Our family moved a lot when I was a child. This meant that there weren't many years between moves to accumulate stuff. Even so one of my Dad's favorite sayings is: "when in doubt, throw out". The minimalist movement encourages us to live with less. This isn't an easy task, We Americans are consumers and we live in a society that has long encouraged more, better, faster, newer.
The reality is our heirs don't want to inherit our stuff or Granny's or Great Granddad's. I spent the weekend helping a friend who is moving from the giant house, circa 1910, where she raised her 3 kids into a newly renovated small old house that is probably a quarter the size of the one she lived in for the past 30 years. Some of the choices were easy, the big furniture was simply too big for her new house. Other items were too worn or rattly to be worth moving. Then came the hard choices the stuff ... the kids might want someday ... or those things with sentimental, but no practical value. Some of those are making the move and may find their way into her kid's homes someday, though I suspect much of it will wind up donated or tossed eventually.
This made me think of The Gentle Art of Death Cleaning by Margaretta Magnusson. Don't let the title put you off. This is truly about making life better now and later.
Magnusson writes. “Mess is an unnecessary source of irritation. Death cleaning is not about dusting or mopping up; it is about a permanent form of organization that makes your everyday life run more smoothly, And you may even find the process itself enjoyable, she adds. “It is a delight to go through things and remember their worth.” Or determine they are no longer of value to you, though they might be to someone else.
When helping someone else move the choices seem so clear. If only we could have that clarity about our own stuff. Start small a cupboard or a closet. You may discover things you forgot you had, which is a great indication that you don't need them anymore.. We all have unexpected collections: Do I really need 12 scissors?
Keep going little by little until you have touched everything you own. Knowing it won't be easy, keep going. Find people and organizations that would appreciate your donations. There will be less work for you, fewer things to dust, sort and/or store. This is a tremendous kindness to those that will be here after you are gone.
You will love living with just those things that truly serve your daily life that are useful and meaningful to you and your loved ones.