Many baby boomers face the daunting task of cleaning out the family home. When elderly parents need to move, the boomer faces the formidable job of de-cluttering, organizing and removing most things from the house to get it ready to sell. This is an overwhelming undertaking for most people because along with the clutter comes sentiments, memories and personal attachments to things.
When boomers tackle this task, however, many discover tons of clutter, disorganization and in some cases, utter chaos. Boomer parents grew up during the Great Depression and had a tendency to save things - everything. They also hid things everywhere in the house. But struggling with this clutter teaches baby boomers a valuable lesson - de-clutter and organize your own life now.
Some suggested de-cluttering and organizational tips from a baby boomer who has ‘been there/done that’ include:
- label pictures of relatives for future generations;
- label the origin and owner of heirlooms so future generations know their history;
- do not hide money because there is a good chance it will not be found;
- do not hide items such as jewelry unless you let your children or heirs know the exact location; and
- make sure you have a will that clearly defines the name and address of all heirs and beneficiaries and specifies what goes to whom.
Next, create a master list of all of your vital information and share it with your attorney, heirs and children. It should include:
- financial information, like banks, account numbers, investments and credit card accounts;
- life, car and home owner insurance information and policy numbers;
- health insurance data with account numbers;
- location of all deeds, titles, birth and death certificates, original stock and savings bonds;
- safe deposit box’s bank, account number and key location;
- location of recent tax bills and credit card statements;
- computer passwords;
- contact information for your attorney, CPA, tax preparer, financial advisor and investment counselor; and
- all doctors and specialists.
Finally, share your family history with your children and grandchildren now. Draft a detailed family tree. Document your family’s historical milestones in a keepsake journal. Include honors, funny stories and folklore. You are connecting your children and grandchildren with their past and giving future generations a valuable gift.