Conversation around the dinner table at a recent business meeting went something like this after Kandy & I shared a little bit about our business of assisting older folks and their families in sorting through, donating, consigning, packing and unpacking their belongings when they transition to either aging-in-place or to a different living situation:
“Thankfully, my parents have already moved twice so they have downsized their belongings quite a bit.”
“My parents passed away a few years ago and my sister and I spent many weekends going through their things. What a big, time-consuming job that was.”
“I shudder to think about cleaning my parents’ house out when the time comes.”
Can you identify with the sentiments of these Baby Boomer children of seniors? Or are you a senior who hopes your children don’t ever have the same feelings about your home and its contents?
Many of us realize we have too much stuff, but just don’t know where to start to begin sorting and organizing. It’s the starting that keeps us from freeing ourselves of stuff that we don’t really need or enjoy and from enjoying the things we do.
Marie Kondo, in her recent best seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, proposes that until we complete the exercise of discarding, we will not be able to organize our surroundings. This theory seems to make a lot of sense to us. You can shove items into a box or a closet so a room looks neat. However, when you open the box or closet at some later date, disorganization will rear its ugly head and you will find it staring you in the face once more. You can’t be free of all the clutter until you resolve to face it head on and deal with it!
Clutter comes in many forms & some of the most prevalent sources we have found are:
Does paper seem to multiply over night in your house like it does in ours? After you have eliminated the excess paper already in your home, you may want to set a time each week (make an appointment with yourself) to tackle paper. Did you know that many of the paper mailers we receive are recyclable, as are newspapers.
Also, in general, you do not need to keep monthly invoices for household bills or cancelled checks since most businesses and banks will supply copies when needed; you may even be able to access your records online. Your SmartPhone may come in handy for photographing any paper you may want a copy of and storage on the Cloud eliminates the need for a physical copy.
You are probably thinking they have gone from preaching to meddling now, but we book lovers have a tendency to keep books long past their relevance to our lives. We can think of very few books we have read more than once over our lifetime, so what are we keeping them for? Many retirement communities, libraries, schools, churches, etc., are on the lookout for good books. Several charities will accept them as well. Think of the joy your books may bring to someone who hasn’t read them already.
THINGS YOU ARE SAVING IN CASE YOU EVER NEED THEM
For lots of those things, someday never comes, yet we hold on to these items that are taking up valuable space in our home, garage, basement, storage shed, storage unit, etc., daring anyone to pry them from our hands.
Perhaps we don’t want to appear to be wasteful or we may have a sentimental attachment to certain things.
Evaluate the likelihood of ever needing items again and begin the process of freeing yourself from those that have very little chance of being used by you, by discarding or donating. What you are holding onto in the event you might use it one day, quite possibly could be used and enjoyed by someone else today!
Often, the process of decluttering and reorganizing can seem overwhelming, but taken in small chunks may become manageable.
We would be interested in hearing your tips too. If you just can’t get started or decide you would like help in getting a handle on your stuff, give us a call. We would love to help you enjoy the things that you truly cherish.