GRATITUDE: SOMETIMES WE JUST NEED TO SAY YES

"How do I find the balance of saying YES and NO to my parents as they downsize their home and ask me to take items?”  This common question comes from adult children who are helping their parents right-size or downsize their homes. 

The adult child's question about a balance of YES and NO frequently follows a time of saying: “I can’t take any more of your stuff, Mom!” (See YOUR DOWNSIZING CAN’T BE MY UPSIZING)

Although “upsizing” was not their goal, two friends offer their wisdom about taking more-than-less as they help their parents downsize.

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DOWNSIZING SENTIMENTAL INSCRIBED ITEMS

What do I do with those items inscribed or engraved with my name that catch my heart every time I see them?

This question came from readers who are moving or downsizing when they read my post  What To Do With Old Awards

The size of their new home means that these items can no longer be easily displayed. In several cases, these inscribed items were found in basement boxes that had sat unpacked for years. A flood of sentimental memories emerged as each item was uncovered.  

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WHAT TO DO WITH OLD AWARDS

"What do I do with old awards, trophies, and plaques?” ask several clients as they downsize their homes.

Physical items received for a sports championship or a prize-winning 4-H heifer or recognition of community or employment service remind us of hard work and accomplishment.  Perhaps we also have an award that was presented to a parent or grandparent.

What do we do when we are downsizing and have less space to keep them?

Ask yourself, do I want to display this item and am I inspired when I see it?   If the answer is YES, display it where you can appreciate it.

If the response is NO, perhaps it’s time to let it go. 

Here are a few options as you consider YES or NO: 

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PACKING DECISIONS: IT'S ALL ABOUT TIMING

Ten people in my circle are moving homes in the next two months. As they pack, all are downsizing decades of accumulated stuff. They all have lots to say about the timing of decisions at a time when the ground feels as though it is shifting beneath them. 

in the midst of this upheaval in their lives, they offer these helpful hints:

  • Set limits on what times during the day you will make decisions. Although some of us are morning larks and others are night hawks that doesn't mean that the best decisions are made upon first waking or late at night.

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ONE BOOKCASE ~ ONE LIFETIME

One bookcase can contain the books of a lifetime! 

Some of us have a lifelong love affair with books. They helped us escape to a fantasyland as a child and continue to inspire us today. For others, a book collection represents the tools-of-a-trade or career or tells the story of family life through the decades. 

Do you feel that you can’t part with books yet your own downsizing means you need to?  

Here’s one plan to consider.

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DOWNSIZING BOOKS

Are you someone who owns many books and the time has come to rightsize or downsize?

For any of us who are book lovers or whose career has involved collecting books, there comes a time when we know that at least some of them must go.  This can be a very challenging task! 

For some readers, organization guru Marie Kondo’s question does a book “spark joy” may help you quickly decide to save a favourite children’s book or let go of one that is only partially read or you will never read again. 

However, for many of us, we look at our bookcases, and joy abounds on every shelf!   

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THE FIVE OR TEN GAME: MAKING DOWNSIZING FUN

Are you looking for a way to make your downsizing or spring decluttering more fun?  How about the Five OR 10 Game?

If you are burdened with too many bowls or screwdrivers or garden rakes or ball caps (perish the thought!), here is one way to decrease your numbers.

As your eye wanders over your collection, set yourself a number. Is it five or 10 or 12 (what’s your lucky number?). That number is your limit. Now choose which five or 10 or 12 items to keep. 

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GOOD-BYE RED SHOES, GOOD-BYE GUILT

I am rooting around in a closet to find a seasonal jacket, and I cast my eyes on my beloved unworn red shoes! 

I love THOSE shoes!  I love RED shoes! 

I feel strong and positive.  I could walk anywhere and face any challenge when I have red shoes on my feet.

I have a hard foot to fit and it took me a very long time to find those red shoes.

I paid a lot for them and expected that they would give me years of service.

I wore them ONCE several years ago.  Long enough to mark them up beyond returning. 

Long enough to realize that they didn’t fit properly after all.  

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POMODORO DOWNSIZING: WHAT’S THAT?

How many of us have a pile of stuff that we just can’t get sorted?  I’m overwhelmed by 3 boxes of unsorted papers in a corner of my office.  I wonder every day if there is anything valuable in those boxes. Looking at them tires me out and I ignore them for another week. 

Similarly, friends Pete & Sue have a shed filled with old garden tools and feel overwhelmed at the thought of organizing it.  My neighbour Linda has a corner in the lower level of her house piled high with outgrown family clothes, school supplies, and sports equipment in disarray.

Do you share a similar feeling of “I don’t know where to start”?

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CHALLENGING CONVERSATIONS WHEN DOWNSIZING WITH SENIORS

No matter how much we are able to tap into our compassion (see Mindful Compassion While Seniors Downsize ), there are times when we need to initiate challenging conversations when we are downsizing with our elders.

Their energy is flagging, and so is ours. There's a time limit on this project as their move is happening next week. It feels as though there are too many decisions to make, and too much stuff lined up for the moving truck. 

If you have been firm about not taking on your parents’ stuff (see Your Downsizing Cannot Be My Upsizing), this may be the time to give a little.

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YOUR DOWNSIZING CANNOT BE MY UPSIZING

YOUR DOWNSIZING CANNOT BE MY UPSIZING

I love this pithy line shared by an adult daughter who is helping her mother downsize.  After selecting what she would take to her new smaller home, the older woman suggested that her daughter could take much of what was left. Her daughter’s response was “Mom, your downsizing cannot be my upsizing.”

In Mindful Compassion While Seniors Downsize, I shared some reasons why seniors struggle with downsizing.  For many of these generous folk, an easy solution would be for their adult children to take everything that the senior no longer needs and incorporate the items into their own homes.  

How many of us have been asked to do just that? And can’t or choose not to. 

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MINDFUL COMPASSION WHILE SENIORS DOWNSIZE

Many adults are helping senior family members downsize because of an imminent move to a smaller home or because their current home feels too full of stuff. 

Unless continuous clearing of possessions has been a priority for older generations or they have strong minimalist tendencies, most seniors have a lot of stuff.  This may be difficult for younger generations to understand. I commonly hear “Why can’t you get rid of stuff? or “Why did you buy all this stuff?” as younger family members struggle with their feelings of frustration and weariness in supporting their elders.

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CORRALLING SENTIMENTAL ITEMS

How do you keep on downsizing and not get stuck with YOUR OWN sentimental items such as photos, letters, greeting cards, and mementos?   This question came from a client whom I will call Laurie who has read Downsizing INHERITED Sentimental Objects.

Laurie is rightsizing and organizing her own home, and at the same time is helping her parents downsize to a smaller home.

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MARIE KONDO & WHY DO WE HAVE SO MUCH STUFF?

Marie Kondo. Does that name ring a bell?  
You may have heard Kondo's name on a talk-show, watched her on Netflix or YouTube, read about her on Facebook, or spotted The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in your favourite bookstore or library.  
Marie Kondo is a Japanese home organizing sensation whose minimalist methods of downsizing are front and centre in various media.  
Kondo asks “Does it spark JOY?” as she encourages everyone to touch each item in their home.

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DOWNSIZING INHERITED SENTIMENTAL OBJECTS

How do you let go of inherited sentimental objects when there are just too many tools, teacups, kitchen utensils, ornaments, or (add your category)?

This question came from a client whom I will call Dave who had inherited 20 old tools from his father. He had vivid memories of his Dad using each of the tools around the farm or house. Every time that Dave saw the tools, he remembered his Dad with great affection. However, he was moving to a smaller space and had his own more up-to-date tools of which he needed very few. HIs Dad's beloved old tools had become a burden, yet he couldn’t bear to put the tools in a garage sale as he felt like he was ‘selling’ his father. 

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THE KEY TO NEW YEAR’S DOWNSIZING RESOLUTIONS

What’s the key to start my New Year’s resolutions about downsizing and organizing?  I heard several versions of that question over the holiday season. 

I learned awhile ago that one-size-does-not-fit-all when it comes to downsizing!  Personality, motivations and circumstances all impact how we best start and keep downsizing resolutions.

What method or key is going to unlock consistent downsizing possibilities for you? 

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DECKING A DOWNSIZED HALL

In the midst of this holiday season, are you one who decorates inside and out creating a home festooned with garlands and lights from every doorframe and fencepost?  Or are you a minimalist who gives your unique nod to the season with a small display?  Or are you somewhere in between?

I love the decorations of this season! I am always glad to put them up and sad to take them down.

However, I recall a year where I hardly had the energy to drag the tubs and boxes upstairs let alone unpack them. 

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GIFT-GIVING EXPECTATIONS: ROOTS & WINGS

Parents give their children roots to grow and wings to fly. This may apply to family treasures as well!

How do we gift from our collections without placing heavy Expectations on the recipient?

Recent blog posts focus on gift-giving from our abundant collections and story-telling about family treasures.

While helping people through downsizing, I often hear:

“The next generations don’t want my stuff or won’t take good care of it." 

How do we gift from our collections without placing heavy Expectations on the recipient?

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