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Leave Here Empty

Updated on February 18, 2014
The destination of us all.
The destination of us all. | Source

The Problem

One day you're going to feel your heart stop beating in your chest. The sooner you get over any denial of this, the better.

You had a fulfilling career, the wife of your youth, a few kids, several grand kids, a globe trotting retirement, some close friends, and 3000 square feet of possessions your dear loved ones have no idea what to do with.

What Your Family Will Need To Accomplish

There is the initial shock, the funeral, the will, the placing of the home on the market, and then the bittersweet job of emptying a life of its possessions. There isn't infinite time to go through each individual item. The house needs to be sold, grief needs to be dealt with, and the relatives need to go back to work and their normal routine. Unfortunately, every item for them is attached to a memory, making it difficult to sometimes even look at items, let alone get rid of them. They feel guilty throwing away things that were meaningful to you, it's like throwing way YOU. Your possessions are all they have left of you.

The sad reality is that most of your possessions will end up in a dumpster or a thrift store. Your lifetime's accumulations, gone. To all the minimalists that own 100 things out there: your family will appreciate their ability to celebrate your life without having to MOVE it.

Something To Think About

If you died today does your family have access to the paperwork to shut down your credit cards and subscriptions, pay your mortgage, cancel the gardener and pool guy? Do they know where to find all of your deposit boxes, proof of time share ownership, bank accounts, stock accounts and certificates? Losing you is hard enough, let alone heaping all these other responsibilities on them.

The Solution

Why not enjoy giving away your possessions now, in the present, where you can watch your things bring joy to others. That extra couch could help a single mother, those extra vases could decorate a children's hospital, your grand kids could enjoy serving you dinner on your heir loom china. Why not allow someone to enjoy your things while you're still living.

Naked you come into this world and naked you will leave, so why leave baggage for someone else to take responsibility for? Start a revolution, leave here naked, being remembered for being generous.

This Couple Is Getting Rid Of Everything As An Experiment


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    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      4 years ago from California

      Marisa, that is a very interesting way of looking at it. Maybe a three little bears approach? Not too much, not too little, but just right.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      4 years ago from Sydney

      This is such a good point, but it's easier said than done I think! I have always been an anti-hoarder, as a reaction against my hoarding mother. As a get older (I'm now over 60), I regret not keeping more mementos of my life. If I could do it over again I'd be sure to collect more souvenirs and photos of my travels and experiences - even if it does mean they'll end in the dumpster as I have no children. However, I do think it's a good idea to get rid of other clutter.

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      4 years ago from California


      You are indeed very blessed to have that outlook on life. I hope as I age, I can say the same. It sounds like your life is one very well lived. Well done!

    • Edward J. Palumbo profile image

      Ed Palumbo 

      4 years ago from Tualatin, OR

      At this point in life (67), a friend and I joked that we have more time in our rearview mirrors than we have in our windshields, but I am thankful for the life I've led and the experiences I've had. I agree with you; I have accumulated what I needed or wanted in an effort to pursue my interests and hobbies, and I find it much easier to give some of these things to others who will appreciate them. I have a good relationship with my God and can look back in gratitude and look ahead with optimism. I am a realist, and I believe my wishes are understood and my documents are in order for my family. My daughter and son are fine adults, and they are on the right path. I am blessed with an independent, organized woman as my wife of 31 years. Truly, this is a very peaceful and satisfying time of life for me. I wish no less for others.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      6 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      thought provoking and insightful!

      Denial is something we all face at some point and in some or the other phase of life! maturity comes when we move over it

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California

      Thanks. I'm glad it inspired you to prepare now.

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California


      Thank you for your kind words and willingness to share this hub. Your encouragement always means a lot to me. I'm sorry that your family is going through this right now. Death is such a difficult endeavor for everyone involved; no emotionally draining. I hope that you are given special strength through this.

    • profile image

      Kathleen Kerswig 

      6 years ago

      It is a sound suggestion for everyone to follow. Thank you for posting this. I want to be sure that my children do not have added pressures after I am gone. It is up to me to take the appropriate action in order to ensure that they will not have additional responsibilities. Good job!

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 

      6 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      You really gave this reader something to think about - nicely done!

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      6 years ago from Asheville NC

      Thank you Availiasvision!

      My wife and I live in Asheville NC. Her parents live in Maine. We are in the midst of this divestiture right now due to a death in the family and it is painful because access is limited due to the 1100 mile gap. It slows the already ridiculous process down.

      Aside from the emotional issues there are also practical living issues that need to be addressed not to mention the financial side which could easily be circumvented by giving as you propose.

      Our take away from this experience is; Dream Big for others, live small for yourself or if you must accumulate, plan ahead lovingly and selflessly and follow Availiasvision's well articulated advice!!!

      I'm definitely sharing this with my fb friends and family as well as my hp followers!



    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California

      Thanks for reading it.

    • picadilly profile image

      Priscill Anne Alvik 

      6 years ago from Schaumburg, IL

      I love your insight and direct approach....bravo for this hub!

    • Rossogrosso profile image


      6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Yeah, I want to hear about hitchhiking across Europe and misadventures in SE Asia!

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California

      Thanks billybuc. Still figuring out hubpages but loving it so far. I really enjoy your hubs on simple living.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well done Availia; you know what I think on this subject since you read my hub! I hope to see more from you and longer hubs with more detail to your writing.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Availia, This is oh so true. Sign me up as guilty of most of this. I need to do a better job of making sure that if something happened to me those left behind would know where everything is. And clutter, oh my, we really need to heed your advice and start giving stuff away to people who need or could use it. Well done. Great advice.

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California

      Glad it got you thinking. Thanks for reading and responding. I am young and without a will. Therefore if I were to pass unexpectantly I hope my family will find their inheritence hidden in several accounts. What if you have a stock account they have no idea you own? If you get your 1099 by email they may never see it.

    • javeaspain profile image


      6 years ago from Javea, Spain

      Very thought provoking indeed, had a great time with this excellent piece ... and the answer to the final questions are largely all "ooops no" :)

    • Rossogrosso profile image


      6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Books count? Uh-oh!

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California

      I started small and went through different categories of my stuff: books, DVDS, clothes ect and forced myself to get rid of 2 things within the category. I firced myself to not get up until it was done. Another trick was I threw away all colored hangers in my closet, leaving only white ones. whatever didn't fit on those hangers I donated.

    • Rossogrosso profile image


      6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      I can see how liberating that would be. Stuff is very cumbersome, mentally as well as physically. I often notice how I don't NEED any of it when I am away from home traveling or camping, but when I think about it it seems almost unbearable to get rid of some old junk!

    • Availiasvision profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Arnett 

      6 years ago from California

      Thanks Rossogrosso. I was a total clutter bug growing up but then took a complete 180.

    • Rossogrosso profile image


      6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Great subject, great idea! Clutter gene in my family! Only consolation for me: only have a studio apt! My mom on the other hand: her house will fill up several dumpsters (or libraries). Good job!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      A friend of mine recently had a couple of deaths in her circle of friends, and I have been thinking about the legacy we leave behind, and how best to keep organized enough so others can make final arrangements.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      6 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      A deep and thought provoking hub. Thank you!



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