You Can’t Take It With You!

I felt like I was in a cave.

The dreary, cold weather in New Jersey was a drastic change from the
warm, sunny temperatures back home in South Texas, so to help bring a little light into my hotel room I decided to open all the curtains.

The clouds hid the sunlight that I was craving, but just being able to look beyond the four walls of my room helped brighten my spirits.

To be honest, the view out my hotel window wasn’t exciting — just a
few buildings and noisy highways. But as I scanned the horizon in
front of me I noticed something I’d never seen before in all my
other stays at this hotel. Directly behind the hotel is a cemetery.

This wasn’t one of those tiny, landmark-type cemeteries. It was
huge. There was a seemingly endless amount of grave markers as far as
my eye could see in any direction. A sad and somber sight for sure.

As I gazed upon that cemetery and thought about the brevity of life,
it dawned on me that there were no storage units or U-hauls next to
each person buried there. That’s because when we die, we can’t take
it with us!

The collections we obsess over, the items we think we can’t part
with, or the things we’re afraid of letting go of won’t matter in
the end. When our time on this earth is finished, so is our
relationship with our stuff.

But sometimes I wonder if we ever consider this truth when we’re faced
with the decision of whether to let something go or not. Do we ask
ourselves, In the end will this really matter?

Probably not.

Rather than letting go, however, we continue to hold on thinking
that our children or grandchildren will want it. But the truth is
they don’t (sorry!) — according to a Washington Post article,
most kids don’t want their parents’ stuff. I know my kids won’t!

None of us is promised tomorrow. When our lives are over and all
that’s left is our memory and the legacy we leave behind, what do we
want people to remember most about us? Who we were, what we invested
into other people’s lives, or what possessions we owned?

While there may be one or two trinkets of ours that family and
friends will treasure, for the most part they won’t any of it. And
the drudgery of having to wade through all our stuff in the midst of
their grief isn’t the best parting gift we could give them either.

So why do we keep holding on?

No one wants to think about the time when they are no longer here.
We prefer to live in a present-moment mindset, not thinking about a
future without us in it. While there’s nothing wrong with that, when
it comes to our stuff and our desire to hold on to it, we might want
to change our thinking a bit. What if we not only thought about our
need for stuff now, but once we’re gone too?

How we answer that question could make a big difference in how we
live the rest of the days we’re given.

I’d love to know….would thinking about the end make a difference
in how you see your stuff and in your decision to keep it or not?
Have you considered it before or is this something new for you to
think about?

Liana George is an organizer, writer, speaker and teacher. She knows that not everyone is as passionate about organizing as she is, but she does believe everyone can be organized. When she’s not organizing something she’s traveling with her husband, Clint, reading a good book, or watching tennis. She’s on Twitter at @ByGeorgeOrganiz and blogs at

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