DeCluttering For the Next Phase in Life

Self-care is the latest buzzword but it is oh, so much more than a buzzword! It is really important to focus on yourself first, this is not selfish, it is lifesaving. Apply the longtime airline preparation phrase to your own life “Put your oxygen mask on before helping anyone else.”.  “You can’t help anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself.” If you have heard these phrases a lot lately it’s time to act.

How can you focus on self-care in your own life, especially if you are new to self-care?

Self-care starts with taking care of you, becoming ultra-aware of situations that upset you, understanding you have choices and then choosing the less stressful path for you.  Conduct your life in a way that will provide you with the most peace; good “time-choices” and planning ahead will help you.   Let’s say you want to start DeCluttering your home for a move. Imagine if you started DeCluttering today and that today was 3 months before your scheduled move.  Your stress level should be much lower than if you chose to, instead, wait until the week of your move.  That’s taking care of yourself.  You reduce your stress in an already high-stress-level event by utilizing the extra time you have given yourself to prepare for your move.  An hour here and 4 hours there, months in advance, will impact your move in a positive manner.

Self-care includes having awareness of your stressors. Become aware and look out for your stressors and minimize them as much as you can.  Your stressors might be very different from someone else’s stressors.  Events that don’t bother you at all could be huge triggers for someone else and vice versa, the secret here is being able to identify your own triggers and limit your exposure to them.

My best piece of stress reducing advice is to look at your time-choices, plan out as much of your calendar as you are able, to include hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly planning.  Make time-choices your friend. Create awareness of your stressors and triggers and avoid or deal with them without delay.

Let me know how these work for you.

Daily At A Glance

I was a guest on Mia Moran’s Plan Simple Meals Podcast https://plansimplemeals.podbean.com/ and introduced to her audience the value of a handwritten, permanent daily schedule to manage time-choices.   I first created this when I started a new job within my family’s company and have taken it forward to all other career paths.  I was the Accounts Payable Manager and paying things before their due date sometimes came with the reward of a discount and boy those discounts would add up quickly so I wanted to take advantage of every single one.  In addition, I did not want money walking out the door in the form of unnecessary late fees or finance charges or both!!  So, I made up an index card listing “permanently recurring” items I needed to get done each day before the end of the day and before I tackled any emergencies or focused on any other dynamic work.

The concept is simple:  in your own handwriting record the daily, recurring weekly items you must accomplish. These are “permanent” items, they don’t change from week to week, month to month. For example areas you need to DeClutter, monthly bills-car payment, electric bill, mortgage, calls you need to make-fuel delivery, mom, things you need to do-send out birthday cards, order groceries for delivery, schedule appointments.  I find when I put these items in my phone’s calendar, I tend to ignore them and the alarm reminders I have set.  Somehow, I get it done when it’s written down, perhaps because it’s attached to my desk, so I have to deal with the permanently recurring items immediately before I walk out the door.

These are small items that weigh on your mind even though they are reoccurring.  They tug at your memory demanding you remember them.  Well, what if you took that tugging away from your brain because it’s written in front of you?  The one thing you need to get used to is looking at that sheet of paper every day.  It starts your day, you do those things first and then move on to your priority for the day.

This practice will change the way you look at your time-choices while giving you a sense of support and accomplishment.  I’ll attach my Daily at A Glance form to get you started: download it, fill it out and start tomorrow.  OR, create one that works best for you.  Let me know the positive changes that occur.

Download the form here:   DAILY AT A GLANCE

Throwing GUILT, oh my!  We can all probably say we’ve thrown a little guilt at one time or another!  Here’s the thing about guilt, it makes the guilt-delivering-person and the guilt-receiving-person feel bad. Not wanting to Move-Family-Treasures-Guilt is the pain of not wanting to let go and hoping that others feel the same way about your treasures as you do OR you will try to make them feel the same way and that does NOT work!

Mostly, it’s elder parents who downsize before their adult children downsize and want the adult children to take all the “stuff” they have collected from ancestors before them.  Many years earlier the elder parents accepted their own parent’s treasures because, during that particular period of time, things generally were A. well made, B. cost a fortune and C. it was understood those treasures were intended to be passed down.  So, we have Baby Boomers holding on to their grandparent’s possessions and now they are the ones looking to downsize and give the items they no longer want or need to their children.  Guess what?  The grandchildren, in general, don’t want those family treasures.  They have purchased or rented furniture that is contemporary, sleek and light in many cases: heavy, brown furniture does not fit into their lifestyle.

Many adult grandchildren move frequently and change jobs just as frequently, they are not “Company Lifers” and I don’t mean that “Lifers” is a bad term, it just doesn’t seem to apply lately.  They tend to rent more than own and the dwellings they rent are smaller and cannot fit the large profile furniture of their grandparents.  Their color schemes are different than the muted greens, browns, oranges of their grandparents and frankly, you can buy a new piece of furniture in the color you want cheaper than if you take something to be re-upholstered in a new color/pattern.  AND, the fabrics are different now, a big one being they can be sun and stain resistant, something their grandparents didn’t have incorporated into their furniture.

Trinkets, novelties, figurine collectibles are not so desirable to the adult grandchildren.  They have no space and many former family treasures have no meaning to them.  They, smartly, prefer to have less to dust and keep clean!!  Good for them, let’s join them and get rid of that Not-Moving-Family-Treasure-Guilt!  Contact me for help moving and sign up on this home page for my newsletter.

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.