What do I do with the stuff and treasures I cannot keep?
For us at Stress Free Solutions this is a problem we help our clients with on a daily basis. Our client has been in their home for over 30 years and accumulated 30 years of “stuff” also known as treasures or memories. We all believe that the stuff in our homes is valuable and worth something. To be honest some of those things are valuable, but most items are only valuable to the owner because of the attached emotions and memories associated with the item. Over and over we hear “someone will want the things I cannot bring with me, right?” Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
When thinking about downsizing or “rightsizing” there are some rules to follow so that you stay on task. First, pick a room that you do not use as much and is not a living space and STAY in that room. We tend to think of something in another room and then get sidetracked from our original goal. Think about each item while using the idea of purpose and place, if it doesn't have a purpose it does not have a place and if the item does not have a place it does not have a purpose. If something was passed down to you from a family member that was valuable but you have had it in a closet hidden away- it may not have a place in the new home. There should be several categories that you should be focused on when organizing and separating your things. First work with your “NEEDS,” these are the items that you need to have and cannot live without, everything else is a ‘WANT.” What items do you need for the new home and what has a purpose and a place. You can then separate items in the categories of donate, sell, recycle, family, friends and discard/throw away. Try to keep the “maybe” piles to a minimum. When you come across two items that you know will not fit, for example, a china cabinet and a curio cabinet ask yourself “what do I need and what do I want more,” because both do not have a place in the new home.
Going through your belongings can be tough to decide what to let go of but try to be as realistic as possible. The donation box can have a wide variety of things in it from books, to clothes, to homegoods. Knowing that it will be going to someone who could really use that item typically makes people feel better about saying goodbye to it. Selling your items can be tricky. We all think our things are worth something because they are worth something to US. However, that is not always the case. If something does not sell then it should be donated. Throwing things away can be the toughest thing but it is necessary if it has no monetary value, donation won't expect it and it can't be recycled. If you throw it in the trash do not pull it back out.
One last piece of advice is OHIO, “Only Handle it Once.” If you put the item in a designated box leave it there. With OHIO you do not want to pack the item, take it to the new home, unpack it and realize it does not fit and then have to repack and remove the item. That is touching it more than once.
All of this can be very stressful and overwhelming but you are doing a great job! We are always available to step in if you need us.