Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

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dia
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Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by dia » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:26 am

I had never heard of Swedish Death Cleaning before, however, in the past few months it has become a popular trend. If you never heard of it before it's this: http://people.com/home/swedish-death-cl ... nd-to-try/

Essentially, you go through all your belongings and get rid of anything that isn’t essential or sentimental. This is done to avoid others having the burden of this task after you leave the planet. Well, I started this weekend and came across things like 35mm cameras with all the accessories, pocket pc (remember the pocket pcs before blackberries?), the 1st sony digital cameras that recorded on CDs, Franklin Planner binders etc etc. So, what does one do with these things? No one else in the family wants them or has room to store stuff. I checked Ebay prices and they are low and not worth the hassle of listing.

Anybody else in the process of decluttering? And what about the sentimental stuff--the elementary school projects I did that my parents saved for me? What is the value of them sitting in a box stored away? My old stuffed animals and dolls I had as a kid. Christmas decorations that I never feel like putting up anymore, but "maybe someday." We still have our mothers living in their houses and constantly want us to take their old belongings, the things they held as sentimental (and some items we did take and cherish).... It never stops.

I am not a fan of having garage sales and have found that people want it for nothing (then I may as well donate it).The same with the majority of eBay listings, if it is an item i know is in demand, I will list it, but otherwise I don't need the hassle of packaging/shipping.

We don't have children, so I feel it is important to keep things simple and tidy and would feel better to live simpler, aka less stuff hanging around.

What have others done? What to keep? Is there a feeling of remorse after you start pitching your childhood stuff? Anyone else partaking in Swedish Death Cleaning?
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. --Winston Churchill

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by bloom2708 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:34 am

I like the name. I am currently learning Swedish.

Take a digital photo of sentimental items.

Make a garbage pile. Make a thrift store pile.

Repeat with things you keep 6 months later.
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Dude2
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by Dude2 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:35 am

Yes, this describes me to a T. A few years ago I decided to become much more non-materialistic and drastically reduced the things I own. Along the lines of worrying about what others would have to deal with if I "went", I organized my stuff. Of course, wills and Pay On Death considerations everybody should do. I even encrypted my sensitive data so that when my computers would be dealt with, nobody would have to worry about dealing with that.

As far as selling stuff, I just give it all to Goodwill or similar. I fear that much of it still ends up in a landfill, but at least it gives that secondary value system a chance. Let the enterprising people out there that search for treasure deal with selling things on eBay.

The only remorse I have had has not been from missing items, but I had gone as far as to throw away old work notebooks -- to make a clean break with the past. I continue to have incidents where I tell myself I should have kept them. In other words, I need to remember something and know that if I had that old notebook I could find the information.

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dia
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by dia » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:42 am

Dude2 wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:35 am
Yes, this describes me to a T. A few years ago I decided to become much more non-materialistic and drastically reduced the things I own. Along the lines of worrying about what others would have to deal with if I "went", I organized my stuff. Of course, wills and Pay On Death considerations everybody should do. I even encrypted my sensitive data so that when my computers would be dealt with, nobody would have to worry about dealing with that.

As far as selling stuff, I just give it all to Goodwill or similar. I fear that much of it still ends up in a landfill, but at least it gives that secondary value system a chance. Let the enterprising people out there that search for treasure deal with selling things on eBay.

The only remorse I have had has not been from missing items, but I had gone as far as to throw away old work notebooks -- to make a clean break with the past. I continue to have incidents where I tell myself I should have kept them. In other words, I need to remember something and know that if I had that old notebook I could find the information.
I do like the donation trucks that come to your house and pick up. The worst part: I had a box of breakable stuff--I carefully wrapped it all up, marked the box fragile, and the guy basically through it in the truck. I doubt it made it to a new owner. There were some nice things that I thought a new owner would enjoy-- made me feel bad for doing it. Lesson learned on breakables.

I can appreciate needing old notebooks--has happened to me too. You think you will never need this information again, and then... oh boy. I wish I could talk my husband into getting rid of his old engineering text books. Not sure what he thinks is in there that he can't get on the internet... maybe it's a comfort thing.
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. --Winston Churchill

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dia
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by dia » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:44 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:34 am
I like the name. I am currently learning Swedish.

Take a digital photo of sentimental items.

Make a garbage pile. Make a thrift store pile.

Repeat with things you keep 6 months later.
It's the garbage pile that I struggle to compose... maybe I just donate everything and let someone else figure it out.
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. --Winston Churchill

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by Muri » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:48 am

I have never heard of the Swedish death cleaning, but I was thinking about starting a 10 year plan to go through every area of our house and get rid of stuff so our kids won’t have to after we are gone.

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by simmias » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:01 am

I read Marie Kondo's book about a year ago and was able to get rid of about half my clothes. It was incredibly liberating. However, I got stuck on books - for some reason, I have an incredibly hard time getting rid of them. Sentimental items were also a no-go.

I need to revisit the decluttering. There's a great thread on the MMM forum under "Throw Down the Gauntlet" that helped to inspire me.

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by mrc » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:14 am

I've deconstructed several households using a 6 pile system ...

1) Items to keep because they are used regularly
2) Items to store (with label & date; revisit every 5 years) because of irregular use or not ready to part with yet
3) Sell if item has value and it's worth the hassle
4) Donate if item has life and utility
5) Recycle or compost (our area has great recycling options)
6) Trash anything left over

The trick is to be very honest about #1 and #2. Solutions 3-6 make it easier to limit what ends up in #2.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by Wildebeest » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:23 am

I like the concept. Not the name. Swedish is OK, death sounds terminal. I think it is life affirming to be live light and portable.

Hunters and gatherers did not have stuff, too much to carry and does it really enhance the quality of your life?

Why have stuff you do not use or need? Why have stuff just because your house, office and car can store it? Just because you paid money for it?

We clean out our garage, closets, basement and there is just too much stuff left if after we threw out or gave away 50 % of it. Except for rugs when ever we buy a new piece of furniture we give away the old piece. Most of it, which is not worn and good quality ends up going to Goodwill.

My weakness is clothes. I just can get rid of my one piece North Face one piece ski suit from the 90's, I have only worn it for may be 20 days in total and not for more than one season and I felt ridiculous wearing it unless heli skiing. Currently I have worn the same ski clothes for the last 15 years ( I do not think I look any grungier than the next guy) and if I buy "new" ski clothes, I buy second hand for cents on the dollar, which makes me feel extremely frugal even while I spend a relative fortune for a lift ticket, getting there, fancy skies etc.
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by BV3273 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:34 am

I'm in the process of doing something similar. We have a space that we used as an office for years but we have another child on the way. Amazing the way stuff just accumulates. I'm one of those people that never throw anything away that is work related because I feel like you never know when you might need it. I literally just started a new job so that stigma is now gone. Besides some books everything else has little or no value so it's getting trashed. The IKEA desks are going on Craigslist under the FREE section. Hopefully they go to someone who really needs it. I did this with an old treadmill that I picked up under the FREE section of Craigslist years ago. It was picked up off and removed from our curb in about an hour. CURB ALERT Special.

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by TeamArgo » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:34 am

Three years ago my wife and I moved from our home in Kentucky with four bedrooms, a two car garage, and a basement that we had lived in for 25 years. We moved into a 2 bedroom condo in Florida. We had to go through Swedish Death Cleaning before we had heard of it.
One thing I was determined to do was to forgo the storage unit that many people get for all their junk. Instead, we made enough donations to Goodwill that the people at the dropoff points knew me by name at two places in Kentucky and later at one in Florida. We threw away many items (taking photos of any with sentimental value) and I shredded three lawn bags full of old documents. We did not have the time or inclination to have yard sales, and we had only two items that we felt were valuable enough to put on e-bay. Our kids were offered first dibs on everything, but they wanted surprisingly few items.
After the move, we had the second bedroom nearly filled with cardboard boxes with things we did not have room for, so we again went into a big donation and throw away cycle. One rule that helped was that if we hadn't used something or looked at something for pleasure for a year, it was sent away. Funny thing is, we have missed almost none of items that we got rid of.
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:35 am

Kind of a creepy name. But my 86yo mom has been practicing similar. She has gone through the house and eliminated things she doesn't use. No antiques found in her home!

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by mouses » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:39 am

My sister-in-law's mother passed away, and SIL and her sister filled three dumpsters with unwanted stuff. That motivated me to do this first.

I have made several passes through my belongings. Each time I decided to throw out more stuff. Some stuff is easy. If I am not certain, I wait.

With stuff I keep, I organize it. I have numerous archival boxes with family photos, for example. At least if the family doesn't want those, it will be easy for them to toss them. Organizing and labeling things makes it much easier for people going through things, I assume.

Some things I have gotten rid of:

Paper books, except some coffee table or rare books. It is common locally for libraries to take the former and see them to raise funds to buy the books they want. Books not good enough to donate go into recycling for paperbacks, trash for hardcover. I now have many ebooks.

Clothes I will never wear again but in okay shape. These I donate, but to places that actually use them, not rackets like Goodwill https://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-hra ... 76905.html A local church runs a free clothes closet giveaway.

A local animal shelter where I live accepts decent stuff for white elephant sales. Be sure they want whatever you plan to give them, so they aren't burdened with getting rid of it.

Old electronics goes into erecycling or hazmat.

Some things I freecycle.

A lot of stuff goes into the trash.

I do keep some stuff I'm sentimentally attached to but I know the folks left behind will toss. It's my life, after all, I get to keep junk I want.

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dia
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by dia » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:42 am

You all have inspired me. This really isn't as difficult as I am perceiving it. I have a busy day ahead of me. Thank you.
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. --Winston Churchill

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:45 am

DW's been doing this for the past couple of years. We didn't know there was a name for it. :twisted:
Anybody know why there's a 20-pound frozen turkey up in the light grid?

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dia
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by dia » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:48 am

mouses wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:39 am


Clothes I will never wear again but in okay shape. These I donate, but to places that actually use them, not rackets like Goodwill https://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-hra ... 76905.html A local church runs a free clothes closet giveaway.
I am amazed at some of the things I hear about these "donation-based stores." A friend dropped some items at a similar place and the workers there were going through it and deciding what to take for themselves. Something didn't feel right about that, but that's probably the norm. And, I guess.... what difference does it make if the objective was to get it out of your house.
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. --Winston Churchill

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:02 am

The truth of the matter is that once you die no one cares about your stuff. Your relatives may go through it, they may save it. But, no one will really look at it too much, if ever, after the initial assessment.
Pictures seem to be at the forefront of saving. No one cares. You can see that easily by trying to show someone your pictures now. Ten pictures in, they are bored.
All those sentimental things, school trophies, old clothes, bits and pieces of your life, that even you never look at. Those are nothing to the people who remain. They may see them in the same light as you, they may treasure them. If they save them, they will sit unused, unseen, in a box, an attic.
We are the ones who ascribe value to all this stuff. As we pass, so it passes.
Women have clothes. Men have tools. Pictures all around. All nothing once you die.
Pictures on CDs, memory sticks. Thousands even. Who is going to go through them. You don't even look at them.
The best that can be said for pictures is to create a photo book, a la Shutterfly or similiar.then there is a finite record. A book. Much easier to remain in the family and maybe glanced at now and then.
But the reality is that both ourselves and our stuff are not long lingering after we die. Look around yourself and see how much of others you have known who have died. What stuff remains from them? And not so much remains, as is actually used.
More lasting would be cookware your mother owned, and you use it still, than pictures and other flotsam that hangs around in the attic or basement.

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dia
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by dia » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:13 am

Shallowpockets wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:02 am
The truth of the matter is that once you die no one cares about your stuff. Your relatives may go through it, they may save it. But, no one will really look at it too much, if ever, after the initial assessment.
Pictures seem to be at the forefront of saving. No one cares. You can see that easily by trying to show someone your pictures now. Ten pictures in, they are bored.
All those sentimental things, school trophies, old clothes, bits and pieces of your life, that even you never look at. Those are nothing to the people who remain. They may see them in the same light as you, they may treasure them. If they save them, they will sit unused, unseen, in a box, an attic.
We are the ones who ascribe value to all this stuff. As we pass, so it passes.
Women have clothes. Men have tools. Pictures all around. All nothing once you die.
Pictures on CDs, memory sticks. Thousands even. Who is going to go through them. You don't even look at them.
The best that can be said for pictures is to create a photo book, a la Shutterfly or similiar.then there is a finite record. A book. Much easier to remain in the family and maybe glanced at now and then.
But the reality is that both ourselves and our stuff are not long lingering after we die. Look around yourself and see how much of others you have known who have died. What stuff remains from them? And not so much remains, as is actually used.
More lasting would be cookware your mother owned, and you use it still, than pictures and other flotsam that hangs around in the attic or basement.
Thank you for putting words to the tough reality. I agree with you completely.

I typically do not show trip photos to anyone--even if they ask. Unless someone has a personal tie to a place (like my friend that lived in Italy as a child--appeared to really LOVE looking at my Italy trip photos). Or, my friend that studied architecture-- so wanted to see the buildings in some places I have been. I show a few and then stop. People can see these places anytime thanks to the internet.

I also don't take many photos when I travel. I find it more intriguing to experience the feel of the city and not spend time clicking around with a camera, accumulating more digital photos to figure out where to store. And why?

I never print any photos I take unless for some reason I want to frame it (which is extremely rare). I also have photos of my dad before he died that I just CAN'T look at. Not sure why--hurts too much I guess. They remain in my cell phone and I am tempted to just delete them and keep his memory in my brain where it belongs.
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. --Winston Churchill

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by JCE66 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:40 am

Bogleheads....Not sure how this got named 'Swedish Death Cleaning', but I think it fits.

I cannot begin to emphasize what a favor you will do for your children by decluttering and getting rid of extraneous crap that they do not care about, and will probably never use. I was particularly close to my parents. When my Mother declined, it was a very difficult time. I remember the day when I saw her and had to call social services because it was obvious she was unable to care for herself any longer. I lived several hours away and was only able to visit once every couple of months (had a family, two small kids, etc).

The day I put her into a nursing home is burned into my psyche for all time. Even worse was having to come back every weekend for two months to clean her apartment. My Father (parents were divorced, but amiable) even came to help. That was incredibly traumatic. I cannot begin to tell you how difficult it was. It is literally 17 years later, and I still tear up a little thinking about it.

My wife and I swore never to put our children through that experience, if at all possible. We are on a '20-year glide path' of decluttering and simplifying a little bit every year. The goal is to have everything neatly labelled and boxed for each son. Our pictures and films will be digitized, and put onto CDs and thumb drives. Then the originals will be tossed. Our sons will receive one box of their personal baby/child items we saved for sentimental reasons. We donate every year to Goodwill and take the deduction (might go away with the much larger standard deduction that is allegedly coming).

Your children will have a hard enough time dealing with the emotional aspects of losing you, their parent. And then going through all the financial BS and paying bills. Do them a favor and don't leave a huge mess behind - it will only make matters far worse, at a time when they are most vulnerable.

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by mrc » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:42 am

dia wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:13 am
I also don't take many photos when I travel. I find it more intriguing to experience the feel of the city and not spend time clicking around with a camera, accumulating more digital photos to figure out where to store. ...
Me too! I see so many people with their smartphones in front of their faces instead of paying attention to the experience. Just last week at the National Museum of Art.

me: Remember that sunset at the rim of the Grand Canon? The colors ...
friend: Not really, my phone died and I couldn't get the USB charge pack to work until we got to Austin.
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by nisiprius » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:22 am

I won't get too far into it except to say that in some cases, in the case of things like books that were really important to me forty years ago when I was in grad school, or other items which have sentimental value and I keep around for the memories they trigger... I find that it is easier to let go of them if I take a picture of them first. It is one of the nice things about digital photography being all but cost-free.

Ah, yes, remember sending the kids off to summer camp? I hate to get rid of these, but, honestly, after the basement flooded they aren't really very much good any more. Do you think we could donate them? No?

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by sport » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:26 am

JCE66 wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:40 am
Our pictures and films will be digitized, and put onto CDs and thumb drives. Then the originals will be tossed.
I would think twice about this. I have information on 5" floppy discs and 3.5" floppy discs that I cannot read. My computer does not have drives for those. (Yes, I know they could still be accessed if I really want to.) However, I have paper pictures of my great grandparents and other family pictures that are more than 100 years old. Storage media keep changing (remember 8-track tapes). New cars don't even have CD players anymore. So, if I really treasured some photos, I would not want to toss the originals. In addition, do we really know how well CDs and thumb drives will retain data over very long periods of time? I can envision someone finding a thumb drive 50 years from now and saying "what is this thing?".

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by RudyS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:43 pm

sport wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:26 am
JCE66 wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:40 am
Our pictures and films will be digitized, and put onto CDs and thumb drives. Then the originals will be tossed.
I would think twice about this. I have information on 5" floppy discs and 3.5" floppy discs that I cannot read. My computer does not have drives for those. (Yes, I know they could still be accessed if I really want to.) However, I have paper pictures of my great grandparents and other family pictures that are more than 100 years old. Storage media keep changing (remember 8-track tapes). New cars don't even have CD players anymore. So, if I really treasured some photos, I would not want to toss the originals. In addition, do we really know how well CDs and thumb drives will retain data over very long periods of time? I can envision someone finding a thumb drive 50 years from now and saying "what is this thing?".
As soon as a new format becomes popular, it's time to convert to that medium.

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by Gnirk » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:14 pm

I've been trying to "purge" so that my daughters won't have to go through what I went through when my mom passed away (5,000 square feet of mostly "good" stuff in a 2500 Square foot house). All of the family photos and memorabilia, dating back to the mid-1800's, went to my house until we could sort through it. We got together a few years later, sorted through it, each of us kept what we wanted, the rest went to charity or the landfill.

I also have gone through all of my stuff. I first offered the good jewelry I no longer wear to my daughters. The pieces they didn't want I sold to a local jeweler. I then went through my attic, closets, cabinets, china cabinet and if my daughters didn't want it and it doesn't have true sentimental value or I haven't used it in five years, I took it to a charity-based thrift shop. This included vintage books, original art work, crystal, silver, clothing, dishes, kitchen items, vintage jewelry, home decor items, small pieces of furniture, etc.

Now if I could just get my husband to do the same thing. :shock:

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by dia » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:24 pm

Gnirk wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:14 pm

Now if I could just get my husband to do the same thing. :shock:
I can relate. Just today, I'm upstairs digging around and my husband asks me what I'm doing. "I started Swedish Death Cleaning," I replied. He says, "Good, don't touch any of my stuff."
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. --Winston Churchill

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:33 pm

dia wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:26 am
Essentially, you go through all your belongings and get rid of anything that isn’t essential or sentimental. This is done to avoid others having the burden of this task after you leave the planet.
When my mother died, my sister and I had to unload 6 TONS of stuff into dumpsters. 3 story house + basement... There was still enough left to consume all of a 3-day auction.

When I got home (months later) I started pitching stuff...and still am.
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by rocket354 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:18 pm

I went through a similar process when I moved cross-country after 10 years in my previous location.

Everything went into one of four piles: Keep, Sell, Give away/Donate, Trash. The sizes of the piles went in the opposite order.

There were a few momentary pangs when getting rid of some items (a softball championship trophy, my trumpet I played from 4th-12th grade, a few thousand books I had carefully collected and read over the years, etc) but I don't think of any of that stuff any more. I never thought about them when I owned them: they were all just stored tucked away or part of the familiar background to my life that I never even noticed any more. Only when I looked directly at them when deciding to cull my clutter did I feel anything, and once they were gone there was no guilt at all. I still had the memories those items represented, but I also had more room in my house and more money in my pocket.

Ultimately, stuff that was overflowing a 1600+ sf house was reduced to one compact carload + a small trailer (4'x7').

It's been over two years since I did that and my piles of stuff are slowly building back up again. I am more diligent about selling and donating stuff on an ongoing basis, and I'm fairly minimalist in my purchasing and consumption, but the piles still seem to grow, inch by inch.

One thing I should do is probably keep records of things of value that, in the event of my death, might be hard for my family to assess and know what to do with. I wouldn't want them selling my four-figure pool cue to a pawn shop for fifty bucks, for example. First world problems, for sure.

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by Onion » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:07 pm

dia wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:26 am
I had never heard of Swedish Death Cleaning before, however, in the past few months it has become a popular trend. If you never heard of it before it's this: http://people.com/home/swedish-death-cl ... nd-to-try/

Anybody else in the process of decluttering? And what about the sentimental stuff--the elementary school projects I did that my parents saved for me? What is the value of them sitting in a box stored away? My old stuffed animals and dolls I had as a kid. Christmas decorations that I never feel like putting up anymore, but "maybe someday." We still have our mothers living in their houses and constantly want us to take their old belongings, the things they held as sentimental (and some items we did take and cherish).... It never stops.

What have others done? What to keep? Is there a feeling of remorse after you start pitching your childhood stuff? Anyone else partaking in Swedish Death Cleaning?
Love the name.

Decluttering has been one of the best thing I've done for myself and in turn, my family (it has had an incredible impact on my young children and I am a better parent for it). Clearing out my home helped me clear my mind, which allowed me to find my passion. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true. It took time, though. Start with the easy things - the things you hate, the things that are broken, the things that you know you don't want. After going through the ENTIRE house this way, go back and do it again and again until you're content. I find that you build momentum with decluttering; what may be difficult today will be easy next week, next month, or next year.

I took pictures of sentimental items. I checked eBay and if it wasn't worth my time, I donated it. I donated almost everything. One thing I will say; if you have an extensive book collection, check the value online. There are numerous companies that will pay you for your used books and postage; you can make decent money selling books with very little effort.

mouses
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by mouses » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:18 pm

dia wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:24 pm
Gnirk wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:14 pm

Now if I could just get my husband to do the same thing. :shock:
I can relate. Just today, I'm upstairs digging around and my husband asks me what I'm doing. "I started Swedish Death Cleaning," I replied. He says, "Good, don't touch any of my stuff."
Be sure to die first :-)

blueman457
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by blueman457 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:28 pm

When downsizing (for us it was moving to NYC) you realize what's important and what's not. We didn't regret getting rid of old things and now that we have a slightly larger apartment, we're actively fighting to accumulate unnecessary "stuff." Having a young child makes it harder because kids need toys and activities, but we're still doing ok.

Blue Man

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by SrGrumpy » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:35 pm

No Swedish death here. I keep everything. Sometimes I like to look at my collections of old movie stubs or concert tickets or school memorabilia or boarding passes to remind myself of the good old days, and tossing them wouldn't make a big dent in the pile. Books and clothes, and 20+ years' of magazines could possibly go. I may quarantine them for a year or two to see if I miss them. I do travel a lot, but I limit my souveniring to fridge magnets. I also take a million photos, but I never look at them. I guess my phone is cluttered, therefore, but I hardly see the point of going through all the pictures and saving or deleting.

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celia
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by celia » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:49 pm

dia wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:26 am
Well, I started this weekend and came across things like 35mm cameras with all the accessories, pocket pc (remember the pocket pcs before blackberries?), the 1st sony digital cameras that recorded on CDs, ...
For digital item, please check the memory card(s) to see if there are any photos, files, or sound recordings you haven't downloaded.

I would be careful where the data ends up. I've read that a lot of the used electronics go to China where they disassemble things, but they have access to your data!

delamer
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by delamer » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:52 pm

For years, I had a set of china that I inherited from a great aunt. Then I inherited a second set from my mother. I use china about twice a year on holidays, so keeping two sets was just silly.

I had a sentimental attachment to my aunt's set but preferred the style of my mother's. So I kept a couple serving pieces -- a platter and a bowl with a lid -- from my aunt's set and donated the rest to Goodwill. (I checked first with replacements.com but they would not buy it).

My point is that there are ways to pare down inherited and general clutter without getting rid of all items with sentimental value.

DanMahowny
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by DanMahowny » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:21 pm

Much of what people own should be trashed.

The things you own end up owning you.

staythecourse
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by staythecourse » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:27 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:02 am
The truth of the matter is that once you die no one cares about your stuff. Your relatives may go through it, they may save it. But, no one will really look at it too much, if ever, after the initial assessment.
Pictures seem to be at the forefront of saving. No one cares. You can see that easily by trying to show someone your pictures now. Ten pictures in, they are bored.
All those sentimental things, school trophies, old clothes, bits and pieces of your life, that even you never look at. Those are nothing to the people who remain. They may see them in the same light as you, they may treasure them. If they save them, they will sit unused, unseen, in a box, an attic.
We are the ones who ascribe value to all this stuff. As we pass, so it passes.
Women have clothes. Men have tools. Pictures all around. All nothing once you die.
Pictures on CDs, memory sticks. Thousands even. Who is going to go through them. You don't even look at them.
The best that can be said for pictures is to create a photo book, a la Shutterfly or similiar.then there is a finite record. A book. Much easier to remain in the family and maybe glanced at now and then.
But the reality is that both ourselves and our stuff are not long lingering after we die. Look around yourself and see how much of others you have known who have died. What stuff remains from them? And not so much remains, as is actually used.
More lasting would be cookware your mother owned, and you use it still, than pictures and other flotsam that hangs around in the attic or basement.
Man I thought I was direct. :D

I do agree 100%. Keeping stuff around is a waste of time. I would say my wife and I may watch our wedding video every couple of years and that is it. I was smart to get an external storage device to download ALL the kids pics on as we max out space on our phones and cameras when the first was born. That has made it easy to keep all the available pics in one place for them in 20 years when/ if they ask for them and takes up NO room.

Everything else is a complete waste of time. I throw everything out. I see if my wife wants to keep them. If she says no I toss them. If she says yes I put it aside and then throw it out 2 weeks later when she forgets about it. I am always amazed at how much parents keep kids art projects. They must be more talented then mine or they love them more then I do. Mean the projects, not the kids. :D

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

stoptothink
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by stoptothink » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:50 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:27 pm
Shallowpockets wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:02 am
The truth of the matter is that once you die no one cares about your stuff. Your relatives may go through it, they may save it. But, no one will really look at it too much, if ever, after the initial assessment.
Pictures seem to be at the forefront of saving. No one cares. You can see that easily by trying to show someone your pictures now. Ten pictures in, they are bored.
All those sentimental things, school trophies, old clothes, bits and pieces of your life, that even you never look at. Those are nothing to the people who remain. They may see them in the same light as you, they may treasure them. If they save them, they will sit unused, unseen, in a box, an attic.
We are the ones who ascribe value to all this stuff. As we pass, so it passes.
Women have clothes. Men have tools. Pictures all around. All nothing once you die.
Pictures on CDs, memory sticks. Thousands even. Who is going to go through them. You don't even look at them.
The best that can be said for pictures is to create a photo book, a la Shutterfly or similiar.then there is a finite record. A book. Much easier to remain in the family and maybe glanced at now and then.
But the reality is that both ourselves and our stuff are not long lingering after we die. Look around yourself and see how much of others you have known who have died. What stuff remains from them? And not so much remains, as is actually used.
More lasting would be cookware your mother owned, and you use it still, than pictures and other flotsam that hangs around in the attic or basement.
Man I thought I was direct. :D

I do agree 100%. Keeping stuff around is a waste of time. I would say my wife and I may watch our wedding video every couple of years and that is it. I was smart to get an external storage device to download ALL the kids pics on as we max out space on our phones and cameras when the first was born. That has made it easy to keep all the available pics in one place for them in 20 years when/ if they ask for them and takes up NO room.

Everything else is a complete waste of time. I throw everything out. I see if my wife wants to keep them. If she says no I toss them. If she says yes I put it aside and then throw it out 2 weeks later when she forgets about it. I am always amazed at how much parents keep kids art projects. They must be more talented then mine or they love them more then I do. Mean the projects, not the kids. :D

Good luck.
+2. I usually wait a week and then toss it and nobody ever notices. When people give us a hard time about buying way less home then we could afford, I am very upfront that my primary motivation was that it provides a built-in response when people want to get us more stuff we simply don't need: we have nowhere to put it. I don't feel an ounce of sympathy about almost immediately tossing 90% of what my in-laws (and less, my mother) gives us. Now, if I could just get my wife to remember this every time she goes shopping...

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Taylor Larimore
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"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify"

Post by Taylor Larimore » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:03 pm

Bogleheads:

Henry David Thoreau changed my life when I read his book, "Walden." This line says it all:
"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify."
Jack Bogle is another man who changed my life with the same financial theme. Read my link below.

Thank you, Jack!

Best wishes.
Taylor
Last edited by Taylor Larimore on Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Toons
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by Toons » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:10 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:21 pm
Much of what people own should be trashed.

The things you own end up owning you.
+1
Agree.
For the most part If you haven't used it in a year,
Donate it,Salvation Army etc.
Get Rid of It.
Less "material" clutter truly is more as the clock keeps "ticking". :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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telemark
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by telemark » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:14 pm

I'm cleaning up after a deceased relative now and it's not the valuable things or the sentimental ones that surprise me, but the sheer accumulation of ordinary things, all of them perfectly useful if you happen to need one. But what could one person hope to do with that many cable ties? Or staples? Or fast ethernet adapters now that everyone has moved to gigabit? I hate to throw things away that are in good condition but I'm at a loss to know how to dispose of them.

MJS
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by MJS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:40 pm

Animal shelters welcome your ratty old towels and holey blankets. Some take sheets, too.

StealthRabbit
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by StealthRabbit » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:54 am

Good idea to keep 3 bags / boxes... by the door
1) Give away
2) Throw away
3) Put Away ( make this the smallest container] :beer

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celia
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by celia » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:56 am

I'm sorry to say that this thread is full of heresy, as far as genealogists are concerned. We tend to collect anything related to relatives: photos, keepsakes, and memories. If you erase every clue as to your existence, we may not find you to include as part of the family. We can probably find your birth date and place, your death date and place, and possibly a marriage or two. But it is more interesting if we have clues to what makes you different than others. What are your hobbies? Your favorite vacation places? What do you look like???

I most enjoy reading the mass-produced "Christmas letters" that people send me. Really! I save them in a manilla envelope and put them with the Christmas decorations (until next year's batch comes in and I stuff more in there). So without doing very much at all, the genealogy tidbits add up over the years. If you could include a photo this year, that would be perfect. Please label the people in it and the place on the back, since this is often not known (or forgotten). And if you know of a relative who is trying to do genealogy, why not ask them what things of yours they are interested in? I have fund-raising cookbooks where an relative submitted a recipe, pen pal letters describing one's daily life, diaries (oh my!), and photos of those military guys and gals in uniform looking so clean cut. You probably can't send me your funeral card, but I would love to get it if I can't come to your funeral. (If you are about to toss any others out, send them to me.)

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by mouses » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:09 am

telemark wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:14 pm
I'm cleaning up after a deceased relative now and it's not the valuable things or the sentimental ones that surprise me, but the sheer accumulation of ordinary things, all of them perfectly useful if you happen to need one. But what could one person hope to do with that many cable ties? Or staples? Or fast ethernet adapters now that everyone has moved to gigabit? I hate to throw things away that are in good condition but I'm at a loss to know how to dispose of them.
There were three wheelbarrows in my parents' garage. Two people were very happy to get two of them via freecycle, including one lady who was building her own house. That was an interesting morning.

mouses
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by mouses » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:14 am

celia wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:56 am
I'm sorry to say that this thread is full of heresy, as far as genealogists are concerned. We tend to collect anything related to relatives: photos, keepsakes, and memories. If you erase every clue as to your existence, we may not find you to include as part of the family. We can probably find your birth date and place, your death date and place, and possibly a marriage or two. But it is more interesting if we have clues to what makes you different than others. What are your hobbies? Your favorite vacation places? What do you look like???

I most enjoy reading the mass-produced "Christmas letters" that people send me. Really! I save them in a manilla envelope and put them with the Christmas decorations (until next year's batch comes in and I stuff more in there). So without doing very much at all, the genealogy tidbits add up over the years. If you could include a photo this year, that would be perfect. Please label the people in it and the place on the back, since this is often not known (or forgotten). And if you know of a relative who is trying to do genealogy, why not ask them what things of yours they are interested in? I have fund-raising cookbooks where an relative submitted a recipe, pen pal letters describing one's daily life, diaries (oh my!), and photos of those military guys and gals in uniform looking so clean cut. You probably can't send me your funeral card, but I would love to get it if I can't come to your funeral. (If you are about to toss any others out, send them to me.)
Yes, this stuff I don't throw out. And is there anything more annoying for a family history buff to find than old photos of unknown people which are not labeled??!! My Mom was a thrower outer and got rid of a lot of items from an old family business. Aagh. Fortunately some of the company's stuff shows up on ebay periodically, but some is just gone.

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telemark
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by telemark » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:57 pm

mouses wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:09 am
There were three wheelbarrows in my parents' garage. Two people were very happy to get two of them via freecycle, including one lady who was building her own house. That was an interesting morning.
I did not know about freecycle. Thank you!

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by Lieutenant.Columbo » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:18 pm

Shallowpockets wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:02 am
The truth of the matter is that once you die no one cares about your stuff. Your relatives may go through it, they may save it. But, no one will really look at it too much, if ever, after the initial assessment.
Pictures seem to be at the forefront of saving. No one cares. You can see that easily by trying to show someone your pictures now. Ten pictures in, they are bored.
All those sentimental things, school trophies, old clothes, bits and pieces of your life, that even you never look at. Those are nothing to the people who remain. They may see them in the same light as you, they may treasure them. If they save them, they will sit unused, unseen, in a box, an attic.
We are the ones who ascribe value to all this stuff. As we pass, so it passes.
Women have clothes. Men have tools. Pictures all around. All nothing once you die.
Pictures on CDs, memory sticks. Thousands even. Who is going to go through them. You don't even look at them.
The best that can be said for pictures is to create a photo book, a la Shutterfly or similiar.then there is a finite record. A book. Much easier to remain in the family and maybe glanced at now and then.
But the reality is that both ourselves and our stuff are not long lingering after we die. Look around yourself and see how much of others you have known who have died. What stuff remains from them? And not so much remains, as is actually used.
More lasting would be cookware your mother owned, and you use it still, than pictures and other flotsam that hangs around in the attic or basement.
excellent reply!
Lt. Columbo: Well, what do you know. Here I am talking with some of the smartest people in the world, and I didn't even notice!

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by Gnirk » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:01 pm

celia wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:56 am
I'm sorry to say that this thread is full of heresy, as far as genealogists are concerned. We tend to collect anything related to relatives: photos, keepsakes, and memories. If you erase every clue as to your existence, we may not find you to include as part of the family. We can probably find your birth date and place, your death date and place, and possibly a marriage or two. But it is more interesting if we have clues to what makes you different than others. What are your hobbies? Your favorite vacation places? What do you look like???

I most enjoy reading the mass-produced "Christmas letters" that people send me. Really! I save them in a manilla envelope and put them with the Christmas decorations (until next year's batch comes in and I stuff more in there). So without doing very much at all, the genealogy tidbits add up over the years. If you could include a photo this year, that would be perfect. Please label the people in it and the place on the back, since this is often not known (or forgotten). And if you know of a relative who is trying to do genealogy, why not ask them what things of yours they are interested in? I have fund-raising cookbooks where an relative submitted a recipe, pen pal letters describing one's daily life, diaries (oh my!), and photos of those military guys and gals in uniform looking so clean cut. You probably can't send me your funeral card, but I would love to get it if I can't come to your funeral. (If you are about to toss any others out, send them to me.)
My cousin is the genealogist in our family. So I gave the family bibles (all with family history in them) to her after copying the information, plus photo albums full of formal photos of family members in the late 1800's. Unfortunately none had names attached to them, so she is going to research them. Also marriage and birth certificates of great grand-parents. Wow, those marriage certificates were works of art. I saved photos of my great grandmother's home and other family homes from the 1800's and early 1900's and put them in an album. Some are on the historical register.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:44 am

We do this all the time, at least monthly. We take a couple bags of stuff to goodwill and I make sure to get a receipt - they are very handy at tax time! :)

My wife is a bit of a pack rat (but not a hoarder.) She keeps all kinds of stuff, her old baby bed, grandma's vase, dad's mug. We have boxes filled with old junk! Some of our biggest fights have been over these things and I've learned it's not worth it to sacrifice our relationship.

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning [De-clutter your home]

Post by pennywise » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:58 am

We have had to completely clear 2 homes in the past 5 years; that of a friend who died and left us his estate and my mother in law's after she went into assisted living. Both homes were jam packed with stuff--the friend was a borderline hoarder, the MIL a depression baby with hoarding instincts she 'disguised' as being a keeper of memories.

I learned something from the extremely laborious effort it took: your belongings have meaning to you, and nobody should expect or demand that anyone else take on your memories and meanings by keeping your stuff. I have objects that are deeply meaningful to me. But I know after I'm gone my kids will have absolutely no reason to keep that knit dress my mother sewed for me in the 70's. I keep it because she made all my clothes and it was the last dress she sewed for me before she died when I was 19 YO. Seeing it in the back of my closet brings me comfort-and will not do that for anyone else in the world. That's ok, once I'm gone I won't be seeing it anyway and nobody else will connect to it at all.

We all have the right to decide what talismans we imbue with meaning. None of us have the right to expect anyone else to carry on our meaning by keeping our talismans.

Last but far from least, I"ll never forget the note we found in my MIL's jam packed china cabinet (she put notes everywhere): 'I ask only one thing. Keep everything'. We did not, could not and should not have been expected to!

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Re: Swedish Death Cleaning

Post by Mudpuppy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:09 am

sport wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:26 am
In addition, do we really know how well CDs and thumb drives will retain data over very long periods of time? I can envision someone finding a thumb drive 50 years from now and saying "what is this thing?".
There is a known fungus that attacks the encoding layers of rewritable CD and DVD media. 50 years from now, a rewritable CD might be no more than a piece of plastic, even to those who know how to access the media. News article about the fungus discovery: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... discs.html

As for photos in general, there is another reason to keep a well-curated photo album intact. I inherited my great-grandmother's photo albums after she passed because the others in my family did not see the worth. But now that my grandmother is suffering dementia, I created a timeline album for my grandmother from my great-grandmother's albums. Flipping through the album of her life from childhood through having kids and grandkids helps out a lot. She still confuses me with my female relatives, but she recognizes her prom pictures and the baby pictures of her kids.

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