A few years back Hurricane Charley hit our then home and we had to get rid of most the contents, somehow our photographs, my parent’s former dining room set, and our important papers were spared because of where they were located in our home.  They were in the dining room of the home behind a little wall that had, thanks to the storm, one of my neighbor’s roof tiles embedded into it at head height.

Luckily, because this was a new-to-us home and we were planning on a remodel we had taken lots of photos of the current contents and we had photos of the contents already in boxes that were to be used once the home was remodeled.   However, this is not the way I would have chosen to DeClutter.

Recently, we had a trailer stolen out of a storage facility.  The thief cut the lock on the gate to the facility then cut the lock on our new trailer.  We had sold a home and placed everything we still wanted in the trailer awaiting the purchase of a new home.  Included in that trailer were family heirlooms that I was holding until family members could all gather together, and we could distribute the heirlooms to their new owners.  It also included items I had been given through inheritance that would be perfect for our new home, tools, painted family portraits, an entire kitchen set up, all my winter clothing and all sorts of treasures I hoped would grace our new home.   Again, not a good way to DeClutter!

Both times I felt an incredible sense of loss for different reasons.  The first time I was overwhelmed by the devastation and amount of work involved in repairing and replacing all that was lost and damaged. The good news is I had lots of photos of the contents of the home for insurance reimbursement.

The second time was more emotional because of the loss of family heirlooms and I hadn’t recorded everything in the trailer because some of it had just come into my possession.  And, I thought they would very soon be dispersed.  Every couple of days I recall another item I had in the stolen trailer.

My suggestion is to take lots of photos of items and if you can, keep receipts with the photos.  The insurance company wants to know you paid for an item to record it as a loss, of course.

My message is twofold: 1. Don’t wait to take care of something you need to do in the future, I thought I was being considerate and hoping to have a celebration to distribute the inherited items. I should have immediately taken photos and distributed them to all parties involved. 2. Keep good records including pictures of items separate from the items themselves, even if you expect something to be a quick turnaround. I suggest keeping photos in 2 separate locations.

It’s not the way I would have liked to DeClutter those items but it’s what happened.  On the bright side, it will be fun finding updated replacements for items that were lost and I’ll always have my memories.

A photo is worth a thousand words….

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