I had never even thought this. Then it happened....sorta.
We were living two doors down from my grandparents, the people who raised me. We were renting a furnished house. All we had in it were our clothes, computers, books and photographs. Everything else, our family antiques, my appliances, including my beloved 1945 gas Chambers kitchen range, our skis, motorcycle gear, childhood toys, etc., etc., etc. were stored in my grandparents garage.
Now, calling it a garage is a bit of a misnomer. This building, well...it was huge. Room for four cars, plus a morgue, a greenhouse, and two rooms for storage....one was about 30x15, the other 20x45. HUGE!!!!!!! The property has been my family's forever, it seems. It was originally a carriage house, then it was my great-grandfather's repair center and store for appliances, then my grandfather added the morgue when he became an undertaker. So, anyway, after 80-odd years of squirreling away family treasures and random junk, this place was packed full.
In the spring, a ten year old kid bragged at school that he was going to set things on fire. Nobody did anything. We only learned it after the fact. Right around the time all the kids were walking home, the little (#*$#(*# set the back of the garage on fire, all for the sheer joy of it.
It basically burnt to the ground.
After inventory-ing everything imaginable, from remnants or memory, we had an Excel spreadsheet longer than Santa's list. It was nuts. Eventually, we got a check from the insurance company for the DEPRECIATED AMOUNT only.
Well, guess what? It was sad, it was very very bad. That building was more important to my grandfather than his house. He spent every waking moment out there. It was his haven away from my wonderful, but oft-miserable grandmother.
But, now, he has a really great new building, built well and with all the gadgets that he can use, and none of the crap he doesn't need.
Personally, we made out like bandits. We paid off our debt. We bought a new (used) W/D, new (used) skis and gear, and replaced a few other things that were actually important.
But, we learned a BIG, BIG lesson. We are still in the process of downsizing the things we have left. No woman needs over 100 pairs of shoes.
: I'm down around 20 pairs now and still am unloading. The clothes I don't wear? GO! The random kitchen accessories? GO! The books I won't read again? GO! The cheap toys we're given? GO! If we don't LOVE it and USE it, it goes. We have a couple of random knick-knacks, maybe ten total. They were my now-passed FIL's and greatgrandmother's.
We are much happier for it and it was an immense lesson for us. A very unfortunate event with many great side effects.
(Oh...and kimmie, we used to wish a couple of our cars were burn or be stolen. It would have been a blessing.)