DeCluttering For the Next Phase in Life

The key to DeCluttering is to create a Habit of DeCluttering. And one of the keys to adopting the Habit of DeCluttering is to understand where your cluttering or DeCluttering Habits first started so you can adjust the bad habits into new, positive DeCluttering Habits.

What is your earliest memory of a DeCluttering Habit or lack of a DeCluttering Habit?  Was your earliest memory of cluttering and DeCluttering before you were a teenager?  Take a minute to return to your 15 year old self, what were your DeCluttering Habits?  Did you have any that you had observed and adopted or were told to do?  Were they related to just your space or to your home and if you had a yard to your yard? Now think about your 25-year-old self, what did those DeCluttering Habits look like during that period of your life?  Were they different from your 10-year-old, 15-year-old or 25-year-old habits? When did the Habit of DeCluttering change? What are the DeCluttering habits you would like to keep?  Which habits do you want to release?

I have found a person’s DeCluttering Habits are established early and are only changed by a shift in perspective or a dramatic incident.  Many times it’s a tragic, life-altering event, it can also be as simple as someone showing you that another way to present yourself to the world works better than the current way.

To start your DeCluttering journey examine when those Habits of cluttering and DeCluttering first appeared and what caused them.  Then observe how they have changed, or not, over the years. Thirdly, decide which habits would best serve you going forward in your life and make those changes. Believe that you can make a small change right this minute, you can.  I believe in you.

Great Grandma’s China
One of the most angst producing items to get rid of in a home is the family’s set of china. The most expensive bone china was almost a given on all bridal registries and part of the wedding experience was planning a day to meet at the bridal registry at a favorite department store. Now, it stays stacked in piles in a breakfront or on shelves in the basement or packed away in a storage unit.
The sad thing is, right now not many people are interested in grandma’s china therefore it’s very hard to sell china. Unfortunately, those expensive, beautiful pieces of artwork that someone used to crave to be added to their wedding gift registry are out of style. Think of all the familiar manufacturers of china: Noritake, Lenox, Royal Dalton and Mikasa to name a few. There are also grades of china: fine bone china, porcelain, ceramic and earthenware/stoneware.
I suggest getting rid of the heavy dinnerware and use the bone china! Bone china is very durable and tends not to chip like other forms of dinnerware. China is lightweight and easier to handle as we get older. It’s thin and a lot of plates can be stacked in one cabinet.
Speaking of a lot of plates, think about how many you actually need. If you no longer host all the family dinner parties why not keep only the amount that you need for 6 days of meals? Keeping only 6 sets of dinnerware also allows for visiting company.
Try to find an organization who could use the extra dinnerware, think outside the box, ask around to different organizations, you will be surprised which organizations will take them.
Use the fine china, you deserve it!

I want you to understand the gravity of how quickly your situation can change. This is such an important concept that I am writing about it again, 2 years after my first post on the subject of personal control over your items and the importance of DeCluttering while you are still in charge of your faculties and your life.

Mary and Bill were living in their colonial home in a remote section of their town. Living with them were their Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and their wheelchair accessible van that they needed to get around town.  Their daughter lived 2 hours away and was bedridden, pregnant with her first child.

Colonials traditionally have a small half bath on the first floor and a steep staircase to get to the bedrooms and larger, full-size bathrooms. Mary was in a wheelchair because of some difficulty walking and it had been determined that she should go to a rehabilitation facility to gain back some physical strength.  At the same time, her husband Bill was moved to a different facility in a different town in order for him to regain strength lost after an illness.  They were both headed towards release from their perspective rehabilitation facilities and they decided it was time to move to a permanent home in an assisted living center which would entail moving to a third location.  Mary called me to see if we could facilitate that move to that third facility and coordinate with their CNA’s.

We set up a meeting so I could I meet with the 2 CNA’s to understand what Mary and Bill would need.  Mary had told me over the phone items she would need in their now very small one-bedroom apartment at their new home, but all other decisions were up to the CNA’s and they went back and forth as to which items should be taken to the new place.  They tried their best and I waited patiently for them to decide.

An issue came up while we were trying to get their possessions moved: I couldn’t get in contact with their head CNA, phone calls were made by me but never returned to me until a family member let me know that the CNA had been admitted to the hospital themselves!!  When we went to move the items that had been chosen we were told some of them were staying at the house and some new items were being taken to the new place.  We got the new items loaded up, unloaded at the new home and I set up their apartment in anticipation of Mary and Bill’s arrival the next day which was Thursday.  Friday, I got a call that Bill had died.

Months later I was giving a DeCluttering presentation at Mary’s new home and Mary attended. She wanted others to know what she had been through on her journey to her new one-bedroom home and recounted her story to all in attendance.  She wanted everyone to know she had zero say in what was taken to her new home, her nurse companion made those decisions for her and Bill and neither of them ever returned to their former home.  Mary said to listen to Deirdre, get rid of items while you are in charge.

I hope you will heed what Mary said and contact me if you need help onsite or from a distance.  www.DeClutterByDeirdre.com

Wasting Away

Growing up most of us are taught not to waste anything because there are people starving, that people would love to have what we have so be sure you don’t waste it.  I remember the nuns saying don’t waste your food there are people starving and some classmate would say under his/her breath “then why don’t we send it to them”, GREAT idea and this concept of sending things we don’t use to someone who could use it is most easily translated to our “stuff”.

I work with people who possess an overabundance of “stuff” and when I ask them why they keep so many pieces of a certain item, many times, I’m met with a shrug and “I don’t know”.  I encounter tens and tens of collared knit shirts, tens of multiples of tens of T-shirts (I might go so far as to say hundreds of T-shirts) and lots and lots of black pants.  People don’t know what to do with these item s and they don’t want to be wasteful, so they don’t deal with the overabundance of items they possess.

What if we looked at being wasteful in a different context?  What would you say if I said to you these items are being wasted because they are shoved into the back of your drawer or closet and NO ONE is using them, and they are wasting away when they could be put to good use by someone else.

I know that if I find T-shirts stuffed into the bottom of your hall closet you are wasting them.  I know that if I find collared knit shirts hanging in your laundry room covered in dust you are wasting them.  I know that if I find boxes of socks in the basement covered in mouse poop you are wasting them.  I know that if I find a total of 270 shirts in your home in various rooms that 240 of them are being wasted.  I know that if I find cans of tomato paste, vegetables, tuna fish, or any food item, past their expiration date they are being wasted.

Your money is being wasted.  If you stopped buying excess what could you do with that wasted money?  Would your bank account have a positive number?  Would you be able to go out for a beautiful meal once a month? Would you feel better because you contributed to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter?  Would you be able to volunteer somewhere with the hours not wasted buying items you don’t need?

Be conscious of your spending, donate what you can, enjoy experiences.

Stop Waste NOW.  You can do it!

Re-Connect Movement
My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and asked our family not to tell anyone. That was a really challenging request because when I speak to family and friends they always ask how I am and I couldn’t tell them the truth that my heart was breaking, I didn’t know what to do and I needed their comforting words. I got the blues, I turned inward and became isolated because it was too hard to tell people I’m fine, my family is fine, everything is fine.

In my work as a Move Manager, DeClutterer, Organizer I see people who also are disconnected from family/friends/life, have the blues, who cling to items out of a sense of loss, people who assign the soul of those who have died or left to things and I get it. I see them unable to make a decision for themselves because they have decided to protect themselves and this is the only way they know how.


Our clients have a lot of fear of the unknown, they have experienced loss: divorce, death, illness, loss of a career, loss of home, loss of friends, trauma, full-time care of a child or family member, loss of money all of which can translate into fear and many times there is no one with them taking the journey. I always ask my clients “Who is your support”? Many times, it’s me and the lovely, trustworthy, caring people who work with me. 


My thought was, I see the disconnect in my life and those I work with, how can I change that? How can I help myself and others to be more connected? I came up with the Re-Connect Movement.


I thought about how speaking live, either on the phone or in person, to someone could change my hour, my day, my week and my life. I thought about how just the act of reaching out could show me courage and open paths to uplifting emotions and clearer emotions then I thought about how this could impact my clients and others to help them declutter those areas in their lives they were hanging on to.
Please, join me.

It’s important to keep current with expiration dates on food. Do some of your spice containers look like the containers of your youth? Do you have fond memories of your grandparents or parents using those same spice containers? If yes, throw them away! Branding experts change packaging about every 10 years, even a slight change so if your cabinet contains 3 package iterations of the same item, toss the older versions. Without expiration dates on jars and cans it’s difficult to decide if the product inside is still safe, if your jars or cans have NO expiration date, take a good look and if you feel at all uneasy do not take a chance eating from them. Best practice is to make sure canned and jarred goods in your cabinets are not beyond their expiration date stamped on them. Try to take a look at expiration dates once a year, especially canned goods.

Here is what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says about expiration dates on food: “With the exception of infant formula, the laws that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administers do not preclude the sale of food that is past the expiration date indicated on the label. FDA does not require food firms to place “expired by”, “use by” or “best before” dates on food products. This information is entirely at the discretion of the manufacturer.

A principle of U.S. food law is that foods in U.S. commerce must be wholesome and fit for consumption. A “best by”, “use by” or expiration date does not relieve a firm from this obligation. A product that is dangerous to consumers would be subject to potential action by FDA to remove it from commerce regardless of any date printed on a label.”

People tend to place spices in the cabinet above the stove but as we age it gets harder to lift our arms that high and they get forgotten. Place herbs and spices lower so they are easily reached.

Be aware and stay healthy!

The Art of Living Lost: Deirdre De-Clutters
JUNE 1, 2017 BY THE ART OF LIVING LOST

I have a friend who “declutters” for a living; it doesn’t matter if you are a downsizing senior or an inefficient professional, she’s the master of re-organization.

I on the other hand am a recycler; I see the beauty in almost everything. I’m not just a saver of stuff per se but more of a sentimental connoisseur. So this week, while strung out on DayQuil, I decided to declutter my home and, in doing so, I unwittingly decluttered my mind and spirit. Let me explain.

Some say we have 50, 60 or 70+ THOUSAND thoughts a day, looking at my chaos, I wondered how many brain cells I’d burned subconsciously thinking about the crap that physically surrounded me? Items evoking the powers of fear, anger, disdain and embarrassment were all resting in my kitchen cabinets. I found stupidity, failure and gas pains lurking in my pantry. My bathroom was awash with the scents of first dates, success and bitchiness. I wondered, where did sexy go?

Rummaging and discarding; physically crushing and crashing my past, I simply felt lighter.

And with the lightness came clarity and joy.

Week after week I share stories about my every day, and sometimes, not so everyday, life.

I’ve asked you to look up and out; this week I am challenging you to take a look inside.

Inside your cabinets, your home, your office and your life. What’s lurking in plain sight that can be crushed, crashed and discarded? Think about it…

Until next week,

XXOO

http://www.theartoflivinglost.com/the-art-of-living-lost-deirdre-de-clutters/#more-2458

  1. Start early, earlier than you think, especially if you have a deadline. This should help relieve some stress. Clutter is created by postponing decisions.If you are storing items for others, set a date in the very near future for them to pick them up.  It might be emotional for them and they might push the date out so start early then set a date you will get rid of the items.
  2. Try to understand why, how and when the clutter started piling up. Try to be very honest and easy on yourself.
  3. When you get a postcard in the mail that a donation truck will be in the area schedule a pickup and promise yourself to leave them at least 3 large garbage bags worth of donations
  4. Do not accept items that you do not want from family members out of guilt.  Thank them for thinking of you and ask them to pass that item on to someone else
  5. Write down the stories associated with your family’s possessions and attach to the item if you are planning on passing them onto the next generation.  Sometimes just writing the story helps you release the item for someone else to enjoy.
  6. Ensure that all of your personal paperwork is in order, do not wait to do this: Wills, Living Wills, Health Care Directive, etc.
  7. Donate clothes that no longer serve your station in life or clothes that no longer fit or are dated.
  8. Look at donations from DeCluttering as helping someone who could use your extra items to improve their life.
  9. If you are overwhelmed by your DeCluttering task ASK FOR HELP, it’s hard work physically and emotionally.

Please sign up for my newsletter and to receive additional tips at www.DeClutterByDeirdre.com

DeClutter By Deirdre, A Senior Move Management Company

Connecticut Post Article: http://www.ctpost.com/news/slideshow/10-things-you-can-do-to-declutter-your-life-146527.php

DeClutter By Deirdre is committed to assisting people & their families who struggle with where to start and complete de-cluttering their homes so they can de-stress and enjoy a full life without extra burdens they could not previously tackle on their own. People who are ready to take control of all they can in their lives and develop solid systems that allow them to step away from items and stresses that no longer serve them and to enjoy the company of others and have the leisure time to pursue family time, interests and hobbies. Remodeled/organized spaces reduce the mental burden of clutter, allow easier movement about the house when physical challenges present themselves or changes to the home have to be made to allow those individuals who will be aging in place to stay in their own home. Donation to local charities is a major focus, help those in our communities so they can grow and change the world in a positive manner!

Deirdre is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, Coalition of Agencies Relating to Elderly Services, Connecticut Geriatric Society, Senior Care Resources of Western Connecticut and Treasurer for Friends of Newtown Seniors.