DeCluttering For the Next Phase in Life

Every home is a dream of its owner

If you’re a Baby Boomer, or older, your dream was to own your home.  Owning a home meant so much! 

It meant you were mature, and you could take care of yourself, 

It was a symbol of coming into your own,

That you were serious about a long-term relationship,

That you were ready to settle down and have children,

That you were committed to your job and wouldn’t be looking elsewhere for work.

You lovingly filled it with items you were given by friends and family, mostly big, brown furniture.  You cleaned it at least weekly and took pride in that.  It was “sparse”, but it was yours. 

Now, after the trials and tribulations life has thrown it’s looking a little not-so-clean.  The rooms are bursting with items collected but never passed on to those in need.  Most of your children or grandchildren are not so interested in the brown furniture and all the other treasures you hold.  It’s hard to maneuver around all the furniture and collections with a walker or wheelchair. Your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, and the unseen dust bunnies are gathered in the corner.  Suddenly, your dream is a nightmare and a burden. 

You can change that!  Get someone to help you whether you hire a team of people like we have at DeClutter By Deirdre or family and friends. In an afternoon your dream home will be changed for the better! You will feel lighter and that pride of home ownership will creep back in.

Imagine having friends and family over for dinner (that they bring, of course),

Imagine having more lighting in your home so you can see in dark corners,

Imagine furniture being weeded out so you can walk safely,

Imagine regaining pride in your dream home!

Contact me at DeClutterByDeirdre@gmail.com, we will resurrect that dream.

My client’s mom said as she was going through her items: “I have no idea why I bought so many of the same items when I don’t remember having bought them”.

Has that happened to you?

Are you even aware of this type of purchasing behavior?

This comment was a result of our DeClutterer realizing that she had over purchased slips throughout the years.  Instead of culling through and getting rid of the ones that no longer fit, had dried out elastic waistbands and were discolored from years of washing she pushed them to the back of the drawer.  Now, she was rightsizing her home, getting rid of the larger home 2 to 3 hours away from her daughter (depending on traffic) and she needed to downsize her prized possessions and necessities.

Mindless spending and purchasing happen to all of us at some point.  We don’t want to run out of an item or we know we have an event coming up but the fear of looking for and trying on that item tells our brain we need to buy another one and perhaps another one, “just in case”.  OR, we’ve been lulled into a purchase via the advertising of BOGO, buy one get one free.  There is no freedom if it’s taking up space in your closet or drawer or mind!

Take inventory before you purchase something that might be hidden in a drawer, try it on, look for signs of wear or age and get rid of it BEFORE purchasing one to replace it.  You might not need to spend money at all!

Take a quick peek at my website www.DeClutterByDeirdre.com for more.

You know, the one with your spouse and household family members about bringing your aging parent to live in your/their home.  Take a deep breath before you do this then understand as much as you can about what you are agreeing to.

This should not be a quick decision.  Talk to your family to get their opinion.  A lot of times family members will allow you to do what you want because it takes the burden off them.  Perhaps think about why they are allowing you to do this (and not them) and clearly understand their reasons because they are valid and perhaps you should consider them before making your decision as well.

This should not be done alone. You need support and will need to take breaks so set that up now.  Hire someone to relieve you daily.  There are many resources available both for free and pay.  Don’t wait until you are at the breaking point to get help, set that up at before your loved one comes to your home.

Talk to healthcare professionals treating your loved one.  Healthcare professionals have a clear understanding of your loved one’s health and what is required to attend to their needs.  These needs might not be something you ever anticipated as health deteriorates.  Physical and mental status changes come with their own challenges.

Preparation is essential.  Look at your home with an eye to the future.  Is there a 3-foot radius between furniture that a wheelchair could maneuver around?  Do you have stairs that will require a chair lift, budget for this now?  What about getting into the home, are there stairs, do you need to get a ramp?  Are there grab bars strategically placed in the bathroom? Are weapons accessible? and I don’t just mean guns, I mean items that can be used as weapons against you or someone else.

Communication is key.  Not only between you, your spouse, siblings, and family members but their extended network as well.  A quick conversation to the extended family will go a long way when your spouses’ family understands your spouse agreed to this arrangement and there’s no need for judgment.

Draw a line in the sand. Plan now as to when you will hand over care to someone else.  When the caregiving affects your family, your work, your mental and/or physical health.  When certain traits begin to show in your loved one. When certain equipment needs to be used for care. When friends and family tell you it’s time to make changes, you agree to listen to them.

This is doable!

Make it as easy as possible as soon as possible so your time together is pleasant and as stress reduced as it can be.

You won’t regret taking care of your loved one.

 

Imagine this…you recently purchased a new home and are moving out of your 5th-floor apartment.  You are excited to move to your new home because it means you have rightsized for your current life and it’s a little bit easier for you to see family and friends.

You’ve already washed all your new-to-you cabinets, drawers and bathrooms.  You’ve washed and polished the floors and had someone come in to professionally clean the rugs.  You’ve put your dishes, glasses, towels in their proper place.  You’ve got a small chair that fit in your car for you to sit on and you’ve taken all of the manageable pieces already.  You see your signature style popping through in your new dwelling.

You contact a “mover” to take everything out of your 5th-floor dwelling to your new home.  The “movers” arrive on time, 9 am sharp!  They hang the wall protectors on the elevator walls and head up to take your items to the truck.  This is the first time they’ve been to your home to see what you will be moving.  First up, the sleeper sofa.  They carry the sleeper to the elevator, remove the drop ceiling so it fits and…it doesn’t fit.  Now what?  The only way it’s getting downstairs to the truck is if they carry it.  Well, they decide there is no way they are going to carry it down 5 flights of stairs, so they leave.  No “goodbye”, no “we are sorry”, no “we will send someone else to handle it”.

This happened to someone my husband spoke to last week.  The person who was moving looked up help for moving, got a name, chatted on the phone, got a “good” price and set up a move date.  No one came to preview the job.  No contract, no deposit, no guarantee.  Therefore, the “movers” were able to walk away without a word or second glance when moving the furniture presented the slightest challenge.

Look out for yourself, especially during a high-stress time in your life (regardless if you are happy or not about your move).  Find out if the company is registered in your state.  Get a contract that lays out all of the rules, what you are obligated to do and what the mover is obligated to do.  Movers are highly regulated and if the price you get is significantly lower than a legitimate company, investigate the reason why.  Do not leave things to chance and take their word, I’m sorry to say that doesn’t work anymore.  Believe me, I know things happen and vendors might not be able to help you with what you need to accomplish in the end but at least they would tell you they were leaving and explain how they couldn’t fulfill their agreement.

Avoid stress, make sure they are legitimate so you don’t get caught in a debacle, create a peaceful life and contact me for tips on moving.

 

Are you storing obsolete technology equipment in your attic or basement?  If yes, you could be holding onto treasure or space grabbing junk!

It’s so funny to hear that saying that everything comes into vogue again in relationship to technology and it’s hard to believe in our fast-paced world of technology that it would apply but it sometimes does.  There are some people who like and miss the sound of the keyboards from the 80’s and they will pay for those keyboards, not many, but they are there if you wait.

There are also people who would like to own the colorful Macintosh’s so if you have that type of technology, pull it out and try to sell it or donate to a theater or local group who put on plays.  Let them store it and you will have the knowledge you helped someone out.

My guess is most of the technology you have stored are stored for a reason because it’s obsolete and you cannot use it so, recycle it.

Have your older storage drives, discs, tapes moved onto new technology if professionals can accomplish that for you.

The original faxes seemed to have disappearing ink so if you have very old faxed documents that you will need in the future have them saved onto a different technology before the ink fades.   Recycle the used fax paper that you no longer need but check about the shiny coated paper.

Continuously update all the data you have stored on technology as you replace it with new technology that way when you purchase new equipment, you’ll be prepared to recycle it instead of store it, saving you from a later headache.

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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!