is now findable and piles not spilled and mixing all over.

Never thought I had packrat tendencies.. but there was the beginning of a packrat mess and I've been looking at it for a while now. When the time comes I will have no problems emptying my dads shop mostly into a dumpster once the good stuff is given away- but my stuff was somehow "different".

So, thanks guys :)
 
Forrest I’m glad to see your post and to hear that your doing well. Your posts were some of what originally drew me here. I’ve always enjoyed them.

This is always tricky. I’m 61 and still working. Hope to work at some level till I can’t. My wife is often after me to get rid of “stuff “. But, I still use most of the “stuff “ at least occasionally. Last year I had the unpleasant job of cleaning my Mom’s house out after she died and everyone took what they wanted. There were sentimental challenges but I will say it was in a sense made easier after she pretty clearly didn’t need anything anymore.

So I tell my wife now if I croak tomorrow go out to the shop, open the door, and call the auctioneer. I won’t need it anymore then. I suppose if I last a while my thinking may change some and will start to dispose of some things.
 
I knew somebody who worried about this kind of stuff and had a will made so that his enemies didn't get anything. Never lived to see it.
 
If it's sorted and one knows exactly where to lay hands on it and readily accessible, it's good junk. FWIW, each time I can complete a household repair without a trip to the hardware store, I point out it's good to have good junk.

If it's piles of crap stacked to the point no one knows what is in there or where to find it and anything which might be worth anything is impossible to find, it's bad junk and should go away. That way lies hoarding.

jack vines
 
Forest...Happy Birthday!! I too am getting on in my years and am trying now to liquidate my scraping and rebuilding business... It is tough to let go of my beloved tools..i I feel an man is measured by his job or profession ...so without straightedges and surface plates I am just an old guy!!
John Fahnestock
J&L Scraping Service
508 892-4856
 
I've been collecting stuff most of my 71 years, but only started my home machine shop when Fred gave me a starter kit (lathe, mill, kalamazoo bandsaw, RPC, tooling and material) about 5 years ago. I am still looking to acquire some stuff, but the awareness that it won't be long before it becomes a burden to my wife or children is always in the back of my mind. I intend to tag all the stuff and create a database with descriptions and suggested prices, but so far it's just a good intention. If/when I am no longer able to use it, I might consider selling, but it would break my heart. The capabilities that I have now have been my dream ever since I learned what a machinist was in my early teens.
 
Nice hearing from you, Forrest. I am 79 and will be in the 80s crowd this coming January. My shop is probably nothing compared to what you had, but I do think about what will become of it. I am still trying to complete some projects and write-ups for submission to George's magazines.

But I do need a disposal plan. And the will to put it in action at the appropriate time.

Thanks for posting and all the best to you.
 
Happy womb liberation day Forrest! I have wondered how you have been doing.

My business continues to grow each year and the machines therein will take care of themselves. Even the 1942 Cleveland planer mill with the Sinumerik 840D still gets regular use.

My home shop is another matter, mostly prewar GMC inline engines and truck parts, and the tools to work on and restore them. I have sold off 20+ trucks in the last 5 years. Still a few more to clear out. My sons will likely want a truck of their own, but they dont see working on them as therapy like I do. Then the dozer, tractor, dump truck, chainsaws, tree farm stuff, uhhggg . . .
IMG_0873.jpeg
 
Happy womb liberation day Forrest! I have wondered how you have been doing.

My business continues to grow each year and the machines therein will take care of themselves. Even the 1942 Cleveland planer mill with the Sinumerik 840D still gets regular use.

My home shop is another matter, mostly prewar GMC inline engines and truck parts, and the tools to work on and restore them. I have sold off 20+ trucks in the last 5 years. Still a few more to clear out. My sons will likely want a truck of their own, but they dont see working on them as therapy like I do. Then the dozer, tractor, dump truck, chainsaws, tree farm stuff, uhhggg . . .
View attachment 404421
I’m really pleased to hear your business is thriving. Guys like you deserve to succeed.

Regards Tyrone
 
Forest...Happy Birthday!! I too am getting on in my years and am trying now to liquidate my scraping and rebuilding business... It is tough to let go of my beloved tools..i I feel an man is measured by his job or profession ...so without straightedges and surface plates I am just an old guy!!
John Fahnestock
J&L Scraping Service
508 892-4856
I once said on this site that we as Machinists should all be made to buy a granite surface plate as apprentice's. That way when are time is up we have the stock/blank canvas for for our tombstones.
 
Wow! 'Way more response than I thought.

Maybe I could add another thought. My executor suggested my important papers (will, insurance, SSI, OPM annuity, passwords to accounts, lists of autopay accounts, deeds, titles, prepaid interment, etc) be combined in a clearly labeled folder in anticipation of The Day.

Some might think this morbid preoccupation but when I recall the fuss and uncertainty sorting out the estates when my mom, dad, and sister passed in their turn, I'm inclined to call my end of life planning a rational response to lessons learned. My thought is, us manly men are supposed to be provident and dutiful - therefore my duty is to plan for the inevitable and lighten the burdens associated with my passing. So I'm selling off my shop equipment to increase the legacy and organizing to the extent possible what will become my estate while I still have most of my marbles.

Too morbid?

The down side of The Golden Years: what happens after the gold wears off.
 
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Not morbid at all for my part. My parents still alive though I helped a friend work with the estate after his mother passed a few years ago. She was a packrat and made no preparations at all. Basically he and his sister walked into the house a couple days after the fire dept carried out the body; the only place for her to sleep was the living room couch.

They spent several months just getting control over the estate before they could sell the house. Took a while to even find the keys to her car.

So even a little bit of preparation will make things a lot easier for everyone concerned, doesn't have to be complete or perfect. My friend and his sister didn't even have a pile of recent mail, just a convoluted dusty mess. My job there was to get the lights on and plumbing working.. it was pretty bad.

They gave me the pick of their dads old tools from the garden shed... some reasonable old Craftsman stuff there which I appreciate to this day. Funny how weird old houses can be; the kitchen was insulated with straw in the ceiling, not a single smoke detector in the whole house. OTOH the plumbing was excellent.. so go figure.
 








 
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