When I was young and unencumbered by possessions, I used to love it when relatives decided to shed their excess stuff. I had nothing but cheap, utilitarian, boring new stuff and coveted their funky old objects. When I could afford it, I would shop at antique stores for the same kind of thing. Every middle-aged or old person with too much stuff should have a niece like me, to accept and cherish their wonderful old things. My bedridden aunt doesn't so much miss possessing her old things as worry about them, as if they were puppies that need to be adopted into a loving and appreciative home. The problem is, these concerns extend not only to nice old furniture but to boxes of empty jelly jars. I can't even clear out her greeting cards unless I agree to take them to some church group that plans to cut them up and use them in crafts. Part of this is Depression-era thrift, of course, but the rest is just anxiety and alienation. She's about to cast off a lot more than her stuff. She's going through a door she can approach only empty-handed.
My taller half is considerably more orderly than I, and gradually has converted me to an appreciation of unclutter. Not that I achieve much unclutter, but now I do at least aspire to it and occasionally take lurching, partial steps in that direction. We managed to scrape off quite a few barnacles when we moved here six years ago. It's time for another wave. Anything that's still useful needs to go to the local thrift store, and the rest to a landfill.
Maybe I'll find my missing dulcimer.