What happens to your collection when you die?
My father died not too long ago. He didn’t really collect much anymore but he did have a small classic cars collection roughly 1/24 scale. Having to help clean most of his stuff I realized many things but specifically two things related to this article. You never know when you’re going to die and someone will have to deal with your stuff when you’re gone. I was never into cars despite my father buying me tons of hot wheels and micro machines as a kid, but they were his joy. I knew these cars had some value but since I wasn’t into them it was difficult for me to find information. I did try to look online but they were such a niche thing in circles I didn’t understand that I ended up selling some things for cheaper than I should’ve and got left over with a ton of stuff that is just difficult to sell. I realized this later, despite having done research since the beginning. So what will happen to your stuff after you die?
I realized I didn’t want my loved ones to deal with my collection of stuff, and I also realized I wanted them to benefit the most from my posessions. So I’ve been organizing my stuff, specifically my collectables so that it’s the least of a headache for my family. In a perfect world, I’d actually like to sell most of my stuff before I die. I think I’d enjoy more one final trip to Hawaii than haivng a Base Set Charizard in a top loader in the final years of my life so it’s a better use of that money. I’d only keep my most loved pieces in my collection in my final days. That way my hoarding doesn’t have to be someone elses problem in the end. But of course that’s in a perfect scenario. You never know when you’re going to go I mean 1 could die tonight.
In that case I thought it was better to have some type of system that my stuff doesn’t end up in the trash or sold cheaply to some scalper online. Even if someone in your family can be a fan of some of your stuff, it’s difficult that anyone would have all your same tastes. They also have their own lives and aren’t going to be willing to spend dozens or hundreds of hours trying to sell all your stuff at the best price. It’s tough, I know because I’ve been there while downsizing my collection. Which is actually one of the things I’ve beend doing to help things out. The other is organizing everything I have in a spreadsheet. This not only helps you know what have in your collection but it’ll help people know as well.
I’ve divided my spreadsheet by collections and franchises, depending on what is easier. I like to put what I have, the quantity, estimated value indicating when the price was checked, a picture of the product so it’s easy to find (most pictures I just get from online), and some notes indicating if it’s something rare, common or what would be the best way to sell it. For example if I have a collection of NES games, I’d tell them to sell individually the Nintendo World championship but the more common titles it’s just best for them to sell it as one big lot for simplicity sake. Of course this file would need to be archived somewhere that people can get to after you die and they should know that it exists. I plan to have the file have as many instructions as needed so if they really want they can maximize profits but also a “you’re just tired and want to move on” instructions so that it’s not a burden for them either, or that they can choose what is worth their time.
This is an ongoing project since I’ll continue to change my collection around and I’ll try to always have my excel as updated as possible so that it’s the most helpful when I am no longer here. It’s not something that can really be put off until “later” since that “later” might be too late if we go earlier than intended. These are perhaps not things we think about much but they’re so important. Beyond my collection I’d also want to leave as many things cleaned up and easy to organize and clean through once I’m done. Once you have to do it for someone else and you wish you could talk to them to know what to do with certain stuff, to know what’s important and what isn’t. It’d really make life easier for your loved ones. Im not going to lie, I also plan to leave one of those “If you’re watching this, it means I’m dead.” type of video notes that I love seeing in TV and movies.