There are many reasons why we clear the clutter from our lives, but one of the biggest may be an imminent move we are facing and we:

  1. Don’t want to take the stuff with us and / or
  2. Won’t have the space

When it comes to moving house, one of the biggest barriers maybe the time frame we have left ourselves. We think we have enough time, but it is amazing just how fast time can fly when you need more of it.

Clearing out a lifetime’s worth of clutter takes time. You want to take time to select what it is you want to ditch, donate or keep – especially if you are moving to a smaller place (or someone you know is). You want to keep the good memories, you want to keep the things you like and you want to keep the things that mean something to you. You don’t want to take something with you that you know you won’t have any use for. I keep thinking about moving to a new place where the gardens are maintained, so I won’t have any need for the lawnmowers and other random gardening tools currently sitting in the shed. Ah, the thought of not having to do the garden…

A friend of mine has books, hundreds of them in fact. Some of them have travelled half way around the world because of the length of time it took her to collect the series. It is also true she hasn’t opened and re-read most of them since they went through the last move a dozen years ago, and it was simply time to get rid of them and allow them to share their stories with new readers.

This friend is a writer and a librarian, you would think that she wouldn’t ever think of getting rid of any book, let alone entire collections, but that is exactly what she has done. The ones she likes she is keeping, some she has acquired in e-format so the hard copy can go. The rest – well the rest are obviously no longer worth the shelf space, so she is clearing the literary clutter.

Now my friend is not planning on moving anytime soon, but wants to be prepared, so she can easily pack up what is left and move should the urge to relocate happen. But what if you have to move quickly and don’t have the time to do that kind of preparation yourself? Of course that is where we can help, we are quite literally the experts in helping people to downsize, but that is not what today’s message is about. It is about being prepared, and helping family members who are not able to help themselves think about what things mean to them.

Have those conversations, take an inventory (think photographs) you can show them (if they have had to leave the family home for whatever reason), but don’t assume that what you think is important, is really important to them. Ask them, and then take steps to ensure that what is kept is cherished, not what you think should be kept.


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