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downsizing takes a toll on your emotions 1People often underestimate the toll that decluttering and downsizing can have on their emotions.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is an easy task because others tell you it should be - ‘just let it go’, ‘just get rid of it’, they say.  Well, I am here to tell you that it does not work that way.  Even if you are ready and willing to let go of your stuff, even if you have made the decision that it is time to reduce what you own, even if you have a strong why and lots of excitement about what comes next in your life…even when you are totally prepared and ready to do it…It will still take an emotional toll on you as you go through the process. Some will be affected a lot more than others, but in my experience everyone has moments that their emotions get the better of them.

Going through your stuff piece by piece is a grueling task even for the seasoned ‘declutterer’.  Knowing you have to downsize your stuff and making decision, after decision, after decision about what stays and what goes, adds up to a lot of emotional energy.  At some point that energy can get depleted, emotions rubbed raw and reactions happen!  Be patient with yourself and others as you go through this process, allow for some time to decompress when you feel the need.  Allow the emotions to come, honour them, feel them and then deal with them the best you can.

Taking a break during the grueling process can help, taking a step away to regroup so you can prepare to keep going.

TRY:

  • Going for a walk to get some fresh air

  • Work out at the gym to burn off any excess stress

  • Get out of the house and treat yourself to nice dinner out

  • Take an evening off and watch some mindless TV – preferably a good comedy or feel good show.

  • Connect with others- Come to our Clutter Support Facebook group to get some inspiration and support to keep you going www.ClutterSupportGroup.com

Our stuff has physical connections with our emotions - letting go, no matter how ready you are, will trigger some pain, regret and sadness.  Be okay with that, be prepared for that, be real with that and keep moving forward with less!

Here to support you through the process,

Kim

HOW MANY MEMORIES ARE ENOUGH 300x300We store a lot of our memories in stuff. A LOT OF STUFF! Which translates into a lot of memories. So how many memories are enough?

When we think of items that have memories we often think about the pictures, the little ornament or magnet we bought on a trip, the family heirlooms that have been passed down. But in actuality everything we own has a memory attached to it. Where it came from, who bought it, why we bought it, what purpose it has played in our life, how long it has been around, etc.

I am writing on this topic because I had a bit of a trigger last night making supper. I have a strainer that I bought at this cute little kitchen store in New Hampshire when my husband and I were on our 20th anniversary trip (6 years ago)…it’s a strainer…used to drain pasta & wash veggies…nothing magical, kind a cool as it collapses, but still just a strainer...yet it has a memory attached to it. It started to fall apart and get yucky awhile ago, I have a new one that I use, yet I hesitated throwing it out. Why? Because it was attached to a good memory! (See even professional declutter experts can get emotionally attached to memories and things) I know that the memory of that trip will not go away because the strainer does, and I know that all the memories of us using the strainer are not that important to keep in the overall scheme of life…it has fulfilled its purpose for us and its time to recycle it.

There are lots of things in our life we don’t think too much about the story, until it is time to declutter and let it go…then the memories and stories come flooding back…the fry pan you got when you moved into your first apartment, the dress you wore to the Christmas party in 1998, the wine glasses someone gave you for Christmas 20 years ago… all these things have stories…some more emotional than others but attachment comes from the stories and memories we have of these ‘things’. We may not have used them or looked at them in decades but when it comes to making the decision to let it go…the memories come flooding back and we hesitate, because we do not want to lose the memory.

We have decades’ worth of experiences and memories all rolled up into the stuff that surrounds us. Pictures, mementoes, towels, clothing, appliances, dishes, tools, etc…you name it and we have a story about it.

The question is how many memories are enough? What memories are the most important to keep? How much of this stuff attached to these memories do we actually need to keep? When it comes time to part, can you be okay with living with the memory and not the thing? And if the memory is lost with the item…can you live without it? Do you really need to keep ALL those memories, and do you have room in your brain for them all…and still have room for new ones?

How many memories are enough?

Will the world come to an end if you let go of some of those memories? The experiences you had, the time you spend with that stuff, will still be inside of you, will still be part of you past…but does it have to take up so much space, that there is no room for the future?

Here are some clues on when it might be time to declutter the old memories and make room in your life for new ones

- If you are tripping over stuff when walking through your home – and you don’t have a toddler living there…It might be time to declutter!

- If you regularly come into contact with things in your home that make you feel angry, sad or any other negative emotion…It might be time to declutter!

- If you have cupboards stuffed full of things that you never use and don’t really need… It might be time to declutter!

- If your counters are stacked full of items that have no home, because all your space is already taken…it might be time to declutter!

- If you have storage rooms or storage units full of boxes of stuff that you have not looked at or touched in years… It might be time to declutter!

- If you find you are constantly frustrated with your space, overwhelmed with all the things coming at you and your brain is ready to explode…it might be time to declutter!

If you are ready to declutter and release some of those old memories, come join our Kaos Solutions Facebook Group to get the support you need. We are here to help you through the chaos of decluttering and downsizing your stuff.

Hope to see you there!

Kim

Are You Living A Life That is Ruled by Your Stuff 300x300You have a house, a house full of stuff, stuff takes up space, the more stuff the more space, stuff takes up energy in your space, stuff requires work, stuff has to be dusted, stuff have to moved around, stuff has to maintained…The more stuff you have, the more that stuff owns your time, your thoughts and you!

Are you living a life that is ruled by your stuff?

The material age has been ruling our lives for decades now, with easy access to buy stuff we have gathered in our space so much more than we actually need.  We have been ruled by our emotions, by our memories, by the status of owning bigger and better and more to show our success in life, to show what we have accomplished, to show everyone what we did…but the question is at what price does this come?  In my experience the more stuff you own…the more that stuff owns you.  The more it cost to maintain the stuff, the more it cost, the more you have to spend, the more you spend, the more you have to work, the more you work, the less you have time for family, the less you have time for fun, the less you have time for you. And when you reach that gold age of retirement the more you have to have saved to continue to maintain your stuff. 

There is freedom in releasing stuff from your life. It is not an easy task to let go of things that have memories, stuff that may still have life left in it, stuff that you spent lots of money on.  But the price of letting go is FREEDOM.  You can free up your time, your energy and your mind space by taking action to reduce the amount of stuff in your life.

Does your stuff own you?  Are you ready to release and be free?

Here are some tips on how to get started:

  1. Decide what is most important in your life now- what do you want your life to look like, what do you want to do with your time, what if your vision of the next phase of life.

  2. Start paying attention to what is surrounding you in your life now and evaluate if it is moving you towards your vision or away from it.

  3. Make an action plan to start moving you towards your vision.  What needs to happen, what needs to be release, what needs to change, what is the realistic time line to get there.

  4. Start Taking Action! 

If releasing your stuff is part of your action plan, give us a call, we would love to be part of making your vision a reality.  It can get done faster, easier and with a lot less stress when you get experienced help!

Here’s to FREEDOM!

Kim

Seriously Your Kids Dont Want All Your StuffAre you starting to think about downsizing your space and now looking at all the stuff you have accumulated over the years? Are you thinking that your kids would just love to have all this extra stuff? Do you really want your legacy to be all the leftover clutter?

I work with lots of people who are in the downsizing process.  During the process when clients are struggling with letting something go I often hear ‘ my kids might want that’  so things go into a massive pile of things for the kids.  I have also dealt with a lot of homes of  ‘the kids’ who have become their parents family landfill because they could not say no to mom or dad as they did not want to hurt their feelings.

One of the things I have learned over the year is that YOUR KIDS DON’T WANT ALL YOUR STUFF!  Seriously, they really don’t.  if you think your legacy is all the stuff you have collected and if you are saving everything for them, I am here to tell you today to stop…you are saving things that I can guarantee you your kids do not want.   Maybe they want a few things, maybe they have some favorite memories about certain things, but when push comes to shove they do not want all that stuff in their space.  It is just too much!

If your parents gave you all their stuff when they were done with it, and all their parents stuff. And all their parents stuff and oh how about all their parents stuff…would you want it?  I am going to go out on a limb here and say NO!  Maybe one item as a family memento but not ALL that stuff!  It is just too much!

A great way to find out what your kids would like is…wait for it…by asking them – I know I’m soooo smart aren’t I?  haha!

Ask them if they had to choose one or two favorite items what would they be?  Put their name on this stuff for when you are ready to let it go if that time is not now. 

Ask them is there is anything the need to make their life easier.

Ask them if they actually have room for the stuff they say they want.

But please do not put the burden on them to take all the stuff you don’t want because you cannot let it go otherwise. That is a lot of pressure on them and will quickly fill up their space with stuff they do not need or want.  Do them a favor and only share stuff with them that they truly want and need. 

PLEASE do not be offended when they do not want something...or if they say they don't want anything.  Millennial's are especially interesting, as a lot are not attached to any thing and easily say no! it may feel like an insult but in actuality it is a great skill to have that will serve them in having a simplified life! 

I know letting go of stuff is hard, and I know that giving it to a relative makes it feel like the stuff is not really gone.  But filling up a loved one’s house with ‘stuff’ that they really don’t need, use or love is not doing them any favors.  All that does is overwhelm them with clutter…something they will have to deal with eventually as well.  Let that stuff go now, pay it forward and let someone who really could use it, need it and love it have it now.  Don’t put that expectation on your kids to be that person…spread the wealth and spare your kids the burden!  Make your legacy one of paying it forward instead of one of overwhelming your kids. Seriously, they don’t want all your stuff!

If you need some help figuring out what to do with all that stuff, check out my downsizing packages.  I can help make the process easier and much less painful.

Happy Downsizing!

Kim

TOP 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN 300 X 300

I might, maybe, someday, perhaps use that…but will you really?

In my experience people’s homes are often filled with what I call aspirational clutter.  This is all the stuff that you think you might one day use or you use to use it in the past and ‘maybe’ you will use again one day.  (but probably not!)

These items include:

  • Old craft and hobby stuff, for crafts and hobbies you no longer do or participate in.  This includes crafts and hobbies you thought you might like so you bought that old car to refurbish, that needle point to do, that sports racket but you never actually got around to doing them or you started and realized you did not like them!

  • Odds and ends that you keep stored in many containers in the garage and junk drawers because you never know when you need one of those gizmos or whatnots. 

  • All those magazines and books that you might read one day.  I’m not talking about your favorite books or those sentimental books you keep on the shelf (that is more sentimental clutter), I’m talking about those books and reading material that you planned to read but it has been over a year (or more) and you still have not cracked it open and probably never will.

  • Recipes & recipe books full of potential new meals that you might, but probably wont, try one day because it is easier to just fall back on the family favorites or you just look up new recipes online now.

One of the hardest things about getting rid of this aspirational clutter is getting over the money that was spent on the stuff that you did not use.  So you hold onto it forever thinking you may one day actually do something with it. In the mean time your home is so full of good intentions that you have no room to live today!  What is that cost to you and your mental state having so much clutter around?

My questions to clients when dealing with aspirational clutter are:

  1. How long has this ‘stuff’ been lying around your home?  (the answer is normally many years)

  2. If you have not touched it 3 years or more do you REALLY think you will ever use it? I mean REALLY and HONESTLY?

  3. If the time comes that you need this doodad or gizmo will you actually be able to find it (is it organized and stored in a permanent home)? or will you end up having to go buy a new one because you have no idea where it is?

  4. How much square footage does this stuff take up and is it worth the price you pay per square foot to store it long term?

  5. What would your life be like if you let this go and cleared it out?

These questions are meant to stimulate thought about this aspirational clutter.  It is not my job to decided for you what you should keep and what you should release.  It is my passion and my job to get you thinking about what you surround yourself with, why you keep the things you keep and how it is serving you in your life today. Surrounding yourself with too much aspirational clutter can invoke feelings of guilt for not ever getting around to using the stuff and feelings of overwhelm if there is just too much.  It is time to let go of the might, maybe & someday and make room for TODAY!!  

The final question is always....Does it stay or go?

If you are ready to tackle the clutter and need some help, then connect with me, I can help you move forward towards releasing the clutter!

Happy Decluttering!