When you think about the legacy you want to leave, it is probably a small army of grandchildren, making a difference in the community, and giving generously to a cause about which you are passionate. Mountains of clutter is probably nowhere on that list, but let's be honest; if you don't do something about it who will? That's right, your children.
When you look at the garage, that closet under the stairs, or (gasp) the off-site storage and feel overwhelmed, think about it in terms of your children. Some of those things may have even come from your parents; too good to throw out but does not suit your own personal tastes. The reasons for not parting and not addressing are endless and in my work I see so many storage units filled with the rotting belongings of deceased parents.
What good is pointing out a problem without telling you how to solve it? First, set some parameters in place. These will look different for each person depending on the volume of stuff and perceived meaning of the items. Here are a few ways to conquer the legacy of clutter:
Ask family members which of your belongings they would like to have. This eliminates the assumption that you children actually want the collection of 500 empty Avon cologne bottles.
Use plastic tubs to box up items you are saving for one person in particular. I recommend including a personal note to the person as to why you want them to have those things. This will become a most treasured item once you are gone
Get your files in order. Your paper is going to be the most difficult to go through. Make sure you have an At Death file including all life insurance, will, and funeral information. If there are papers that you just can part with but will be of no use to your heirs, put them in a box labeled "Frivolous But Mine" or something similar.
Made the commitment to yourself to re-think one (or ten) item(s) each day. That sock with a hole in it that you were wearing the first time you traveled on an airplane will not mean much to your kids. Take a picture, document the story, and throw it out. Keeping the memory alive without keeping the sock is the best way to ensure the story lives on.
Remember, your children may not give the same emotional value to items that you do. If they are in their teens, rest assured that they may change their minds. If they are grown with families of their own, their view of your treasures will not likely change. Continue to love them and appreciate their aversion to clutter.
If you would like personalized help with reducing your clutter legacy, please feel free to contact me through my web site: www.neatasapin.net.
Have a Neat day!
Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts
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