After the Last Breath...What`s Your Legacy?

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After the Last Breath...What`s Your Legacy?
Written By: Elisa Hawkinson - How 2 Get Organized ~ 3/7/2022


After the last breath, imagine what happens to your 40+ years of accumulated stuff that lands in the lap of a surviving relative. That person must decide on what to save, pass on to family, sell or donate. Would you have done that person any favors?

Such a situation is just now ending: What an enormous task it has been! The relatives realized they had not visited the home for 40 years.

They had no idea how packed and stuffed it was with over 2,500 books, two kilns, over 30 molds, along with hundreds of pieces of dusty, once fired ceramics awaiting a glaze and another firing, and outdated photography equipment and hundreds of beautiful photographs.

Clearing the home in preparation for a sale took over 200 hours of labor, including trips to the dump, packing books for sale and donation, and moving furniture out of the home. Dozens of art pieces of little value were found stored in a back room. The accumulation of dust was beyond description.

Dumpsters alone: three 40-yd size, a 20-yd and finally a 10-yd hauled over 10 tons of stuff.


The saving grace was the good weather. With a single car garage stuffed full of shelves with more stuff, there was scant room to stage items to donate or sell. Groupings were placed under tarps on the lawn to abate the neighbors’ view and protect against rain.

My hope is that the reader will be motivated to take stock of what a loved one, an adult child or sibling, would have to do to take care of the reader’s own belongings.

Let’s review where to start to make the job easier.

  • Get the words Need and Use firmly placed in the brain; if an item is still used or needed, then keep it. Bless someone with everything that is not currently used or needed. Keep a few lovely personal things for decoration and added ambiance to your home.
  • Have each child and/or relative identify what they would like to have when you have breathed your last.
  • Identify where money would go upon sale of items not wanted.
  • Go through every paint can and harden latex paint that is still lingering in the garage. Cans, less than one-fourth full, can be opened and dried out; then put in the trash. Oil based paints have to be taken to hazardous waste.
  • Go through closets and drawers to see what truly still fits and is worth keeping. It might help to have a friend coach you in being serious along with laughing with what you have clung onto.
  • If a hobby from the past still takes up space in your home, let the parts and pieces go. Bless someone that can pick it up again. Much yarn was donated on this job along with tubes of paint that school children adored receiving.

Find the joy in blessing others with stuff taking up space in your home. Feel the freedom and lightness of having what you need and use. May I suggest finding your own value and worth outside of clinging to and storing stuff. There are compassionate coaches that can assist if this process feels stressful or raises anxiety. Find new freedom and joy in having just what you need and use. Be content.

When you are ready for support and strategic planning for your
downsizing project, call for a complimentary 30-minute chat.

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