Where did all this stuff come from?
Have you ever looked inside your closets, garage, basement or storage/guest room and asked yourself that question?
We accumulate so many things throughout our lives, some are sentimental, and most are useless. My mother still has my ﬁrst report card and a rock I painted when I was in the third grade. I’ve seen people pay for storing things they will never use again. I’ve seen people not take care of the things they claim they want to keep (you are never going to re-upholster those chairs mom!). I’ve helped clients whose loved one has passed, ﬁll a dump truck with stuﬀ they just did not know what to do with and did not have the time to ﬁgure out. If you’re ready to start getting organized and start going through things you haven’t seen in ages, here are a few tips to help you start the downsizing process.
1. Start making decisions. Sometimes, deciding what to keep and what needs to go can be the hardest part of downsizing. We attach memories to our belongings, and parting with them can be bittersweet. Keep in mind that not everything can come with you if you move, so you may need to make some tough decisions.
2. Ask for help. Enlist family members or close friends to help you.
3. Start early. It’s never too early to begin sorting through some of your belongings. Get into those closets and storage spaces and start weeding out items you no longer have a need for.
4. Give things away. Oftentimes, family members are happy to take some of your belongings into their own homes. As they help you go through things, designate certain items to them or let them choose to take an item.
5. Use what you can. Waste not, want not, as the saying goes. Just because those dishes are 40 years old doesn’t mean you or your church can’t use them.
6. Save the memories. Consolidate those sentimental things you just can’t bear to part with by keeping them in some kind of storage bin that is clearly marked memories.
By Ericka Richardson
LFS Care Manager, African American Family Caregiver Program