Tag Archives: memories

A Perspective on Moving from a Coach

artful coaching on moving

Our favorite personal coach, Sydney Metrick of Artful Coaching has just gone through the experience of downsizing and had some valuable insights to share.

How long does it take to accumulate more stuff than you need? I’m a person who detests clutter not only for aesthetic reasons, but because I think better when things are neat and organized. Yet, it appears I have waaaay more stuff than I need or would ever use.

Stuff seems to fall into six categories:

  1. The things I use regularly and actually need
  2. Items I acquired because they were interesting and I might enjoy them
  3. The “someday” items that are clothed with good intentions
  4. Gifts
  5. Memorabilia
  6. Mystery items

Because I’m moving, drastic downsizing is mandatory. Going through two decades of books, clothes, art, and extensive miscellaneous stuff, I’ve learned two really important things. The first thing is that only the stuff in category #1 is worth packing and taking, like insurance papers, my computer, clothing, and shoes. The second insight came about from looking through everything in categories #2-#6. That is, looking through them is enough. It’s kind of like a review and letting go. It was nice to take those little trips down memory lane, but bottom line, living in the past is not for me. Would I truly miss a wooden cigar box, or a meditation candle I received one holiday? Did I really care about the glass that acknowledged Peter and Jennifer’s wedding? And what exactly are the little brushes for anyway that were in the box with printer ink?

So, in addition to scheduling time to go through everything, I also had to pack and label the things I’m keeping, and arrange for everything else to be sold, donated, given away, or shredded. It was a lot. But I thought how moving is such a great motivator. Going through all those things was fun, interesting, informative, and useful.

Wondering how this might work for you if you’re not moving? Consider the “gift of the month” exercise. Pick a drawer, shelf, box or whatever, that you haven’t gone through for quite a while (or ever). Set aside an hour or so one day that you’ll devote to emptying and looking at everything in that space. Put back only what really makes sense and discard the rest. What’s the gift? Well, it may be that you find something you’d been looking for or had forgotten. Or you have the gift of a newly decluttered and organized space.

Be Sociable!

sydney-metrick.jpg

Sydney Metrick of Artful Coaching – Coaching for ADHD and other non-linear thinkers since 1998.

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Filed under ADD/ADHD, Decluttering, downsizing, Guest Experts, Moving, Perspective, Strategies

Fear Factor: Ghosts from the Past

There you are with the best of intentions, starting to organize your space and suddenly a ghost pops out and scares you away from your project.

This ghost could be evidence of a forgotten task, a memory of a loved one who has passed, papers from a nasty legal battle, or even some article of clothing that has unpleasant memories attached to it. With the passage of time and consistent avoidant actions, our homes can start to feel like haunted houses.

Scary Organizing Challenges

Our clients are usually glad to have us there when these frights occur.

Here are some common ghouls to watch out for and ways to banish them:

  • Clothes in a size you wish you were. The hope of someday fitting back into those “skinny jeans” can be a very strong attachment. If you absolutely can’t bear to let the dream clothes go, at least make sure they aren’t taking up high value space in your closet or dresser. Put them in a tub, labeled, into a low-use space like basement/attic/garage.
    • Now, if you’ve encountered the tub again while clearing out one those spaces it’s time for a real heart-to-heart talk with yourself. If weight loss is a goal, keeping the clothes isn’t what is motivating you to take action. If you take action and meet your weight goal it will be a nice treat to update your wardrobe with some new items rather than pull out those jeans from a decade ago which likely won’t still be in style anyway.
  • Gifts you weren’t thrilled about.  What do you do with items you’ve been given, but just don’t have a use for or actually don’t match your taste? We’ve written a blog post about this topic, but the main thing to remember is that the giver cares about YOU and their best selves wouldn’t want you to hold onto something that didn’t make you happy. Let it go, pass it on, give it to a charity who can find a good home for it…but don’t let it collect dust in the darker reaches of your prime storage closet or spare room or attic.
  • Things you’ve inherited from family or friends who have passed. These items can sometimes feel heavy and burdensome. Like the unwanted gifts, they are attached to a person or past and can’t just be tossed in a cavalier manner. This is where taking time to process them will provide benefits.
    • Determine their value, their importance to you, what they represent and how best to preserve that memory, if that is what you choose.
    • If they have historical value, can they be donated to the local history society or museum?
    • If they have monetary value, can they be sold with the proceeds going to a coveted family cause?
    • Are they holding memories of a precious family experience? Is there a way to recreate the memory of the family experience without having to store a 2-ton piano that is too expensive to make useable or wouldn’t get played?
    • Sometimes inherited items are best dealt with in layers – focus on dispersing the items you and others have the least attachments to; this will at least make more room for the things you choose to keep.

So, if you have encountered some ghosts, take heart and get help if you need to. There is a way to process these frights, reclaim your past and take care of unfinished business.

 

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Filed under Closets, Decluttering, Garage, General Organizing, home organizing, Memorabilia, organizing, Perspective, Strategies

Moving Back Home – decluttering the past

What will you  hold on to from your past?

What will you hold on to from your past?

Laurel recently graduated from college and shares her story of refreshing the room in which she grew up.

“Where am I going to fit all this stuff?” I wondered, thinking of the eight packed suitcases that were scattered throughout my parents’ house. When I graduated from college last month, I knew that it signified the end of an era. For all of my memorable years, I had been a student, and for the previous four years, all of my trips home had been temporary.  I’d never brought home more than a couple of suitcases at a time, but suddenly the belongings I had accumulated while I was away at school needed a home in a room still full of remnants of my childhood.

I spent the first days of my last summer vacation cleaning out my bedroom. I donated boxes of clothes I hadn’t recently worn and a dollhouse I’d forgotten I owned. I recycled old papers from high school whose grades no longer carried the weight they once had. When I came across items with sentimental value, I asked myself, “Will I bring this to my first apartment?” If my answer was no, it was put aside to be donated or gotten rid of.  If I wasn’t able to part with something I discovered, I vowed to revisit it when the time came to move out on my own. I saved pictures and other memorabilia, but limited myself to a single box. After two days of purging and cleaning, there was empty space on my shelves and room in my dresser, and the unpacking finally began.

The process of moving back home after living on my own in college was made easier by the reclamation of my space. I revitalized old picture frames with recent photos, parted with stuffed animals no longer in need of my love, and made my bedroom feel like home again. Receiving my diploma was not just the commencement of my life as a college student, it was the start of a transition to a new phase. When I do move out on my own, I will be grateful to be surrounded only by things that I will be glad to have come with me. Nobody dreams of moving in with their parents after college graduation, but at the very least I won’t be living with the past 20 years of my own life as well.

 

What do you own that you are glad to have with you?  What about the rest?

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Excuse: “It’s Too Important To Let Go”

Would it be heartless to pass on your childhood awards?

Do sentimental items clog up your living space?

Have you ever opened up your desk drawer trying to find a pen and find yourself sifting through memorabilia–the medals of your recent 10K run, certificates, photographs, or ticket stubs?   If your memorabilia impedes your use of active space, it’s time to get serious about its true value.

Lately we’ve been reviewing a wonderful organizing resource book, It’s All Too Much, by Peter Walsh.  Peter also wrote a companion book, It’s all Too Much Workbook.

We appreciate Peter’s style of getting right to the heart of the emotional holdbacks our organizing clients face. One section of the book covers all the excuses we’ve heard for justifying keeping things that are no longer being used. Here is a great one and Peter’s response:

Excuse:  “It’s too important to let go.”

Excuse Buster: “If it is so important, then I must give it the honor and value it deserves (or let it go.)

Here’s how Peter counsels his clients on this topic:

“Don’t tell me something is important, has personal value, or is a family heirloom if it’s covered in dust, lost in a pile of clutter, or buried somewhere in your garage.  If you value an item, you need to show it the honor and respect it deserves.  Otherwise, it has no place in your home.  No discussion, no negotiation–it goes! Either you value something or you do not. You have room for something or you do not–it’s that simple.  If we each had a palace, we’d have infinite space in which to cherish and display our prized possessions.  Maybe you’d devote a whole room to the porcelain figurines you inherited from your grandmother.  But most of us don’t live in palaces, far from it.  You can’t own everything, so you have to pick and choose.  The value you say an item holds for you must be reflected in the place you give that item in your life, otherwise your words have no meaning and the object is little more than clutter.”

 So the next time you stumble upon some memorabilia in an inconvenient place, ask yourself, “Am I giving this the home it deserves?”

Are you really honoring the memory of this person or personal achievement?  Or is it keeping you from moving through your life with ease?

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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies