R.A.Koyama

Live Well, Live Happy, Live Long

Category: Life (page 2 of 4)

Life takes many turns. These writing cover every turn and turnaround most have faced.

Dealing with Family treasures

Make sure Family Treasures are more than just STUFF

 

well loved but the need has faded

Dying is the last thing most of want to think of let alone talk about, but there are just somethings that need considering.  Some of those things are what I wrote about in my newest book A guide to dealing with family treasures so your kids won’t have to – Clean your house before you go.

 

No, the book isn’t all doom and gloom about dying and who gets what.  Well, there is a little of that but mostly is it about getting rid of all the baggage and stuff we accumulate over a hopefully long life.  The younger we are, and when I say younger I’m thinking under 70, when we do this the easier it is and will be for everyone.  Just to give you and idea on what need looking after here is a short chapter from the book:

Your beloved, treasured Antiques are now just old stuff

Older isn’t necessarily Better

 

Now on to the wonderful days of garage sales, where you found a once coveted lace table cloth.  If you were once one of those happy individuals, it’s time to give up old habits.  I have on our property a Sea Can full of antiques and garage sale finds that an old friend asked us to keep when she moved out of the country.  What she hoped would be her stash for cash when she needed it has become an albatross around her neck.  She finds there is no longer a market for it.  In addition, where we live out in cow country with nary a neighbor for miles nor a place where garage sales are held, she has little hope for making a killing on it.  As we are now making plans to move to a smaller house closer to the city, she is challenged to find a way of getting rid of it from afar.

 

Another thing for you to remember is that if the desire for antiques is declining, and I know in some places it is not, but in general they are, what will the kids who may not have room for them do?  There comes that guilt again. They will have already gone through whatever guilt comes with losing a loved one, and now those feelings will return.  It is far easier for us to think that someone will want and cherish the family heirlooms.  In some place, they most definitely still do; the question is, will they have a place for it?

Minimalism Is In

 

Look at some of the designer magazines or even some of the house flipping shows.  Most have clean, sleek lines with no oversized bulging china cabinets.  Showcases have been replaced with stylish display shelves that won’t hold a collection of heavy vases or porcelain dolls.  Some looks don’t include dressers, as they opt for closets with built-ins and sliding doors behind which are rods and drawers all neatly placed.

 

Perhaps, it is the time to rethink our way of living.  Minimalism doesn’t mean doing without, and since we do less of what we used to do, regarding entertaining, minimizing just a little shouldn’t be too much of a burden.

 

Home sized matters

 

If you or your family live in a big city, where homes are small and condos are even tinier, space is at a premium.  Most of the furniture we had is now way too big to fit in these places.

For storage, there simply is none.  When you think about what you are saving for the kids, keep these things in mind.  There is a lot more to leave behind than just stuff.  Check out my article on Leavings.

 

 

 

Staying Home in your 70s, 80s, and Beyond – Free Chapter

Defining “Staying Home”

 

Home is where you choose it

Home is where you want to be.

“Staying Home” in the context of this book, means staying in your home. Be it a house, condo, apartment, or mobile home (which was my mother’s chosen home until her 90’s) or whatever place it is that you choose to call “home”.

 

As we get older many people, friends, family consider that we are, or will quickly become infirmed, and be incapable of looking after ourselves and remaining in our home.  This becomes even truer if we have lost our partner and are now alone.

 

I am not saying these people are being mean spirited.  They have love and, concern for our well-being and, us but they see things from their perspective, not ours. They don’t live in our bodies and they don’t have our thoughts or our desires. They do, however, think they know what our limitations are.  Now in some circumstances, they may well know more than we do or we are willing to admit, but if that is the case then this book may not be for you. If your judgment is impaired in any way then I would suggest you read this book in consultation with someone who can explain what needs to be explained about the suggestions and, how they fit or do not fit your circumstance.  You need to be the judge.  If nothing else I hope you will be empowered by what you read to make an informed decision.

So what exactly does “Staying Home” mean to me?

Well when I think of really “Staying Home”, I think of living exactly where I am now.  I think of taking care of myself the way I do now.  I think of sleeping in my own bed, taking a shower when I want, eating when and what I want.  I also think of being aware of what I need to do in the areas of hygiene, eating, and safety. These days I also think of what I need to do to keep my life the ways it is now, and what changes I need to do to ensure I can stay here for a long time.  I don’t think I am alone in having the wish to also die in my home.  I often joke with my children, who sometimes don’t see the humor in it, that, my wish is to go to bed one night and wake up dead.  Their perception is a little different and they think I am wishing to die soon.  Of course,  at is not what I am saying at all, really what I mean is that when the time comes, and I hope that time is a long time in coming, I hope I can just go to bed in my home and of course die in my sleep.  I don’t think that is a death wish or unreasonable request.

The alternatives may not be the best choice

The alternative to “staying home” is to live either in someone’s home, a senior home or nursing home and living by someone else’s rules.  This is precisely what I do not what and I don’t really think many others do either. I also have not desire to live with any of my children and I would hazard a guess that is not what they would want either, not that we do love and care about each and if they had to would accept it.  I am just not yet and hope never to be prepared to accept a reversal of roles.

 

You can get the complete book by clicking HERE

Do You Remember When Living required Less?

Do you remember when losing a family member seemed less complicated?

 

I would think many of us who have lived past the age of 60 has had to face the death of at least one or more loved ones.  These may have been our grandparents, or even aunts and uncles, but someone for whom we had great affection.  And even if we were not tasked with handling any of their affairs, we felt the pain of their loss.  Do you remember when an aunt, uncle or possibly one of your parents was standing there stoically accepting the heartfelt condolences of the people who had come to the funeral or as the call it these days “The Celebration of Life.”

Why was it that what was left when they were gone seemed much less that what is left from those we lose today.  Life in the times of our parents and grandparents seem to be lived with much less baggage.  Baggage in this context is stuff that we now seem to amass in greater quantities.

Having said all that, do you remember when the last time was that you considered what you could do to lessen the effect the loss of you might have on your children, family, and friends?

As we are blessed with living longer and the possibility of living in our homes until the end. Which one of my earlier books covered in details, the title of that book is Staying Home in Your 70s, 80s, and Beyond.

 

 

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You can get a copy of that book by clicking HERE.

 

And while this is the wish we all have there is a downside.  We are also living with a lot more stuff.  Stuff that others will have to deal with.

 

 

Now may be better than later

 

For times like these, we often do our best to think of doing something later.  Well, later may not be that far away, so perhaps, now is a better time to consider what needs to be done.  When later arrives, we may not be capable of doing what we know should be done.  These should not be depressing thoughts.  We need to view them as something good we are doing for our families.  If we have negative thoughts about the things we should do and we are just downright disheartened to do, we should remember why we are doing them.    Our goal is to take care of things now, so they do not become a hardship for our families after we are gone.

 

Part of this post is an excerpt from my latest book – Clean Your House Before You Go.

Clean Your House Before You Go

New Book

Like it or not we are all going to leave one day.  When that time comes do we really want our kids to have to say good-bye over and over while they have to deal what we leave behind.

Thank Goodness for Technology

Paper’s good, but digital lasts longer

 

 

 

Tablets are a technology we all use today, these tablets and their associated apps are just the ticket for capturing those images

 

Not Technology Savvy?

 

You don’t have to be tech savvy to use this step; I think you have the talent; you may no longer be using it.  Now is your chance to show the kids you still have it.  I was speaking with a friend on Skype the other day, and he told me he and his wife had just moved into a condo.  They were now trying to determine what to do with a lot of their stuff that doesn’t fit their new home.  One thing they were doing was to digitize their paperwork. I was impressed! This couple is not young or even middle-aged, and while their use of Skype is no surprise, digitizing their paperwork was.  I hadn’t even thought of it, and I’m sure others haven’t either.  That is why I am including it in this book.  Here are some of their choices that had me thinking: wills, insurance documents, driver’s licenses, health cards, birth certificates, etc.  I know we need to keep them in a safe place, but I had not considered digitizing them. We always give our girls copies of our passports and travel documents when we travel, but never digital copies.  Something to add to the to-do list.

 

I am sure over the years there has been an accumulation of old technology superseded by newer generations.  Speaking of technology – where’s the VCR?  VCRs have gone the way of 8 track players. Movie cameras with actual tapes have been replaced by your phone or smaller pocket devices minus the tapes.

Email, don’t use a messenger

 

Sharing the decisions is easier in an email.  Don’t opt in for simple technology such as messaging for this stuff. Why email rather than messenger or text messages?  Email are easier to see as you type.  Emails have a subject line, so they don’t get lost or discarded accidently.  Now, I am not a technology guru, and I could be wrong, but I have yet to discover how to recover a text message, so my feeling is that email is safest for this information, because even if you delete it accidentally, you can recover it from your trash or deleted file.

 

Emails can be as long or as short as you want, they take more thought than a 140-character tweet or a text message, and they are more important.

 

Another way that technology can help in this cleaning process is with all the lists.  These lists can be long, especially if written on paper. (Don’t forget to get the companion online journal you can use for this, and the other suggested lists.) When created and kept in not only your computer but the cloud, they are made accessible to whom you think needs them.  This also makes them much easier to share with others who may need the information. The important issue is you tell those people how to access it as they are best-kept password protected.

 

Photos fade, digital pictures don’t

 

One of the largest collections most of us have will be photos, and most often, photos we took over the years.  These are usually the most important pictures.  Pictures are by far the most treasured items we leave behind. One of the other great aspects of digitizing pictures is the ability to label them.  Many of you will have an old photo you received on the death of a family member, and I would guess you have looked at it and wondered who the people in the photo are.  We know our family and even extended family, but when the photos date back three generations, the identities become less evident.  Even those with notes on the back with the names, over time, get harder to read.   So, if only for keeping the name of our family members alive, I suggest digitizing them.  Now having said that, I also know we don’t take pictures the way we used to.  Cameras with the actual film are mostly only used by professional photographers who want a specific style or treatment of their subject.

 

Today, most of us take our photos with our phone and they end up as digitized images. So even as cameras became smaller, phones became smarter and easier to use.  They also made the load a little lighter because we no longer needed to carry both.  Nor do we have to worry about keeping a cell phone and a camera charged.

 

So, as we all move on in age and life, this topic speaks to what we can do with the old and how to manage the new.

 

Downsizing is the time to Right Size

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When come to Cleaning your house before you leave, the sooner we start the better who know what “later” will bring.

While we may still be healthy and lead active lives, we need to prepare now for the time when that may not be the case. Death is, of course, the final event, but the cleaning metaphor we are using will also help should there come a day when we become incapacitated. Most of us, as we age, may reach a point in our lives when downsizing through need or want becomes a reality. We may have lost a spouse, or the last of our children has left home, or we are just finding our current house to large to keep clean. In some cases, the home that somehow managed to survive the wear and tear of raising children may now be in need or repairs or even updating that we are no longer willing or able to have done.

If this is the case, then downsizing doesn’t seem too ominous, but when you look at all that stuff it may appear overwhelming. As the old saying goes a journey is started by taking the first step, or in this case maybe just a few or even many. Are you ready to start?

Taking the first step is easier with a plan:

a. What do we actually use

That first step starts with taking a real honest look at what we really use on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. In doing so, we may find that in fact, we don’t use all that much. In fact, some of what we think we use is used just because it is there, not because we need it. When was the last time you used a particular item, last month, last year, last wedding or birthday? As we attempt to lessen the load, remember that what we did and used as the kids were growing or even when the grandkids were young is not what we will regularly be doing in the future.

b. What don’t we need

Think about the two sets of dishes, one for every day and the company ones. Do we really need them? When was the last time we used them and when will we use them again? If your kids have grown and don’t come for weekly dinners or they have moved outside of driving distance, do you really need that extra set? Maybe the company dinnerware is now good enough for your everyday  use. Aren’t you special enough to use them?

 

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If they aren’t special enough do you want to cart them around having to worry about breaking or even just dusting them?

a. Consider replacing the old with new

Have you noticed that some of what we call our staples for cooking and cleaning have changed? Some for good and not so good, I would challenge. But most I would say have become available in smaller more appropriate sizes for empty nesters. Once the kids are gone, who needs that large and heavy cast iron frying pan? props-1018963_1280

Who needs a four slice toaster? Who needs a huge roasting pan? Who even needs that huge soup ladle (of which I have two). Heck, even if you are a keener when it comes to cooking ask yourself are you still cooking for a crowd or much fewer people most days. Now is maybe a good time to replace all this big stuff with smaller versions of those good old standbys.

But wait! Don’t make the mistake I did when attempting this.

I was getting rid of all of the big, hardly used pots and pans and managed to do quite well. Or so I thought until Thanksgiving rolled around and I discovered that in my determination to downsize I no longer had a big enough pan for the turkey! So be forewarned, think before you throw something in that charity box. Think of the last time you used it if it was for one of those special occasions maybe, just maybe you can find a spot for it. The place I found is one I think most of us has in our kitchen. It was that corner cabinet, you know the one you can’t reach the back of and anything that was put there has been long forgotten. Well, I discovered that it was the perfect spot for that large roasting pan, the one I had to replace (darn it!). I also found another use for my husband’s collection of bungee cords. I never could figure out why he kept buying them. Anyway I wrapped one medium sized one around the pan and the lid and then hooked both ends together. I then hooked a longer one to a shorter one making sure it would reach the front of the cabinet. So now when I need to use that pan I just pull on the bungee and there it is. It’s a good thing the pans are big. I also managed to find a cookie pan with an open handle, so I put my platters on a used another (you got it) bungee cord that I could just tug on to bring the rest within reach. So now when I push it to the back of the never ending cupboard when I do need it all I have to do is just pull on the cord.

But if you can’t remember the last time was that you needed or used it (remember to consider holidays or special occasions when you host dinner), then it may be just the time to toss it.

I will admit I was and still am to some degree a gadget person; the gadgets are now mostly technology based. But, I can recall when we not only had our stove, oven, and microwave but also an electric frying pan, a deep fryer, a waffle maker, a sandwich maker and it goes on. We justified them by saying that they made things easier, quicker and the kids could use them instead of the stove which presented a danger for burns. Well, the kids grew up and did learn how to use the stove without burning themselves.

Now back to the replacements. I am amazed a how small they are making things these days, things that do the same job as those old clunky appliances we used to use. There are now things that can do the job of three of the old ones. So if your kitchen gadgets are even slightly similar to mine now be just the right time to downsize and upgrade a little. Heck, we deserve it. And so do your kids, who if they are now living on their own probably have everything they need and they are probably newer.

The key thing to remember here is in our Clean Your House Before You Leave plan having less means less for our kids to have to deal with once we are gone. So even when deciding on downsizing the big old version for something newer and smaller is a good thing, remember it will still be part of what’s left behind for the kids to handle. I guess what I am saying is – if it is a nice to have rather than a need to have, let’s not have it.

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