DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away in early 2014. I haven't been able to get rid of or give away any of his stuff. He was a successful structural engineer with licenses in 12 states. He liked to go hiking every weekend "to clear his head." He has a collection of souvenir small metal buildings and ashtrays of civil or structural significance.
Abby, I'm just not sure how to start to move on. Granted, I'm no spring chicken -- I just turned 70 -- but it would be sweet to find another partner. To do that, I know I've got to lose the stuff. Maybe writing to you is helping me to sort it out. I would appreciate knowing your thoughts on the subject. -- SORTING THINGS OUT IN FLORIDA
DEAR SORTING THINGS OUT: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your husband. No one can dictate when a widow or widower should start donating their deceased spouse's belongings. Grieving is an individual process, and the timing isn't the same for everyone. This project doesn't have to be done all at once.
Now that you are ready, contact a thrift store and ask what items they would welcome. The collection of souvenirs may or may not be valuable. An appraiser could help you to determine that. If your husband belonged to any organizations affiliated with his career, contact them to see if any of the members would be interested in acquiring it.
As to finding another partner, the solution is to make it your business to mingle, be social and scope out dating sites for seniors. If you need help, have a single friend or relative help you put together a profile and show you the ropes so you can do it safely.