Bamlett is a proponent of “guilt-free” organizing. “If you’re holding onto something because you feel you should, don’t. Give it to a charity that speaks to your heart. Or find another relative, someone who’s interested in family genealogy.”
A closer look at the article had me singing a different tune. The article highlights the problem people face when parents die. Their descendants are often left with a large amount of stuff. Just when they are burdened with grief, they are burdened with the task of sifting and sorting through the evidence of their loved one’s existence. Some possessions were of value only to the deceased. Some are valued by multiple descendants who must navigate through fragile feelings. Inevitably, someone without the time to do so is left to sort all the belongings in-between.
That’s when priceless genealogical treasures often hit the trash heap.
After a bit of reading I found myself in complete agreement with the funny-sounding statement. Before you throw everything out, let the family genealogist have a shot at that old trunk of dusty documents and ancient photographs with unfamiliar names written on the backs.
The article also made a suggestion we should all take to heart. Gather together before their (or your own) death. Dejunk, divvy, and divide. Decreasing the amount of stuff that must be sifted afterwards decreases inadvertent losses. Identifying and locating genealogical gold nuggets beforehand increases the likelihood that they will pass to loving hands.
1. Claudia Buck, “Personal Finance: Parents’ ‘Stuff’ Can Be a Burden for Boomers,” Sacramento Bee (http://www.sacbee.com/2014/06/29/6515858/personal-finance-parents-stuff.html : accessed 12 July 2014).