What happens to your flute collection?
I’ve seen my flute collection grow tremendously over the years that I’ve been playing the Native American flute. It doesn’t just stop at Native flutes, though, I now have flutes from all over the world in my collection. Like you, my collection started with just one flute, then I somehow had seven, then more and more... Well, you know how it goes!
I know how to identify flute makers, the symbols and signs to look for, what key and tuning it is and roughly how much it’s worth based on market value. I have a mental picture and index of all my flutes in my head, but I realized that no one else in my family knows this.
My wife, Maria, and I have started the conversation no one really likes to have.
The conversation of what to do when I’m gone.
While it’s not a fun conversation to have, it is a crucial one. I often see children and family members in complete overwhelm as they struggle to deal with all the "stuff" a parent or family member leaves behind–especially when that person hasn’t kept a record of anything.
This goes beyond just having a will. It’s having a plan and documentation of your things. We may know how valuable flutes can be, but our family members look at these wooden flutes and may think that they are only about $50 each. While I have flutes in my collection that are worth $50, I have many that are worth much more!
The last thing I would want my family to deal with is someone trying to swindle a very valuable flute collection, or having my family give up and just donate my flutes to a thrift store. It is my job to put a plan into place for what happens to my flutes when I’m gone, just like it’s your job to do that with yours!
I was inspired by one of my flute friends, Jeanne Lyle, who has a binder of her flute collection with all the facts and figures written down for each flute. So, I created a template that you can download as a starting point. There are four beautiful designs to choose from.
Click on each one to open that specific design, then you'll want to either print from the browser or save to your computer!
Each design features a beautiful cover and one index sheet, which you can print off as many as you'd like!
Take an afternoon to fill out one form per flute and take a photo of each flute. Just having a list of flutes won’t help your family identify flutes as much as having a photo of exact flutes. Getting photos printed can seem like an old-school method these days, but Walgreens and Shutterfly are two companies that make it pretty seamless to get photos from your smartphone to print. If you’re looking for local pickup, I would choose Walgreens. If you’re looking to have pictures mailed to you, then I would choose Shutterfly.
Some supplies that I’d recommend?
- A 1” or larger presentation binder (Presentation binders have a clear pocket on the front for a sheet of paper/photo.)
- Sheet protectors (These will work better than just hole-punching the paper. You may have receipts or other notes that you want to keep with a certain flute.)
- Download one of four cover designs, or make your own!
- Print off as many index sheets as needed (and some extras because we know you’ll be adding more flutes to your collection!)
Another benefit of doing this is having good records in case you want to sell or trade one or more of your flutes. You'll be equipped with all the details to make a deal.
Beyond just creating this index of your flute collection, it’s a good idea to figure out what you’d like to happen to your flute collection and let your family and/or lawyer know.
I realize this isn’t a necessarily fun thing to do with your flute(s), but it’s a very responsible measure to help ensure your wishes are respected and your loved ones are prepared.
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