Clearing out a friend or family’s belongings can be a true act of love, often harder than wading through your own personal pile — although neither task is easy. Most of us experience a flood of emotions when confronted with certain objects that trigger memories or tie us to someone. Lord help those of us who can’t even get started. I don’t know about you, but few of us have weeks or months to properly go through a lifetime of belongings, let alone doing it on our own.
Getting help with the process can free you up to appreciate yourself and your loved one. When choosing qualified downsizing services, such as Art of Downsizing, you will receive the gentle nudging you need. If you’re the hands-on type, we’re there to help you get started, get organized and follow through to complete the project. If you’re hands-off, we respect your pace and take care of details from the sidelines.
Give yourself some critical time to feel and acknowledge your emotions, and then call us. Since we don’t have the same level of attachment to items that you have, we approach your downsizing task with firm, but understanding compassion and can accomplish a lot in a little time. We’ve done this for years — but we know that you may go through this only once in your lifetime. We’ve been in your shoes and know how hard it can be. That’s exactly how this business got started.
Whatever frame of mind you’re in, we listen, providing you with as little or as much room as you need to get started and stay on task. A few tips we’ve picked up over the years may help you let go with love:
Don’t put it off. As painful as it may be to review a houseful of belongings or even just an over- stuffed garage, tackle it sooner rather than later. Once you start, you build momentum.
Rely on an objective eye. Let a trained downsizing service guide you to make rational decisions about the objects entrusted to you and how to disperse them.
Remember objects aren’t memories. While items remind you of people, places and times you love, you won’t lose these when you finally let go of the object.
Consider your living space and time. Ask yourself what you actually have room in your life or house for. Consider whether you have the time and energy to keep up with everything you want to keep — or the resources to cover the cost of renting storage. Does your schedule the next few years really allow for you to transform that antique dresser into a fabulous chalk paint piece for your guest room?
Let someone else create new memories. Breath new life into your discard pile. Let another family imbue your unwanted possessions with treasured memories. Recycling your family things with friends, buyers and the community at large is a caring way to let go with love and feel good.
The next step is to consciously map out the task ahead of you. Downsizing services specialize in these types of details. You may start with a complete inventory or just a list of rooms to go through. In either case, you need to know how much work you have to do. A day by day checklist gives you a sense of accomplishment as you make progress and prioritize each task.
Organizing staging areas for the things you’ve decided to keep and those you’ve decided to sell or donate allows you to see how much goes into each pile and plan for pick up, packing and staging (if you are going to have a sale). The Art of Downsizing team doesn’t push you one way or another, but it does help to have an understanding yet objective presence to ask you clarifying questions about each object you’re evaluating.
Personal belongings hold memories, but if you don’t interact with them on a regular basis or haven’t taken your childhood teddy bear or Barbie collection out of the trunk since your last move, do you really need to hold on for another 10 years? Maybe a photograph will elicit the same feelings, making it easier for you to let go of the physical object. You give an object new life when you let it go.
Keep things that are important to you, things you’ll use every day or things you need for legal purposes. Donate those items that’ll be useful to others, but are too worn to sell. Sell the objects that are in good condition and have iconic value. Don’t throw anything away if you’re thinking of having an estate sale. Professionals are trained to recognize hidden valuables. Downsizing services offer expertise in each of these categories, from cataloguing to pricing.
Letting go of personal or familial items can be a pleasant process; it really doesn’t have to be painful. Downsizing services definitely offer the smoothest path for unburdening your treasures. We can work closely with you or do it entirely for you — either way, know that your feelings and your ties have our utmost respect.