Making Progress

Last week’s blog (How Much is Too Much?) was about my increased recognition that I/we have too much. I will not repeat that story, but if you missed it, you may want to go to itsinthesauce.com and read it.

This week, Mike and I have been cleaning out, and it is slow going. We are surprised at how much there is to get through. We have uncovered some major memories, some of which are hard to throw away, although that is exactly what we should do with most of it. I am sure that no one else would ever want most of it, and even we will not even remember that we have it if we don’t throw it away. Having been through the recent death of a loved one, and still dealing with some of his stuff, this process of cleaning out is a priority of mine. My dear Uncle Barry did not have much stuff at all, yet I wish, and he would have wished were he living through the cleaning out of it, that he had made some decisions about his stuff.

A few things Mike found in his home office in his desk drawers:

1. My mother’s checkbook. My mother died in 1998. I have no idea why we kept her checkbook, and certainly have no need for it twenty-two years later. I threw it away.

2. A newspaper copy of Mike and my marriage license from 1984. It also lists many other marriage licenses granted in Wilson County, NC that week. Again, why did we keep it? We certainly do not need to keep it. There are many other tangible memories of our marriage. I threw it out.

3. My Will from 1981, which I think is (terrible for me if it is, and even if I don’t know if it is!) my only Will. This was before Mike and I even met. It grants trusteeship to good friends, as well as guardianship of my daughter, Tara, who was five years old at the time. While I have not thrown it out yet, I will, since it is no longer current on any level. My commitment to myself is for Mike and me to have a current Will and other important documents before the end of 2021. Uncle Barry who died recently did not have a Will, and his estate is unnecessarily complicated, even with his limited financial resources. I do not want our children to be saddled with trying to figure out our holdings, debts, stuff, etc. I know it is irresponsible for us to not have done this long before now. (Not that this should make me feel any better, but I imagine some reading this can identify!)

4. A life insurance policy taken out in 1981 by my mother on my daughter, Tara, who was five years old at the time. The policy was paid up until Tara reached the age of 23, then for the policy to remain in effect, additional payments would have needed to be paid. I have no recollection of this policy at all, so no additional payments were ever made. If #2 above did not already make me feel totally irresponsible, this did! I threw it out.

5. Two collectible pens, both rollerballs. One is a limited-edition Platinum Mont Blanc pen, and the other is an Invincia Rose Monteverde pen. Neither seem to have ever been used. There is no way to tell the age of either. Mike thinks the Monteverde pen was a gift he received as a speaker at some event. I seem to recall giving Mike the Mont Blanc pen. It is hard for me to find that he has never used it. I received a Mont Blanc pen for my 60th birthday, (almost ten years ago!) and I use it often and protect it well. I suppose we can agree that Mike has protected his collectible pens also, since they have not seen the light of day! These will not be thrown out, regardless of whether Mike uses them or not. I may confiscate the Mont Blanc pen, and might even sell the Monteverde!

There is much more that was uncovered in Mike’s cleaning out, but so far, these are the most important and/or valuable things. Most of the stuff that has no value has been or will be discarded. 

You may wonder what I have cleaned out this week. Not much, really. I have had a bad cold/flu and have protected my energy level. In case you wonder, yes, I did get checked for COVID, and thankfully, it was negative.

You may not wonder, but I will divulge, Mike and I both had the COVID vaccine back in the spring and are glad we did. Yes, we also know some people who also had the vaccine and have subsequently had COVID. One of those is a close family member, whose doctor told him had he not had the vaccine, he probably would have died from COVID. Just one person’s opinion, of course. Everyone in the U.S. has the right to make their own decision about being vaccinated.

We also have the right to make our own decisions regarding whether to drown in our own stuff or clean it out. While this may not be as controversial as the COVID vaccine, I doubt that it is much easier for most people to do! 

About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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