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moving through the heartache of dealing with a loved ones stuff 300x300The pain of losing a loved one is all consuming, it cuts right to the soul and breaks your heart.  The aftermath of losing a loved one is often hard for anyone to verbalize. Everyone deals with death differently.  From my experience you cannot predict how someone will react and get through it. There are no specific timelines, no specific route to getting through it and I can tell you that you NEVER get over it.  You can just learn to accept it and learn how to live your new normal without your loved ones physical presence.

When a loved one passes, they leave behind not only heartache but also ‘stuff’.  Their presence is felt in all the things that they used, all the clothes that they wore, all their precious mementos they collected.  Those left behind are then tasked with having to decided what to do with all the stuff left behind. I work regularly with people who have to go through their loved one’s possessions, it is a heartbreaking task but a necessary one to move forward. 

Although the task is not simple here are 8 tips to help you move through the heartache of releasing a loved one's stuff after they pass:


Wait if possible - Give yourself some time before you tackle this if possible.  Allow yourself the time to grieve the loved one and feel a little stronger before you take on this task, unless time is limited to settle the space.

Grieve as you go - As you go through the process you may feel like you are giving away a piece of your loved one with every possession you let go. This is normal and part of the whole grieving process. What is important during this time is to allow for the grieving to happen - cry, yell, whatever you need to do to let the emotions out.  Feel the feeling and then move on.

Honour their memory - Choose how you are going to honor the memory of your loved one with the stuff you do keep.  Keep only things that bring you joy when thinking of them. The reality is we cannot keep everything from everyone, so choose wisely what you will keep and ensure you honor their memory by honoring the possessions you keep.  Storing boxes and boxes of their stuff in an attic or basement does not honour their memory, choose to pay it forward and allow others to be blessed by the stuff, giving your loved one’s possession new life.

Take Pictures – If there are things that have great memories but you know you cannot keep, take a picture of the item to keep in a memory file.  Whenever you are missing your loved one, you can look at the pictures and remember the joy without having all the stuff take up space.

Share their stuff with others that loved them – Allow family and close friends to choose something if they want.  Once you have decided what you must keep, allow others that loved them to choose something that brings them joy and reminds them of your loved one.  Keeping the love alive and their memories cherished.

Release the rest to the Universe – it is not your job to distribute each and every item individually.  It is not your job to know where everything is going.  Send possessions off to Goodwill and allow the universe to get those possessions in the hands of those that most need them.  You do not have to do all the work! Send them with love and let them go.


Get Help – If this task is just to big and too much for you to tackle on your own then ask for help.  A trusted friend, family member or a professional.  Getting help can make the process quicker and easier than doing it alone.  Be honest about what you can handle on your own and ask for help when you decide you are not able to do it by yourself.  There is no shame in needing help during a difficult time. This help will need to be firm but loving to keep you moving.

BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF – there is no easy way to do this task.  Be patient and kind to yourself, take breaks when you need them and don’t forget to breathe as you go. 

You cannot keep everything of a loved ones.  That is the hard truth, but you can keep the memories.  Your memories of your loved ones are yours to keep.  No one can take those from you.  Remember the joy, remember the fun, remember the love.    

If you feel you cannot do this alone, I would be honoured to help you through this process.  Come join our Support Group or contact us for one on one care. With gentle guidance and support we can move you forward through this difficult task. 

Honouring you and your loved ones,

Kim xox

www.ClutterSupportGroup.com

 

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

How do I organize myself when travelling back and forth between the Cottage or trailer and home?

This was a question that I was asked this week, and I think it makes a great topic for today's blog.

Get Organized travelling Back Forth Between cottage2FTrailer and Home This Summer 300x300

This is the time of year that a lot of people are continuously moving back and forth from home to cottage/trailers and it can get quite confusing to keep track of all the things you have at each place, not to mention what you bring back and forth.  Inevitably you will end up at the cottage without that important ingredient for Friday evenings meal because you could have sworn you had some there…but in fact it is in your home kitchen cupboard.

Planning and organizing are key in moving back and forth.  Deciding which location is home base for the summer helps in planning…do you spend more time at the cottage and only occasionally go home?  Or do you spend the week at home and weekend at the cottage?  For the purpose of this blog I am going to concentrate on those that are weekend cottagers/campers.

For starters I suggest that you have a specific spot in your home that is designated as the cottage/trailer ‘to go’ location. Have a cottage bin ready to load in this location, something that is easy for you to just drop things in as you think of them thoughout the week. 

In the Kitchen:

Duplicate - The simple answer is to try and have duplicates of all the basics, most people do this anyway.

Keep a grocery list for each place separately – This is key so you know what you need at each place not just what you need.  As most people have phones now, the ongoing lists can be kept in digital format or use a shopping app, there are thousands out there to choose from.  I personally just keep it simple and use notes on my phone.

Take a picture of your fridge and main pantry at the end of the weekend – taking a picture of the cottage/trailer fridge and main food pantry will help you visually see what is there instead of trying to remember at the end of the week when you are getting ready to get weekend groceries in town.  Between this and your list you should be good to go!

Plan the menu - I always suggest menu planning, that is one of the key ways to stay organized and plan for meals and grocery shopping.  Whether home or cottage having a general menu plan will take a lot of pressure and stress of you when its time to feed everyone. Fro more info on menu planning check out this blog – Menu Planning Made Easy

In the Closet:

Keep it there- Keep the main items that are a must have at the cottage/trailer right there.  Especially things like bathing suites that are not easy to live without if you forget to bring them back.  For the very few must haves get accustom to hand washing them so they don’t have to be taken home to wash and possibly forgotten there. There is nothing as disappointing as getting to the trailer only to realize you have to spend the weekend without a bathing suit.

Travel with a basic wardrobe – If you often find yourself Sunday evening not wanting to go back to town, but then fussing over the fact that you did not bring your work clothes with you…then get in the habit of having at least one back up work outfit on standby for just such an emergency.  But in reality you should ALWAYS plan to not want to go back home Sunday night hehe

Give everyone their own travel bags that go back and forth- keep everyone’s things separate and teach kids the responsibility of packing what they want to bring back and forth (with supervision if they are young).  Keeping everyone's things separate makes it easier to supervise what is being brought back and forth.  Just remember to check younger kids bags for the essentials.  We once went away for a weekend and I mistakenly thought my kids were responsible enough to pack on their own.  My daughter had 3 suitcases all packed and ready go, so I just assumed that she had what she needed…We arrived at our destination only to discover that ALL 3 suitcases were full of stuffed toys and blankets…but not one stich of clothing.   Yup, nothing but the jacket that I had asked if she had before we left haha.  Now maybe this was her ploy to get new clothes, but I can assure you that the lack of stores in the area we were left her with just a few basics for the week J  After that I checked or made a list and made sure she had what she needed before we left each time.

In the Bathroom:

Duplicate - This includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps and for all us gals have the basics like face cream and basic make up at each location as the possibility that you will forget your makeup bag some weekend is quite high.

Dedicated Travel Case - For all the stuff you cannot have duplicated,like medications, then make sure you have a travel case with these basics that go everywhere you go-  it becomes like your purse and travels with you back and forth.  

Laundry Essentials:

Separate color laundry basket for cottage/trailer - If your laundry facilities are at home and you are bringing things back and forth, then have laundry baskets that are easily identified as belonging to the cottage.  Keeping the laundry that comes home separate from home laundry and setting it aside in the designated cottage ‘to go’ spot will keep you from forgetting it when heading back to the cottage. Always check the dryer before you leave for the weekend.

The juggling of 2 living spaces throughout the summer can get confusing and frustrating once in awhile but the memories and fun had at these summer getaways are well worth the efforts.  A little planning and organizing can go a long way to make the back and forth a little less crazy!

Do you have any tips or tricks you use to stay organized between your cottage/trailer and home?  If so share them with us in the Kaos Support Facebook Group!

Happy Summering!

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