DEAR SUN SPOTS: Do you have people in your Rolodex who dog-sit in the Auburn area? We are hoping to travel this spring and would like to leave our two dogs in good hands. We hope to interview people in February.

— Janice and James, Auburn

ANSWER: Readers, please recommend your favorite dog-sitters and include contact information. If you are a dog-sitter, please let me know.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am looking for professional people who can help distribute my possessions, furniture and everything else in my apartment upon my future demise. I am healthy and plan to live many more years, but when the time comes I will have no one capable of cleaning out my apartment and distributing my things to people in need. I have looked in the Yellow Pages of the phone book and have asked countless friends and no one has heard of such available professionals. Can you help?

— Lizette, no town

ANSWER: You are smart to be thinking of this, especially if you have no heirs or friends to take on the task. You can appoint someone to be your power of attorney ahead of time so they can make these arrangements for you before you die, but it really would be best to have a plan in place and in writing that you have control over while you are still here and healthy and able to make decisions. You can specify what organizations you want your belongings, or the funds from selling the belongings, to go to. Some of these organizations may have staff or volunteers who will arrange pickup when the time comes.

There are organizations that can help you evaluate your situation and assist you with what you need. Before your death or when you move into a care facility, (if that happens) you may want to consider hiring someone to organize an estate sale at a later date. You can allocate funds ahead of time to pay for the service so it’s all taken care of. These companies organize and manage what is to be done with a person’s belongings over time or simply perform a whole-house clean-out after you have died.

One such recommended business is Caring Transitions of Coastal Maine (, in Lisbon (218-5197). They have many contacts and can come to your home and meet with you. To find out more, go to

There are many things you can do now to be proactive. Keeping a simple notebook for planning what you want to have happen in your later years is a first step. There are many books on the subject to help you on your journey as you think about what will become of your possessions. I gently advise people to do what you can to downsize now. The majority of us have so much stuff and I can speak from experience, getting rid of things you no longer need or want can be extremely freeing and allow room in your life for more important things like traveling, emotional growth and creativity.

I highly recommend the book, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family,” by Margareta Magnusson.

If readers have other recommendations, please write.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].



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