Sat 09/19/2009

From: Danny H

To: Siblings

Re: status of house

It is 4:30 on Saturday evening, and after a rush rush rush and more rush, I have finally reached a logical stopping point in my house cleanup.

Tons of stuff (as in two 15 cubic yard dumpsters, think 6’x8’x12’ or so) have been discarded. Most of this is paperwork.

Here are some of my impressions.

First, since none of you expressed a strong opinion about saving anything, I took that to be a carte blanche for my discretion (yeah, Debby, you made a few broad suggestions).  And given the quantity of material, I had to quickly adopt some rules of thumb.  Basically, if it didn’t look interesting or unique, or it was covered in nasty dust, out it went. That means the ancient lab notebooks in the attic were discarded with extreme prejudice (though I kept one or two for the heck of it). Similarly, old bills and receipts and mlf and tiaa cref and bank statements and taxes, almost all were discarded.

I did  keep a random sample of this stuff, including  a somewhat larger (more representative) random sample of tax returns. I didn’t make any coherent attempt to be systematic about this random sample, so there are bound to be duplicates and missings.

What this means is that every nook and cranny has been emptied, with the retained stuff concentrated in a few file spots. And my goodness, the crannies were interminable. There always seemed to be one more basket or file drawer or something left in a room after I thought I had gotten to everything. I would be dead if it wasn’t for Lillian’s cleaning woman’s husband who was the strong back that hauled most of this (one garbage can at a time) from the house to the dumpster.

In particular, I consolidated stuff I retained in the following spots:

a)      The file cabinet in the “computer room”.

a.       The top 2 shelves contain randomly chosen tax and financial info. I probably will never look at this.

b.      The bottom shelf contains what I think is important or interesting stuff. Such as army discharge papers, old ids, Harvard med and SSH appointment papers, Sam/Celia Hellerstein estate (did you know it took 20 years for the Hellersteins to dispose of the low valued property the estate owned in Cleveland!), 1489 comm sale communications and a copy of the deed, etc.  You might find it interesting to peruse this material.  Let’s say that if I had to, I would take the entire drawer with me to Wheaton.

b)      The brown wood file drawers in the master bedroom (the one debby wanted to discard, that was on top of the chest that was used for socks and underpants) is full of miscellaneous junk (it has been moved off the chest). Some of it is financial, but a lot of it is letters and stuff that might be interesting. Not as “officially interesting” as the stuff mentioned in (b) above, and not as well sorted. One drawer is mostly Earl stuff, the other mostly Marge: there is intermingling to some extent. I say mostly, because I wasn’t super systematic/careful about stashing stuff in there (as I went through the hundred or so file drawers, brief cases, and or course shopping baskets).   Let’s say that if I had to, I would take the entire drawer with me to Wheaton.

c)       The chest in the master bedroom, and on top of it in several misc. boxes, are Marge stuff. I didn’t have the heart to go through it. Someone else can.

d)      In the TV room, several of the book case shelves contain picture albums. Some were there already, some I brought up from the basement.

e)      The basement storeroom contains a shelf of old medical books (only ones prior to 1950), and kid stuff. That is, there are 5 areas containing one or several boxes of stuff for each of us: a “Daniel” shelf, a “Nat” shelf, etc.

Basically, if I stumbled into a box (say, in this storeroom) that looked like it had your stuff in it, I didn’t attempt to throw stuff away. I just put it in your pile. Now, I can’t guarantee that in my mad rush I didn’t toss out a few papers, but there probably weren’t many. In fact, if I stumbled across some paper in Earl’s files that seemed to be related to you in any way, I would put it in your pile rather than toss it out.

It is your choice what to do with your stuff – it is safely out of the way, so there is no rush.

That’s about it for where remnants have been stored.  Oh, there are a few other places:

·         the white bookcase in the computer room is full of office supplies

·        the closet in the computer room has  old medical stuff (such as a microscope). For example,  on a sudden whim I  kept a few dozen boxes of pathology transparencies. Marc I will let you triage that stuff.

·        The wall beside the bed in the computer room has kid art and photos on it, mostly Erica and Leah. Marc, you deal with it.

·        The chest in the living room hasn’t been touched. It is probably mostly junk, though there are some cassette audio tapes  that I would keep. I think Seth is going to go through it sooner or later.

In general it is amazing that underneath the boxes (more precisely, shopping baskets) there is a house. Like you can open a drawer and use it to store things, cause it isn’t full of  a third duplicate of a 10 year old tax form (unfilled in).  Sort of reminds me of what the place was like when I was a kid, when it was actually lived in and not mostly a warehouse.

Some house details:

·          those who come may find lights and other things on timers. If there is tape over a switch, take that to mean that you should NOT turn on/off the switch.  Seth should be able to give you details if you are in town.

·         Newton switched to a supercan system for garbage; one for trash, one for recyclables. As of Oct 1, Newton will ONLY pick up the super cans: so do NOT use the old garbage cans and do NOT use the old square recycling bins.


Hmm, my mind is running out of thoughts. Probably a dozen things I reminded myself to mention but have forgotten. Oh well, this won’t be the last communication.