Pack Rat, Collector, Tight Wad or Sentimental Fool

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST, RLP®

I never considered myself to be any of the above… until we decided it was time to list the family homestead for sale. When approaching this milestone event it is time to empty out, clean up and basically get rid of all the stuff that we’ve accumulated or that our children left behind as they have sprung out and started their own nests. A time that will tug on your heartstrings, help you reminisce about the cherished memories and guide you to realize that memories and family drive life, not places and stuff.

After 20 years of raising a family in a cavernous home large enough for 4 children, stuff simply accumulates. In fact, it became clear as the emptying started that we had stuff (i.e. more furniture than we needed) to hold our stuff.

The emptying of our stuff had many different manifestations.  We started with two large dumpsters that were filled to the brim. Then we had a steady 5 month flow of filling Joan’s SUV dozens of times with trips to the local charity drop offs, had Big Brothers Big Sisters over many times with their donation trucks, helped furnish Rob’s new home and then held an estate sale for all of the big stuff that we didn’t think figured into our next abode. Whether we lightened up too much or kept stuff that will simply get stored in our new home may be a subject that I can share as soon as this process is over.

Apparently the logical question that nearly everyone has presented to us is “where are you going”? That is a great question and at this point we don’t have a solid answer except that we don’t intend to go too far.  In fact, we have compiled a list of 6 criteria that would be ideal for our new home. The list includes a nice lot, privacy, walk to something like a downtown area, a view of the water, access to public transportation, a town with beaches. I feel that it is highly unlikely that we’ll find all six, but you have to start somewhere.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, just ask Joan.  She’ll attest that this has taken up nearly 100% of her time since the year began.  I lifted a finger or two when asked, but that’s about it.  She worked her butt off and did nearly everything to make this move possible.

There are nights when I go home and look around at the freshly staged house and feel like I am in a Talking Heads song, spouting “This is not my beautiful house”. But it is.  As this all started to “Make Sense”, the “How did I get here” became clear. In many ways I am a tight wad – keeping nearly anything that I thought we’d use again or be able to give to someone else.  Add that to being a sentimental fool, where we saved stuff from the kid’s childhood, and you get lots of stuff. Hey, we even found my second grade report card which will make the journey with us.  Some things remain “The same as it ever was”.