We spend the first half of our lives acquiring things, and the second half getting rid of them.
Those “things” can become clutter; fill storage spaces and waste valuable space.
I recently had the responsibility of clearing my mother-in-law’s home. This is the third elderly relative I have had this “opportunity”.
I have learned a few things in the process. From this experience, I am making changes in my home. I am preparing for that day we may downsize or somebody will have to clear my home.
Whatever your “stage of life”, this blog posting will give you tips on keeping clutter free. And when you downsize or have the “opportunity” to clear your parents or grandparents home, you will have a few ideas on how to tackle the job.
I don’t think we consciously decide we are going to collect “stuff” and have it fill the guest room or garage. It is a slow creep and you wake up one day and wonder if you are a hoarder.
Don’t feel overwhelmed at the job to be tackled. Start small – clear a small space, one closet at a time.
If you have a larger area, room or garage it can be harder to tackle. Start with envisioning what you want that space to look like. How do you want to use it? Make a dream board – post a few pictures or ideas on it. Keep your vision in front of you as you work through clearing the area.
I got new motivation for one of our rooms. I recently had the experience of having my husband at home. I have always had my quiet time when he left for work. I didn’t have “my space” anymore. I concluded the room that had become a catch all needed a new purpose – my space. And it needed to be clutter free, have some of my favorite things, a place to store my books I am currently reading and play my music. I needed a comfortable chair and small table. So my motivation was in place – something to keep me focused.
How do you start?
I broke the job into smaller steps. I could feel like I was making progress even if I couldn’t see the results yet. This is especially important if you are clearing a parent’s home or you are downsizing. It can be overwhelming and emotional to tackle the job in one big effort.
- Make a wish list of what you want in your new home. What do you want your lifestyle to be? As you sort, use that wish list as your guide.
- Give yourself lead time. When you are rushed, you may keep more than you intended. It is easier to let things go a few items at a time.
- Target areas that are less emotional to start such as the kitchen garage, linen closet.
- Establish 3 piles or boxes. Throw Away, Donate and Sell. As you sort through items, make a decision to keep or get rid of it, and then put it in the appropriate box.
- Evaluate your furniture. When downsizing, your current furniture may not fit comfortably in your new space. You may need to replace it.
- Questions to sort by:
- When was the last time you wore it? Or used it? Does it work?
- Do you know somebody that would enjoy the item?
- Do you love it enough to clean it, pack it, move it and unpack it?
Peggy L. Farnworth, CPA, CFP®, CSA
Ph: (208) 343-7777
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