The Truth about Simplifying Your Life

I love simple.  The fewer possessions I have, the easier my life becomes.  I’ve gotten rid of maybe 75% of the material things I owned.  But, guess what, that is just not enough.  So, my wife and I have been taking on the tough part of the job…dealing with the stuff we love but never see because it is in storage, stuff that may have some family historical value…but no one will want it after we have croaked.  To be specific…letters, promotional pieces from work, newsletters from work, art we will never put up again, old trophies, useful stuff that we have too much of…like rags and packing materials, stuff we have been saving for visitors that never gets used…like a Pak n Play that has set here for eight years unused.  Some of this stuff has some value to it…if we wanted to do an eBay deal or a swap meet or Craig’s List or a garage sale…but we don’t want to mess with any of those.  So, we are giving it away, donating it and sending lots of stuff to the dump.  Hard as heck to do…a few tear involved.  However, we found out long ago…we will never miss it.

I’ve been left several estates of very close relatives that were basically horders.  I had to clean out the mess.  Not only did I get no money from the collected crap they had stored…it cost me money to haul it off.  Took weeks of my life to deal with it.  So I ask…what are you hording?  What are you storing that will never get used again and no one is ever going to want it?  Do the right thing and get rid of it now.  Your life will be better for it…and so will the lives of those who will need to settle your estate when you are gone.

Simplify…and the time is now.  My dad tried to start organizing/throwing stuff away/cleaning stuff out…when he was 90.  The job was beyond him.  I had the same thought today as I lifted some 40 pound boxes off a top shelf while standing on a ladder…this is just about more than I can do safely.  It is time for me to finish this project up and be done with it.  And that is what I am going to do.

And now it is your turn.





  1. Joyce Okahashi on October 22, 2017 at 12:42 am

    Sounds like you are reading my mind, lol. I started doing the “down size” for a few hours today and the enormity of the task began to sink in. I always told my kids to be careful getting rid of my stuff when I’m gone since some things are very valuable. Now why should I leave them that burden?? Time for me to get started liquidating; this should be fun or so I’m gonna tell myself everyday.

    • Don Hurzeler on October 22, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I have my mess down to about 20 big bens of junk. My goal is to finalize one big ben a week for the next 20 weeks…faster if possible. I do not expect to have all 20 bens gone at the end of my work, but they will be organized and notes put with them (Like…Just throw this ben away the day I die…stuff in it was only important to me). Maybe I will have ten left…but they will be easy enough to lift and get into that I will be able to access them even when I am 90. My extra clothing is long gone. My medicine cabinet is current and clean. My hidden storage in the attic needs some attention…mostly empty boxes for my expensive camera gear, but needs to be organized and cleaned out. So…like you…much to do but at least we are started! Good luck.

  2. Regina on October 22, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Thanks for the inspiration & reminder! It’s way too time consuming to manage all my stuff. Listing more to sell & donate! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Don Hurzeler on October 22, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Get er done…glad you are going to have at it. Good luck!

  3. Annette Fennern on October 26, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Aaahhhhh…..I appreciate this. Truth. I have a lot of sentimental things. For me I ask myself, does it bring me joy? If I look at it and say, “yes” then I keep it. It’s those daughters of mine that have left their sentimental things in storage at our home when they moved to Hawaii that causes me some angst.

    • Don Hurzeler on October 27, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      We stored our kids stuff for about 30 years. When we moved to Hawaii, we had all of their stuff dropped off to them and let them deal with it. Had to be done.

  4. Cary Stone-Greenstein on October 27, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    And for things that are true family history, like great grandma’s diary, consider donation to a local (to her) genealogical or Historical museum. I inherited some old diaries, which I have since transcribed and donated so that my unknown distant cousins can share in the window to the past. I also donated very old letters and photographs (from the 1800s). No one in my family wanted these things, and I couldn’t bear to toss them, so finding them a good home felt really good.

    • Don Hurzeler on October 27, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Really great advice. Have done some but will do more. Thanks for the alternative idea.

  5. Ken Case on November 3, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Don, thank you for providing great advice for me over the past 30 years! My children will one day thank you for this advice! Three years ago we chose to relocate from So. Cal. the Washington state. This move inspired us to go the all of the wonderful stuff we had been collecting over the past 27 years we had lived in that house. Boy, the treasures we uncovered! Some we donated, some we sold, and much went to recycling bins and other things went to the shredder and others yet to the land fills. My hope is the you and will have another 30 years of imparting advice and listening to the sage advice from trusted friends!

    Thank you,


    • Don Hurzeler on November 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      Ken…good for you. Had to be done. I hope you and I can convince others to do the same. Aloha my friend.

  6. Linda Hurzeler on November 3, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Yes, and after 30 years of storing our kids stuff and the family heirlooms they didn’t want either of them! We have also removed the curse of you must keep family heirlooms. We gave permission to give them away or sell them.

    • Don Hurzeler on November 3, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      One of the smarter things we did…no longer the storage facility for the kids stuff.

  7. Steve Engelhardt on November 3, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    I remember you helping your Dad when he started his effort to clean out your childhood home in Palos Verdes. Did you keep your track trophies from 60 years ago or that one set of splkes you wore in the 1968 Olympic Trials? Come on man, that’s all good stuff.
    I am still trying to figure out what to do with my Dad’s collection of the first ten years of Playboy magazines; 1953-1963 and my notebooks of class notes from USC. Oh well the playmates are over 80 by now but its so hard to go.

    • Don Hurzeler on November 3, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      Wow…that comment about the age of the Playmates…sad but true. Look on line to see if any of those issues are worth more than $5…save those and toss the rest. You can get every issue they ever made online now. My track trophies are gone. All my shoes and uniforms…gone. Kept the news clips and the medals. Never took notes so don’t have to deal with class notes (and, by the way, I had the grades to prove it). Toss toss toss and you will not miss a thing. Aloha.