I Lived 80 Years and All They Gave Me Was This Lousy Box of Stuff

Today might be a bit morbid, but it is something I thought about for a moment yesterday. As I try and sell a lot of my belongings that lack utility, I am slowly becoming a minimalist. This is actually making me feel freer than I ever have before.

But, when a close friend’s grandmother died and he explained how emotional it will be for his family to pack up her belongings, I got to thinking. If I continue on my current path, when I depart this earth (or whatever planet we are living on then), I may have nothing more to show for it than a computer, a big ass tv, and a medium sized box of stuff.

This would take my family or loved ones about 8 minutes to pack up and discard. Part of me thinks I shouldn’t give a damn because I will be gone. But I don’t think anyone wants to ponder the fact that they lived a full life and that it can all be folded into a box in less time than an oil change.

So what am I going to do about this? Well, certainly nothing today. But I want to know how other minimalists feel about the topic. Also, I want to hear about how those collection addicts and hoarders feel.  I may scour some of their blogs or ask them personally and report back.

10 Responses to I Lived 80 Years and All They Gave Me Was This Lousy Box of Stuff
  1. Money Funk
    February 16, 2010 | 9:24 am

    Are you giving up old photos and momentos of your life completely? I am sure that box would still contain some of those things. If it doesn’t, then i say put a time capsule box together of Brian. Doesn’t have to be a big box. Most special things are small. Then your family will have that part of you along with the big ass TV and computer. 😉

  2. MoneyEnergy
    February 16, 2010 | 10:39 am

    A personal time capsule is a great idea – you control the message:) I like the idea of lightening your load before you go – for the reasons you mentioned. As long as you also prepare some kind of memento or thank-you, etc., I don’t think it would be sad if you only left behind a computer, TV, etc. After all, it should be memories that are more important, right?

  3. Brian
    February 16, 2010 | 12:36 pm

    @money funk – I am really giving up most everything. Photos are all digital now, so they don’t really need to exist outside of a hard drive.

    @moneyenergy – i guess i am not really looking at lightening my load before i go, but when i do pass, do i want someone to be able to “clean up” my life in a matter of minutes as if i didnt exist. I think i would want to at least be a pain in the ass of someone for at least an hour or two after i am gone!

  4. jin6655321
    February 16, 2010 | 8:33 pm

    Personally, I think you might be doing your loved ones a favor. I’ve never had to “clean up” anyone’s life but I imagine it would be a very painful task during a very stressful time. Besides, I assume you have TONS of data stored in a hard drive somewhere. When it’s easier on your loved ones, they can spend hours going through you data and remembering you fondly.

  5. J. Money
    February 17, 2010 | 9:13 am

    hell yeah!!! dude, start the “15 mins a day” challenge with me :) On Day # 13 now and my house is more decluttered than it’s been in years. Seriously, I feel so much lighter and crisper right now. It’s great.

  6. Taylor
    February 19, 2010 | 12:10 pm

    I admire you for doing this – I keep my life as minimal as possible as well. One of my biggest fears is that my parents – either mom/stepdad or dad will die unexpectedly, leaving me to clean up houses/vacation homes’ worth of stuff. It brings feelings of absolutely dread – dozens of cars, utility rooms full of tools, rooms of paperwork, households’ worth of furniture – all in a completely different state than either me or my sister current reside. How would we cope? Hire someone? That is sad. Quit our jobs? That is scary. For me, I choose simplicity. A plastic crate for all of my paperwork (including rental property info), my favorite quilts, and my journals. It all fits in a car trunk.

  7. Rach G
    February 19, 2010 | 3:04 pm

    It’s not really morbid and looking back over my old college pictures and saved pieces of memorabilia, I realize that most of the stuff only has signifigance to me maybe the photos will be nice when I’m gone but the old bottle caps and ticket stubs?

  8. LeanLifeCoach
    February 20, 2010 | 6:57 am

    We should all learn from your example! Think about how often you hear of all the turmoil generated by someone’s death. Not just cleaning up but dealing with all the paperwork and creditors. Then there is all the fighting among those left behind over who gets what. It’s a mess!

  9. Austin
    March 1, 2010 | 10:16 pm

    It always seems like in movies and TV that moving out a deceased relative takes 10 days and makes every one cranky having to carry out newspapers. Even if it takes your family 8 minutes to clear your stuff, I think they’ll enjoy those 8 minutes and be thankful they didn’t have to break their back and take vacation time to move out your stuff.

    This is coming from another minimalist so take that into account.

    Thought-provoking today, Brian. Good work.

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

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