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clearing out the loft

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by Mathsteach2, May 25, 2012.

  1. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    My wife and myself have just spent a week clearing out our loft and garden shed. We are both in our seventies, I have no sentimental attachment to my past and I have thrown out stuff going back to my early days of teaching as a single man. We have kept our books (stored in boxes for nearly 20 years) to form a library, otherwise everything else has gone - for me, sets of magazines (might have been useful to someone, but now I cannot be bothered), teaching notes etc. etc.

    Items gone from the garden shed include tools which I will never again use, items held for repair (which will never happen), and other sundrey collections thinking in the past that they might be useful (plumbing, electrical, materials and paints). All gone, as I sit here, a sense of relief - this session has been on my mind for over ten years.

    I hope the guys who cleared it for us find some use for some things, I suggested to him such, and paid him for the clearance. I think he got a bargain, with lots of useful things.

    In our retirement we want to relax, watch the TV, read the Bible, browse the Internet, and have some good food and drink.

    My father was a very practical man, but in his retirement he was encouraged by my brother to relinquish all of his past and take a warden-controlled one-bed apartment. He enjoyed 15 years there, watching the tele, and died at 88 years old.

    When I came to Barbados with my wife (I was 54 years old), I met her eldest brother, retired, living in a five bed-roomed house. One bedroom was his, another his maid/girlfriend, and the other three were filled with stuff from his past and his grown-up children's past. I said then (1996) to my wife that this was not going to happen to me. He died at 83 years old, and we were involved with the clearing of the house. The stuff that was in those three bedrooms was unbelievable, but nothing of real worth, regrettably.

    Go for it, retired folks, make decisions and clear out the past!
  2. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Barbados eh. Are you thinking of renting out the shed at all? Or the loft indeed?
  3. Spanakopita

    Spanakopita New commenter

    Excellent advice, Mathsy. I have been having a purge of stuff in this house. I read a post on H&W from a poor poster who had lost her mum and who was reduced to tears turning out all her mum's stuff because it was so poignant. I don't want my children to have to go through that so I am shifting stuff out now.
  4. I so agree! I keep telling our youngsters (not that young, actually) that if they don't clear their stuff out of the loft now, they'll be doing it when we snuff it, as well as sorting out ours. It's ghastly. I was nearly sick clearing out some of my parents' stuff that had been in boxes, some of it a bio-hazard, resulting from my mother's lengthy illness. Don't do it to yourselves or your off-spring.
  5. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    The Americans seem to be really into this sentimental stuff.

    A regular advert on the TV suggests that there is a wealth of information to be gained from searching one's ancestry (I do not recall the website - something like ancestry.com) and someone discovered his grandfather was a neighbour of the Wright brothers! BIG DEAL!

    I wouldn't mind finding out that I have a rich great-uncle who has left me his estate, but that is like coming up on the lottery, the time to celebrate is when it has happened. The connivings that go on in families before the benefactor dies is one of the worst evils on the planet, I think.

    As my wife and myself came across old photographs and the variety of greetings cards (Christmas, birthday, weddings etc., both before and after our own union), after a chuckle we outed the lot. I did keep one, a hand-made card from a student who said I was the best teacher in the world!!

    The past is interesting, but to get sentimental or even emotional over it is pathetic, IMHO. I love the stories of the Titanic, but if I had been personally involved I would dismiss my emotions in the same way.

    As I said to my wife after our clearout, it could have been a hurricane or worse, and then how would we have dealt with that? We lose a loved one, or supposed loved possessions and memories, but then we have to move on.
  6. Inspiring stuff - I just need the urge to action- thats why I think a house move is a good idea!
  7. I have GOT to clear out my two lofts - because I am having free loft insulation laid in June!
    OMG! I am dreading it.
    One loft is packed to the rafters with stuff, some of it still in tea chests from my student days! I toted it around rented places in London, moved it up country to my first home with husband...he stashed it in the loft, took it out when we moved and stashed it in the loft of this house, nearly 30 years ago!
    I dread to think what I'll find!
    Not only that, any decluttering involves me poring over items I'd forgotten I had! It takes me ages to make decisions about what to do with 'things'. I am too sentimental and tend to cling to stuff. I must chuck out or give away the things I have in the loft. After all, if I haven't looked at them or used them in the last thirty years or more, why hang on to any of it? I must be brutal!
    Most of all we own is just stuff ....I'd so like to lead a minimalist existence but I am way too far gone for that now. Today I have a policy of buying little for the house, mainly because it will have to be maintained, a place found for it and it will add to all the things I already have!
    You are right. I don't want the sorting out of all my stuff to be the legacy I leave my children. It might be a blessing in disguise that I have to tackle the lofts sometime soon. (OH has booked day off work to help me get it all down, bless him.)
    *steels self for purge*
  8. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Brutal we have to be, Arched Eyebrow, otherwise we leave it to someone else when we are gone. If they have any sense they would just dump the lot without going through it. Pick up a tea-chest and let it go without opening it!

    Unless, of course, you think there might be something of value there. Unfortunately my sister (also in her seventies) recently asked me if I had in my possession a file of poems written by our father when he was a police war reserve, patrolling the country fields in England at the dead of night during WW2. I therefore had to go through all the files looking for them, without success, regrettably. Otherwise I would have taken a whole box of files and just dumped it.

    The time taken if we start looking at things, enjoyable it may be for a while (as with our old photos and greetings cards) is enormous, and also, my wife says, very tiring. The relief when it is all gone is much more satisfying, we think. Good luck!

    We do not need loft insulation here in Barbados! The guys who cleared out our loft (it gets like an oven up there during the daytime) said that if we had had a house fire, it would have been all up in the roof giving us time to get out. And that would have been the end of that, poems and all!
  9. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    But surely if the loft is packed to the rafters that is, in effect, insulation.

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