When you think of home, what comes to mind? It may be the place we go every night and wake in the morning. Or it is where we spent our childhood with our family. For others, it is where multiple generations have lived. Often our idea of home consists of time, place and people blending together to bring about feelings of peace and comfort. From the youngest couple, getting their first place together. To the couple celebrating for 60th anniversary. We all work to create an ideal environment. Often with dreams of it being the place in which we can relax and be comfy for the remainder of life. Somehow though, all too often, our dream can turn a little scary.
A familiar topic conversation among my middle-aged friends is the onslaught of stuff in their home. A, heretofore, unnoticed collection of stuff which seemed to grow until not one more artifact of our existence could be fit into a usual ‘hiding’ place. Our homes, like our lives, can easily be overrun when we are not proactive caretakers. Too often we reach and age at which home maintenance and stuff management becomes difficult. It is then, that we begin to consider the overwhelming task of going through our stuff and deciding what to do with it.
Why not start now? There are some real benefits to saying farewell and passing your treasures to a new owner.
- Action taken today, won’t require action tomorrow.
- The recipient’s life will be enriched. Whether a barely worn coat, or a family heirloom, gifting an article to someone who either needs or cherishes it, will brighten their day and make a difference in their life.
- A side benefit, which does still exist, are tax deductions for charitable gifting.
- As sad as it may be, disagreement over personal articles of the departed cause many family rifts. Listing them in the TPPM (Write It Down! Posted 9/21/2017) greatly lessens the risk of this happening. But personally handing it to a new owner accentuates the gift with a special memory.
- There are positive emotional benefits for decluttering your home and life.
Don’t know where to begin? Well, this is Steps For Today….
- Set your expectations for success. Like the bonsai tree, our home and life requires a little pruning from time-to-time. And like the bonsai tree enthusiast, we should have a vision of what the perfect tree looks like before we start trimming. In an earlier post (What’s the Plan 11/7/2017) you were encouraged to envision life in retirement. I’ll bet that vision doesn’t include about 95% of the items squirreled away in boxes within the deepest recesses of your home, or, God forbid,….storage locker!
- Make it easy. In our home, we keep a box near the front door for items to donate to charity. This makes snap judgements easier to accomplish because there is already a place for gifts.
- What’s in Box #1? If you don’t know where to start, just pick a box and start making decisions. The point is not ‘everything musts go’. But rather ‘Do I need this? Or might it be time for someone else to enjoy it?’ It may be best to just set a goal; maybe one box, closet, shelf, or area a month. But stick with it.
- Take a picture. Few are blessed with a perfect memory. Often we hang on to an old article because it reminds us of a great experience or time with those we love. Try taking a picture of the article before passing it on. A picture on the wall, in a book, or online will most likely bring those memories forward way more often than an article in a box in the back of the closet.
- Have those difficult discussions with your adult children about personal belongings in which they show interest. One of the last things my mother did before she passed, was to personally pass on her jewelry. I believe that doing so in person made the exchange more precious than the items. And in doing it personally, she minimized the conflicts which may have ensued if multiple people cherished the same item.
I hope that’s enough to get started. Don’t wait too late to get started. Or someday all that stuff will just pop up out of nowhere and surprise you. Trust me, you’ll feel a sense of relief with each item that makes its way to a new home.
Thanks for reading.
Please like and share with those who are struggling with these issues.
And remember to take the next step.