I think I’ll stop now

To the 86 people who subscribed to this blog–many thanks for your attention, but I’ve decided to stop. After 22 months and 77 posts, I have to conclude that there isn’t much interest in this topic. Which surprises me, as there is so much need, with all the Greatest Generation and now Baby Boomers dying and leaving their heirs with so much STUFF to dispose of, and so many people downsizing. However, I’ve reluctantly decided that it isn’t worth my while to soldier on, so thank you kindly for tuning in, and good luck with your own efforts at identifying, valuing, and disposing of unwanted inherited STUFF. Please feel free to email me if you have any specific problems or questions: mmtheobald@comcast.net. 



About Mary Miley

I was born at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, where my father taught tactics to the cadets, so it's no surprise that my earliest memories are of the Corps drilling on the parade grounds to the rhythm of the Army band. I attended public schools in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and France, then worked my way through the College of William and Mary in Virginia as a costumed tour guide at Colonial Williamsburg, experiencing first hand the pleasures of wearing 18th-century attire during the sweltering summer. After putting my husband through law school selling cheese in Cleveland—aw, come on, it was a recession!—I returned to Williamsburg for a masters degree in history and a full-time job at Colonial Williamsburg, working with antiques and reproductions. It was there that I really learned how to write and how to make history come alive. When my children were young, I left Williamsburg for a thirteen-year stint teaching American history and museum studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and at the same time consulted with museums across the country on matters retail and financial. A free-lance writer since 1986, I have published a dozen nonfiction books and more than 200 magazine articles, most on history, travel, and business topics. During the past few years, I've branched into fiction, writing the first two of a mystery series and a romantic suspense, all set in the 1920s. The first, THE IMPERSONATOR, won the national contest for Best First Crime Novel and was published in 2013 by St. Martin's/Minotaur; its sequel, SILENT MURDERS, came out in 2014. I live in Richmond, Virginia, with my husband, an attorney. My greatest pleasures are traveling, playing the pipe organ with all the stops out, and reading mysteries.

Posted on June 22, 2014, in General, Stuff After Death. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. i personally have appreciated your posts. even if i seldom commented. it has also helped me to view my things in a different light. we are always admonished to simplify your life, but sometimes sentimentality gets in the way. i am sure there are many things my children will toss. unless it was theirs, and then they might have said, i wish you would have saved such and such. it would be valuable now. so little is valuable because it was well used or well loved. thank you for your efforts. fortunately, my brother inherited my parents things and i don’t have to deal with them! i am grateful, esp. after reading your posts!

  2. Sallie Hamilton

    Hi Mary, Sorry to hear your news. Thank you for the great effort and all of the good information that you gave us! Sallie Hamilton

    Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2014 17:54:05 +0000 To: sallie_hamilton@hotmail.com

  3. Hi Mary,

    A company my sister and I opened about 5 years ago assists people who are downsizing or moving to retirement. Your ‘chapters’ have been very valuable to our clients when the many questions of dispersal develop.

    Thanks very much for all the great information we’ve collected from your blog for almost two years.

    Wishing you the best in your next endeavors,


    Ann Ayres

    Ayres Estate Services

    213 W. Institute Place

    Suite 310

    Chicago, IL 60610

  4. Hi Mary,

    A company my sister and I opened about 5 years ago assists people who are downsizing or moving to retirement. Your ‘chapters’ have been very valuable to our clients when the many questions of dispersal develop.

    Thanks very much for all the great information we’ve collected from your blog for almost two years.

    Wishing you the best in your next endeavors,

    Ann Ayres
    Ayres Estate Services

    • Glad to have been helpful! Your clients might find my book, STUFF AFTER DEATH, helpful as well. It’s much the same as the blog. There are numerous services like yours around the country and I thought they would be a basis for an active blog, but it seems not to be. Wonder why.

  5. Valerie Arends

    So sorry to hear you are shutting down when I just found you this spring!! Will there be an archive available?
    Valerie Arends
    Professional Organizer
    It’s Your Move

    • Thanks, Valerie. I’m planning to leave up the posts that are there, just not to add any more. Hope you find them helpful. Or there’s STUFF AFTER DEATH, which compiles much of the blog into one volume.
      I think part of the problem (perhaps all of it) lies in people not finding the blog. There are just no easy keywords that direct someone to the subject (to the blog or the book). I remember 8 or 10 years ago, when my agent tried to sell the book concept to publishers, there was a good deal of interest from editors at first because there is nothing like it on the market, then the marketing people got into the act and said, But how do we market this? How to get the word out to the people who need it? Or, where on the bookstore shelf does it go? I remember one marketing person saying, “No one says, ‘Gee, Grandma died; I think I’ll buy a book.'”

  6. Sorry you’re ending this blog – I’ve found it very informative. I’ve noticed a variety of estate sales and auctions in our community that attest to the fact that there is a lot of stuff out there that the owners/inheritors don’t wish to keep. Many of us just hate to throw away anything that might be useful to someone else, though perhaps that kind of thinking is outmoded now with so much stuff made in China and really intended to be disposable. Anyway, thank you for writing this blog and for sharing your thoughts and experiences in this area. Mary Winslow

    Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2014 17:54:05 +0000 To: mctwinslow@hotmail.com

    • Thank you, Mary. The blog won’t go away; I just won’t be adding to it. Maybe it will help people downsizing or trying to deal with their parents’ STUFF. I hate sending things to the landfill so hope we can recycle items wherever possible. Cheers!

  7. rosenberger99@comcast.net

    Dear Mary,

    I was so sorry to receive this email message. I subscribed – not because I really needed the information since I had already gone through all the years of dealing with the physical, mental, spiritual process of dealing with ‘stuff after death.’ This was with both my own parents, and my wife’s parents. Long debilitating illnesses. Nothing the easy way.  I subscribed because you wrote so well. It was one of the great modern writers, maybe Hemingway, but I think it was Capote, who said in essence: “Most people don’t understand. They think being a good writer is a talent or a gift. I don’t know. Maybe it is. But I do know that it is a lot of hard work, every day hard work.”

    I am sure that you have thought about the next step you could take. I have an idea . It would not be for everyone. But, you could form a consulting service – a real company – which, given the overall demographics, could grow and become quite successful. And, I mean financially as well as professionally.  You would need to hire people and all that. I think the set of skills (and thus the service contracted with clients) would be the ability and discipline to work with the elderly before   the dying process to get rid of all the ‘stuff’ (which I say tenderly) and help sort out the processes for distributing the remaining ‘tangible personal property’ in a happy, understood, manner with the heirs. I think the consulting firm – if developed well and professionally – would find as much business as it could handle by working through reputable estate and trust lawyers.

    It’s just a thought. I am an entrepreneur by nature and experience.

    Whatever you decide to do, I wish you well and G odspeed. Soldier On!

    – Karl R.

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