THE ART OF DECLUTTERING OR HOW TO “LET IT GO”
Awe the retirement years! You are finally free from the things that tie you down and are ready to embrace a new adventure. But, where do you begin? You have lived in your home for many years and are surrounded by the “things” that house your memories. As you look around your home, you see the wedding gift you received from Aunt Sally. It has been sitting in your china hutch for 40 years – never used. You never really liked the gift, but you love Aunt Sally. Then there are the five boxes of your children’s artwork dating back to Kindergarten. These are all fond memories. So, where do you begin with deciding what to keep and what to eliminate?
A good rule of thumb is: “Either you love something or you need something. If it doesn’t answer either of those things, it doesn’t stay,” says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers. Another question that will help you decide is: Are these objects in my life going to help me move forward or are they blocking me?
Items in the “Love it” column might include things that remind you of loved ones, big life events or milestones, precious pieces of artwork or craftwork, heirlooms or anything that you cherish. In the “Need It” column, you would keep anything that you use on a regular basis. For example, you might use a coffee pot daily, but when was the last time you used your fondue set? Don’t get caught in the trap of keeping things out of fear that you might use it sometime in the future. Also, just because an item might have value for someone, if it is not something you use, let it go. Another good principle to follow when evaluating what you really “need” is the six-month rule. If you have not used the item in six months, it is probably not worth keeping. Consider donating items that could be of value to someone else and let it go.
If an item has no value to you or to anyone else, then it goes in the “Leave It” column. Examples include old papers, appliances or lawn equipment that don’t work or that are very outdated, broken items, outdated sporting goods, clothes that you haven’t worn in years, things you purchased on a whim that seemed to be a good idea at the time, and virtually anything that you can let go of without feeling remorse.
Once you have made the decision about what to keep and what to let go, then the awesome job of figuring out how to get rid of the “Leave it” items begins. In my next article, I will define some clear and simple steps that will help you through the process. The key is to get an early start so that you are not pressured for time.
For more information about the downsizing process, consider attending an upcoming event called “The Upside of Downsizing” being held on April 22nd at the Tacoma Dome and find out about the eight steps involved in the downsizing process. For more information on downsizing in general or to register for the April 22nd seminar, please call Joyce Hill at 253-318-2792.