This book’s title and subtitle, while lengthy, says it all: KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die. Author Gail Rubin, CT, a death educator with a sense of humor, has created a way to attract baby boomers to consider end-of-life issues by first getting them to deal with their excess material goods.
Albuquerque-based publisher Rio Grande Books started a multi-title series of Bucket List books in 2015. While many focus on New Mexico tourism activities, they branched out to include to-do lists for space exploration buffs and cowboy fans (not the football kind).
“When the publishers approached me about creating a Bucket List book on downsizing and organizing for end-of-life issues, I thought what a brilliant idea,” said Rubin. “People are much more interested in downsizing than in death, and this book eases open the door to discussing funeral and estate planning.”
The format includes 100 pages of Bucket List items, with only one to three paragraphs per item. Each list item has a color photo and a link to a website article that provides more information on each particular point.
The first two-thirds of the book focus on reasons to downsize, creative ways to get rid of clutter, and smart steps to take, such as appraising artwork, jewelry, musical instruments and homes. At least ten of those points focus on mental and emotional tips to start lightening one’s load, such as “Release Your Attachments,” “Clear Your Clutter, Clear Your Mind,” and even “Get Cats to Help Clear Your Clutter.”
Some of the tips offer unique approaches to giving possessions away, such as clothing swaps, Freecycle.org, and putting items on the curb with a “Free!” sign. Rubin suggests ways to work with others to effectively downsize, and environmentally responsible approaches to dispose of household hazardous wastes and medications.
The last third of the book examines the many aspects to consider when planning for end-of-life issues, including estate planning, advance medical directives, financial management, and funeral planning. Funeral-related to-do items include “Write Your Own Obituary,” “Shop BEFORE You Drop,” “Investigate Funeral Insurance Options,” and “Make Your Funeral Plans.”
“My title is The Doyenne of Death®, and since I’ve written this book, now I’m also the Doyenne of Downsizing. A doyenne is a woman who’s considered senior in a group who knows a lot about a particular subject,” explains Rubin.
She’s been leading by example and paring down her own excess goods. Dealing with paper files is still a challenge, she admits. But she did make $700 selling two unused items, a natural gas grill and a rooftop car carrier, after posting free online ads on Craigslist.
KICKING THE BUCKET LIST includes a 50-point Executor’s Checklist, which details the many responsibilities a named representative must carry out on the decedent’s behalf. That list alone drives home the importance and benefits of downsizing and organizing for end-of-life. Rubin offers a free PDF download of this list at her website through this link: http://agoodgoodbye.com/kicking-the-bucket/use-this-executors-checklist-to-smooth-estate-transitions/
There’s also a Near Misses list that includes additional suggestions like “Dispose of Embarrassing Items Before Someone Else Discovers Them,” “Designate a Legacy Contact for Your Facebook Account,” and “Have Your DNA Tested or Banked.”
KICKING THE BUCKET LIST is Rubin’s third book on preparing for end-of-life issues. She’s also the author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die and Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips. She also blogs about funeral planning and end-of-life issues at The Family Plot Blog at www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
KICKING THE BUCKET LIST, available in paperback and eBook formats, retails for $15.95. Amazon.com named it a #1 New Release shortly after its debut. Funeral directors can get company-branded versions of the book in bulk directly from Rio Grande Books. For more information, call Publisher Paul Rhetts at 505-344-9382. FBA