7 Tips to Help You Free Yourself From Your “Things”
Many of my clients in Palm Beach County are seniors getting ready to make a lifestyle change, moving closer to or in with their adult children; moving into space that better suits their new needs, 0r moving into Assisted Living.
The majority of the time, what I hear from their real estate agent is that they have too much stuff. And they are, of course, right. But if you can avoid calling their treasures “stuff” and using the word “declutter,” your suggestions may be received with a listening ear rather than a defensive one.
No one wants to think of what they have as stuff or clutter. Do you? Well, you might, but it’s yours to call it that, not someone else.
In this, by the way, I am not talking about true hoarders, who have a psychological disorder. For them, it is often an issue of not being able to throw something away rather than collecting or saving something.
7 Tips to Help Free Yourself From Your “Stuff”
1.Give yourself permission to get rid of things
You have to let yourself eliminate items that you’re keeping simply because you think you should keep them. It could be the drawings from your children, or the first gift your young brother gave to you. (Yes, it took me many years before I could give this gift away. It just didn’t work anymore.)
2. Give your children and other family members permission to not keep everything.
This is one of the best gifts you could give them. Yes, they may have items they truly want to keep but give them permission to get rid of items they don’t want to keep.
3.Take photos of items that you’re only keeping because of the memories.
If you’re one of the collectors who has kept every concert ticket and program from your early teens, then why not take photographs of them. Or if you like looking at them, have them framed in collage.
4. Scan your photos so you can view them digitally whenever you want instead of searching through boxes and boxes of old photos
There are photo scanning services online and locally that can scan those photos that you took before everything went digital.
5. Don’t wait until you’re gone. We all save items that we want to give to our children or other family members or friends.
Do as one of my clients did… she invited her children over and had on display items that she did not want, but that had value, sentimental or monetary. She had been holding on to them to pass on to her family but now she wanted to make a move and did not want to have to find a house that would fit her things, but rather her new lifestyle.
6.Start with the easy items, such as magazines, books, clothing. You’ll soon find that you like this new freedom you have and that you can’t wait to tackle those other, harder to edit items.
7. For the items that you can’t part with, why keep them boxed up in the attic. One of my friends had her husband’s cowboy chaps from when he was only about 6 years old framed in a lucite box.
We framed a very special T-shirt. It’s better than leaving it rolled up in some box!
If you’re working with a client who needs to edit their treasures, have some patience. It’s easy for those of us who have no attachment whatsoever to say “You need to declutter and get rid of this stuff.”
Next time you do, take a minute to think about what you’re saying. And, think about what you would do if someone came into your home and said something similar.
Instead… try helping them with some of these suggestions.