The impossible question, when do you start to get rid of your machines? - Page 4
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  1. #61
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    "I feel a little greedy or like a hoarder because I do have a bunch of Rivett stuff that could help others."

    This is a very admirable thought of yours, it reminds me of a buddy who is a Harley nut, owns two bikes to play with and a reliable Honda to get around in. He sent me a post of a guy that opened up a personal museum somewhere in the U.S. that has 200 early Harleys, all from the teens and twenties, all restored and freshly painted. I wrote him back and said it was a very cool museum, but all I see is that 199 guys will not be able to play around and learn what Harley-Davidson was all about. As a counterpoint, another biker friend was crazy about the Italian motorcycle maker called Laverda. Long after the factory closed, my friend went to Italy yearly for his vacation because the original factor owner supported the make with parts and know-how to anyone who asked. My buddy apparently came back loaded up with gasket kits, parts, etc. for himself and friends to keep their bikes going.

    Dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by cncFireman View Post
    I am much younger than most of the machine tools collectors from what I have seen. I am only in my mid 30s. However, no one knows how long they really have until it is time for a dirt nap. I don't see much of the younger generation interested in things like old machine tools. In 100 or so years much of the old machine tools will likely be scrapped. I may even shove all my machinery in a shipping container someday and bury it as a time capsule. Better than in the hands of a generation that will likely scrap whats left.
    Remember to throw a shitload of those little desiccant packs in as well.

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  4. #63
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    I'm in my 70's and worked in wood and then metal - gathered tools as I needed them and material to work on. And yes I like old wooden boats and the motors that make them go. I've designed and distributed modern versions of Model T Ford coils to guys with troubled ignitions. Designed and made most of my own furniture. Lived in the same ( big) old house for 40 years.

    So, yup , I'm in the same quandry.

    However, today in our city ( Toronto) there a re a number of "maker spaces" . Places that younger folks who cannot afford to live in a detached house with a garage, have rented as a collective , to make stuff. A growing movement for sure.
    And because most of them only make one or two of anything, automated machines are useless.

    And they include artists, textilers, musicians, computer geeks, etc who really working with the physical world, but can't afford it.

    I have visited some of them, and finally joined a group - costs $300 a year - and I'm now teaching classes on how to run lathes , milling machines, sharpen hand saws, how to convert ATX computer power supplies etc.
    And I am taking their course on coding Arduino microprocesors, and using the XY laser cutter.

    I foresee the day when some of these folks will have their own shops and will want / need machines and tools.

    I have now realized that it is better to GIVE than to RECEIVE.
    Giving tools to a good home is very very gratifying - the key is a good home. And failing any of these, the Re-Store ( Habitat for Humanity) is the next stop. They serve our large immigrant community and those immigrant folks want and need machines / tools . They're younger , hungrier, and more motivated than native born folks.

    Miro

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  6. #64
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    Great point about “Makers Spaces”, I have thought of that too, maybe when I’m old I gift a bunch of stuff in return for occasional use rights.

    But I have wondered how will these young folks like something like a 40 year old table saw (Inca 12” I bought from Don, thank you, love it) that has old fashion fences, etc, lacks safety anything, etc. For me these are MY TOOLS and I’m used to their idiocies. Most folks would think of them as junk.

    Also you take a lathe like a Rivett 608, you can great work on these but it takes finess. In a way they are driving a vintage English sports car, tons of fun but you better understand and love them. As I say it is not the kind of lathe you make tractor parts on. Would the folks at a Makers Space want this or rather have a new Grizzly or something they can buy parts for if it gets crashed?

    I often joke the newest machine in my shop is from 1968. The table saw is in my other shop . So basicly I have a bunch of junk to most of the younger folks. Btw, in my estate plan my user tools go to some young engineers.

    Last night I was digging around and found some little Wilton Bullet vises I had forgotten about, looks like they sure bring more than the $ 15 I paid years ago. I think this is going to be both fun and exciting when the times comes to let loose.

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    I’m 67 now, a hobby collector and restorer for the last 20 years. Before that it was guns, race cars, computers. I still have a lot of stuff from all of those. Right now I have two shops, home and remote shop, and duplicates of most everything, from milling machine to hand tools. I’m trying to decide which to keep until I die, and I can’t make up my mind. Do I keep the pristine Millrite or the restored Centex mill? The 11” Powermatic Logan or the restored 9” Logan I use most of the time? First World problems, as they say.
    My kids aren’t currently interested in this stuff, though I still hope my son will eventually grow to appreciate the machines. my SIL would be interested,but he’s astraight-up hoarder. I do have a great nephew studying to be an ME, might be my best prospect.
    I have started chipping away at the edges selling off tooling I don’t use. Listed some Monarch stuff here today in fact. Sold a cool Mitutoyo microscope here last week. I have had it for 20 years and never used it. Saving my favorite finished resto projects for last, like the BB4, because I like looking at them.
    The hard part for me is not buying more. My Spotters seem to find an overlooked auction or a widow offloading lathes, and I can’t help myself LOL. Fortunately I know some younger guys ready to adopt most anything I am ready to part with.
    I do keep a spreadsheet of all the major items, with purchase prices and current value. My wife knows where it is.

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  9. #66
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    Default Think big

    a few years ago back when the company at least put on a show of caring for its older employee,On one long time employee last day we were gathered around to wish him well. They asked him to say a few words and he asked to have the youngest mechanic step forward.. when he did Marty pushed his rollaway over to him and said here you go it’s a start.i always thought Marty was first rate and this confirmed it.

    My industry as waken up to the fact us old guys are retiring and just being rude and just kicking the bucked...hence Catapiller and the at least the dealers in the Pacific Northwest have the “ think big program. And we gotten some top notch young men and women in to our shops.
    I wish there was something like it when I was starting out instead of comming up threw the undercarage shop....

    I do have a mess of tools industry specific and hand tools and rather than let my niece deal with them ( think dumpster) I left them to the shop tool room. Sell them off and put the money in the think big program the kids have to go to Portland org for the book learning so they can always use a few bucks for housing etc

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  11. #67
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    I'm 53 and my father passed away last year. He was an engineer who used slide rules to send men to the moon. He never owned a Bridgeport, would have liked to have one but made due with a disk sander and files. He built an airplane in our garage when I was a kid with hand tools and an O/A welder. I still have a bunch of these and doubt I'll ever part with them or his modified Craftsman bandsaw.

    My shop went from 4800 sqft down to 150 a few years back. I'm just now starting to get it organized enough to do some of the projects I've wanted to do for a while. I still have 400 sqft in storage that I need to deal with this spring, at least pare it down and get rid of those old racing karts nobody seems to want.

    The only advice I could give is whatever you want somebody to have give it to them sooner rather than later. Your body will remind you that we're only here for a small time but it's always possible your mind goes first. Better to get tools into the hands of those who will use them now than wait for some time in the future when it will be easier....

    By all means keep your shop going as long as you are able, it will keep both your mind and body younger. But most of us here know that more than half the stuff we have is just going to keep sitting idle and it probably could be used by someone else that has passion for making stuff.

    I recently met a young guy that's started doing 60's style psychedelic light shows. I used to do them back in the 90's and had bought a bunch of old projectors from Goodwill and the like. It gave me great pleasure to drop them off at his shop with the knowledge that they will most likely get used as I had intended, just maybe not by me....

    And by all means don't give up on the youth. It might seem like all they are interested in is video games but there are an awful lot of them who enjoy making things with their hands. They're looking at Craigslist and this forum right now just waiting for you to offer that machine at a price they can afford. List it up for what it's worth or "offer". The motivated ones will ask about it and you can decide to give it away for scrap price if they seem like someone who might do some good with it.

    Cheers,

    John

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  13. #68
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    My experience with makerspaces is that nice tools, or especially tools with idiosyncrasies, do not belong there. The people who use those spaces to understand what they really want to do then find a way to get their own workspaces. Then, and as the principle user of a nice lathe.mill/etc they can make good use of tools that need specific care and knowledge to use well (and make last).

    Not meant as a dig at makerspaces, which I think are great things (and with the understanding that they also aren't all the same). Just an observation from what I have seen around here.

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    Sorry, if this is considered a minor thread hijacking. A lesson for all, especially those wearing blinders.
    A member of another machining forum recently passed, he sort of chronicled his accomplishments, challenges and failures here: Never Enough Time Never enough time - The Home Machinist!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rivett608 View Post
    Thank you all so far, great conversation. One odd thing is that I realize my few friends that are part of a “shop culture” are all much older than me and live over a thousand miles away.

    I just keep thinking I don’t want be one of those guys that leaves a mess.

    Ted is also right that most of my stuff is pretty good, it is maybe not the typical junk and a lot of it has a good story behind it. Things like drill chucks from the machine shop in Antarctica that burned years ago. While it looks like a grungy charred Jacobs ball bearing chuck that one would think is junk it has a story. I think of that each time I use it and how many people have tooling in their shop from that far down under?

    Also what is driving my thoughts is I have a friend who is in the process of shutting down a shop in Europe and another local who is sick and dealing with a house they’ve been in for 35 years.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    rivett608;
    I've PM'ed you being local and in a different but similar situation; one that I'll continue working until I can't, but happily. Please examine your inbox.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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  18. #71
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    If I can present a view point from the flip side?

    I am on the younger end of the spectrum and am struggling with an older friend who is aging. Like has been echoed by many here, he continues to buy and buy things of great value to him. Tools, tooling, gauges, etc. He buys them at great deals, steals, fantastic prices, to him.

    We have always had a running joke that I will buy his shop when he dies. At this point though, I have started making jokes about pennies per pound.... He is up to somewhere between 15-20 sets of Pratt & Whitney gauge blocks. 5 or 6 Troyke rotary tables. Triplicate, quadruplicate tooling. He has a couple running surface grinders, and 3 or 4 for spares. He keeps buying spares. He picked up a K&T horizontal as a spare, for his other K&T horizontal, which I have not seen run or moved in almost 10 years.

    There are young men and women out there who would love to have and cherish and USE this old equipment.

    When my grandfather sold off his shop, he was, to say the least, shocked at what it all sold for. He knew the machinery, made money with the machinery, and saw the VALUE of the machinery.

    I bought some machinery from an older gentleman that I to this day have to think there was some sort of mental illness going on. He was trying to sell machinery and tooling that had sat in a factory for over two decades unused, roof leaks, weather, etc had damaged MUCH of it. He kept going on about how nice the machinery was and what good machinery it was.

    I KNOW I am the exception, but there are many like me. I hauled a shaper home for a friend not long ago. I hauled a whole 30ft trailer load of old equipment home for another friend a couple years ago. We are out there.

    I absolutely guarantee you will enjoy seeing someone use the machinery, make things with the machinery, more than you will if you hold onto it for another 10-15 years for it to be scrapped.

    Rivett, you are in a equally difficult spot, even though you have rare and high quality equipment, I have seen those items go for a fraction of their price due to lower demand. It is MUCH better to slowly get rid of them, with no hurry, to the right person, as time allows.

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    63 is not that old... I think it is the new 50. And - ALL of us should change our definition of old as we get older. I think you have long life in your genes? This is odd post from a collector at heart... your fans must be working you too hard and you are not your normal self. Time for a trip to your favorite auction house...

    Timing is everything in the world of collecting... My best advice; publish a book on the importance of, or collecting machinery tools, and then sell. It works on me... I find an author or subject that I like and I'm chasing the book, and then collecting tools.

    I like the idea of mentoring someone and leaving my tools to that person... especially if family would scrap it; I want to leave each of my sons a tool box... one will be made of oak; another will be made of cherry...with hand cut dovetails and beautiful hardware... even if I have to watch hardware on ebay for 10 years for the perfect hardware... it is fun to treasure hunt.
    perhaps each one will be outfitted to match a desktop lathe for each of the grandsons...guess I need two or each accessory now.

    For the guys who have an entire shop...Despite my respect of the way a 5 axis CNC has changed industry, those machinists who take the time to learn to manually create parts will be more successful then the person who can push a button... this is the student you want to find to invest in.

    I remember now, one of my favorite books when I was starting my young adult life... To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy, (By Dr. Steven Covey). This rings true, still decades and a couple of generations later... so how can those tools be of help to the next generation? While I wouldn't donate my tools to a makerspace that we have locally, I think using tools to capture the imagination of a younger group of machinists and giving the access to your experience could be hugely successful. I am amazed at the quality of woodworking schools across the nation and specifically in the resurgence of using hand tools. (My local makerspace is 'geared' to 3D Printing and has a 14"x16" laser; I think they have some woodworking tools, but we have an entire shop already.)

    The success in the woodworking community can be mirrored in the world of metalworking. Find a bunch of retirees who want to share, and start small, with one class and see where it goes.
    When we were young, I would have to go back to Fine Woodworking when we graduated from high school to refer, but there were not that many woodworking schools... now when I read the magazines and LAP's blog they are established across the world.... Perhaps the Guilds in Europe have been continuous, but I am enjoying the observations of the craft of Woodworking here in the States.

    You guys need to start a new movement... I call it romancing a lathe... I visited my Mill today to make sure it was wintering well and I didn't have any of that terrible rust... it is waaayy too cold in our shop...but all was good with my surfaces.

    Lesson 1... how to sharpen the tool bits... can't use the lathe, until you can sharpen a bit.

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  21. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by john matthews View Post
    I'm 53...And by all means don't give up on the youth. It might seem like all they are interested in is video games but there are an awful lot of them who enjoy making things with their hands. They're looking at Craigslist and this forum right now just waiting for you to offer that machine at a price they can afford. List it up for what it's worth or "offer". The motivated ones will ask about it and you can decide to give it away for scrap price if they seem like someone who might do some good with it.

    Cheers,

    John
    A post earlier in this thread, upset my sensibilities with a disregard for how their goods would continue producing for and cared for by younger generations. John Matthews perspective is far more like what should occur. As a mentor, I've seen what interaction can do. Think how many here, hung-out just to watch machine tools, woodwork, construction, maybe big brother tuning a hot rod.

    I propose if you are connected to uninterested parties, you neglected engaging them when a opportunity presented itself. If the opportunity didn't occur, you failed to create one. That thought hadn't crossed your mind? You weren't paying attention to advertising by outdoor sporting industry to expose youngsters to boating, fishing, hunting or whatever your interests are.
    Dare I say, if you 'cannot', probably don't enjoy this as much as you proclaim. Ranting to a peer group doesn't count, that's just weird affirmation, baiting "like this post" clicks.


    Younger generations aren't attracted to this, because their parents weren't either. We are sort of 3 generations out from being the masters of GNP, which means m-a-n-u-f-a-c-t-u-r-i-n-g. It's wrong too, differentiating the little home shop, from the giant plant. Only the scale changes; similar processes, relatable vocabulary, identical theories of measurement. Used to be, any weekend garage sale had machinist tools, until manufacturing became second class. Same with internet sites, where are all the tools?
    I don't mean the 4" orange plastic toy calipers, or the 50 identical items, photo, description and all.
    Whats happened is a lot of useful articles are being hoarded with intent to utilize personally, but often is not.

    Most, probably all of us have these 'resources' to expose potential new community members.

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  23. #74
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    I bought some machinery from an older gentleman that I to this day have to think there was some sort of mental illness going on.
    Like your old friend, I like spares for my spares too but I set limits and mostly stick too them. For example, I don't need two welders so I sold one off the other day. I don't need two lathes, so I'll be selling my Hardinge before two long. I like having nice toys too but the line between having enough and hoarding is fairly thin. It's hard to say whether I'll tip over into hoarding when I start living out my last couple years. I know my dad ended up with 4-5 computers he didn't need before he died. I suppose I'm lucky I didn't have to dispose of 4-5 multi-ton machines instead.

    Younger generations aren't attracted to this, because their parents weren't either.
    Welders and machinists starting out often aren't making much more then minimum wages and are treated as replaceable cogs in the machine. If people aren't getting paid livable wages, they aren't going to be attracted to this trade. I think there's more wrong in this country than the fact someone's parents weren't interested. Shop classes close down and pay is depressed. Why would people do a skilled trade when they can make as much working in Starbucks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quade View Post
    Welders and machinists starting out often aren't making much more then minimum wages and are treated as replaceable cogs in the machine. If people aren't getting paid livable wages, they aren't going to be attracted to this trade. I think there's more wrong in this country than the fact someone's parents weren't interested. Shop classes close down and pay is depressed. Why would people do a skilled trade when they can make as much working in Starbucks?
    This is the primary issue. Those that want to *create* who enjoy metal working or wood working are merely picking up machinery as a hobby. When I served my Tool & Die apprenticeship the woman who was in charge of hiring asked me what would bring in people. I said higher pay. She just laughed and said of course. I explained that not only was I serious, but also explained that I made $9/hr and every morning I drove by Aldi who had a sign out "starting wages $12.60/hr". I was 24 or 25 when I started my apprenticeship and going from $14/hr to $9/hr really hurt. Especially when I had previously been doing IT work in college part time for $17/hr. Being somewhat older, I could see the VALUE in doing the apprenticeship. However, for most 18 year olds fresh out of Highschool, it is a simple equation of cost of beer, cost of girls, cost of rent (in that order) vs wages earned.

    In the 50's my grandfather was making DOUBLE what many of his highschool friends were making. Today I am making HALF what many of my friends are making.

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    Quote Originally Posted by holtzapffelFan View Post

    For the guys who have an entire shop...Despite my respect of the way a 5 axis CNC has changed industry, those machinists who take the time to learn to manually create parts will be more successful then the person who can push a button... this is the student you want to find to invest in.

    Here's my perspective- I'm in my mid 30's and have been pretty mechanical my entire life. I started working building pallets at 14 and by 16 I had bought and paid for my own 10" Southbend lathe, Bridgeport mill and 250 amp MIG welder. I have done a lot of things from working in construction to 4 years in the Navy seeing the world. I have built street/strip drag cars, offroad vehicles, restored a couple old trucks and found a career path in owning a business making and selling automotive products of my design.

    I have been self employed for 13 years and I like that this path lets me have some pretty cool toys at my disposal, but there's a huge cost to it that I'm not sure has been brought up yet in this discussion-

    -SPACE TO PUT ALL THIS STUFF-

    I'm 36 and I own at least a couple hundred tons of machinery. From a Bridgeport to a 4" HBM and 60" travel VMC and even a CNC laser and a 300 ton stamping press plus forklifts and a bridge crane and vidmars of tooling.

    I'm pretty sure if I had an auction a week from now and sold it all for scrap I could replace it all in a year or two for about the same dollar amount and a little hard work.

    Collecting the stuff is easy. My 7000 sq ft shop to house all this stuff with room to hook it all up and keep it warm and dry took 3 years to build.

    Having a nice home for machinery means that the machinery finds YOU. There's way more machines than there are homes for it. The cost of space just keeps going up and up because we have more and more people.

    So when I have to choose between giving a home to a beautiful planer or a way grinder or something that says Fanuc on it which one do you think wins? There's no way I can allocate the resources to store something with flatbelts that will never pay for the space it takes up when I can get premium manual machines with DRO's and tooling from the 50's through the 80's for pocket money or high quality CNC's from the 90's and even early 2000's now for less than a day's shop labor.

    I used to place an emotional value on machines and gadgets and I just don't anymore. I've watched too many people waste years of their lives collecting something pointless just to lose interest and let it rot or they die and it all goes in the dumpster. Or people donate it to a museum and the museum sells it on craigslist for scrap. Or the old guys that have enormous collections of old iron and even places to put it all, but all they do is talk about it and move that stuff around every few months to pack in more "deals". Those guys will tell you all about the deals they got on such a capable machine, but won't do a damn thing with it. And if you're a young guy starting out and ask to buy one of their "deals" they never use they'll waste your time. What a waste.

    I collect "capabilities" and income streams. Sorry, I cannot use your shaper or Jig Bore or your carbon steel tap and die sets.

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    I don't know. I'm 52, and am still amassing a collection myself. Perhaps, simply trade for a different style of machine, smaller and easier in later years. Horological (clock and watchmaker's) tools are awesome, still around, and consume much less space.

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    Interesting thoughts lately. I had a long chat this morning with one of my best friends who is also a shop guy. We talked about some folks we knew. So many of those with a small metal working business seem to get confused and have a hard time separating machines that make money from those that are your hobby. Trust me, it takes massive amounts of self control to keep your “play” stuff in the same shop where you make your living to pay for it all.

    I own less stuff by weight than I did 30 years ago I think it is all about deciding on what is important.

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  32. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai Kendall View Post
    I don't know. I'm 52, and am still amassing a collection myself. Perhaps, simply trade for a different style of machine, smaller and easier in later years. Horological (clock and watchmaker's) tools are awesome, still around, and consume much less space.
    One of the points to consider, isn't just about weight, it's value, historical or otherwise. The machines may have value to you, but in 20 or 50 years who will still value owning them.

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    59-years-old here.

    This discussion has been fascinating to read. It reminds me of conversations enjoyed around a camp fire or kitchen table.
    Rarely do I read an entire thread from beginning to end.
    This one, I have.

    This dilemma or situation of making difficult choices has a universal flair to it because it's not
    limited to people with just machine tool collections.
    Tools could be removed from the topic and easily be replaced with one's assemblage of original
    art, a book collection, or electronic test equipment as mentioned earlier in the discussion.
    The topic covers just about anyone possessing items they've loved and enjoyed during their lifetime.

    Having been a student of observation since childhood, I can recall these very kinds of
    conversations on both sides of my family.
    What do we do with grandpa's coffee-can collection of silver dollars from the 1800's?
    What in the world is grandma going to do with 10,000 radio tubes still in their original boxes?
    Antique furniture comes to mind as well.
    Who wants a grandfather clock that really doesn't keep time very well anymore?

    It's helpful to recall the wisdom of grandparents. I remember one of my grandmothers talking
    about my grandfather's collection of old photographs he had collected throughout his entire life.
    They were pictures crammed in a leather-bound briefcase of mostly people that had long died off.
    He basically said, "Throw those things away. There's no one alive who even knows who any of
    these people are."

    Passions can and do skip generations. A grandchild can be quite intrigued with a
    grandparents possessions while the parents view them as nothing but a ring around their neck.

    I'd have to scroll back in the conversation, but I believe Rivett wrote that he didn't have any children.
    So that circumstance presents a different kind of [choice obstacle]. But really, unless one is a complete recluse...
    it would make sense to enlist one's network of valued friendships to fill the void of no children.

    It does seem to me that no matter how one tries to paint their best ending ahead of their ending,
    it likely will be something very different than what their wishes are today, when they are gone
    tomorrow.

    Passing on a love affair for one's personal interests and belongings or even business's where the founder hands off to the son,
    and the grandson picks up and gives it a go until ultimately bringing it to closure is a pattern we've all seen.
    (Daughters and granddaughters are in there too!)

    Will we miss any of our stuff? I suppose.
    I somewhat miss the 1978 CJ-5 Jeep I factory ordered and was able to buy on my very own
    while in the service. Reflecting back on it though... it becomes one of those "been there,
    done that" stories where I really have no desire to bounce around in a drafty, noisy, unsecure-able,
    gas guzzling death machine again.

    This is a well served discussion. As for making a decision about when, and what?
    You'll likely discover that once you decide on what to do, the issue will have an instantaneous
    closure to it. It will afford opportunities to move on to the next anxiety.

    Not everyone enjoyed George Carlin.
    This topic reminded me of his very popular routine devoted to "stuff".

    I just watched it again having not seen it for years. Melancholy be gone!

    YouTube

    John

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