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Breaking from the Past

Swank New Couch

Professional Organizers are often called upon during a life transition – downsize, divorce, relocation, birth of a child, new job, etc.

Last year, I met a family preparing for a downsize and move across town. They were looking for assistance with the years of accumulation in their suburban home. Nestled in a cul-de-sac, there was scant evidence of the disharmony inside, save for the tired landscaping, crumbled driveway, and lack of seasonal decor.

Let’s jump right in and get started, right? Except we couldn’t. Chatting with the potential client, it was clear we were going to be squaring off against obstacles that ran deeper than the stacks – the apprehension of letting go of the past. And they needed to trust I understood that.

First things first, we addressed that I am not a therapist. I am a non-judgmental educator and organizer, but teaching and compassion can only go so far. Assured that they had additional supports as needed, we began to dive in.

Over the next year, we sorted and organized, discarded and donated, collected and contained. We tackled years of saved clothing, games, kitchen supplies, craft materials, decor, linens, – the stuff of life. Was it panic inducing for the client? Some days. Did we make a bigger mess? Yep. Did we encounter food particles, crusty clothing, and fond memories along the way? Yes indeed! It took patience, essential oils, and sheer determination, but our organizing routines were gathering steam.

We began to shift the pile momentum from “Here to Stay” to “On the Way Out!

With the accountability and promise of a fresh start, we began to shift the pile momentum from “Here to Stay” to “On the Way Out!” It was a shift, but the real motivation was yet to come.¬†We took a break from the piles and accumulation, so they could begin rehabbing the new place.

This week, I got to see it! The same level of attention paid to decisions about old belongings, was also being paid to decisions about the lay-out, furniture, flooring, tile, lighting and decor. In incremental shifts occurring at a workable pace, they are creating their new nest.

With this tangible effort well underway, they will soon to return to decisions about the piles of the past with a clearer mind. Items that will not “live” in the new daily living spaces, will be subject to further scrutiny…Will it live in an inventoried container in the storage area? Or no longer be a part of the family? Still formidable decisions for sure, but the visual of soaking in the new tub, taking tea looking out the bay window, or chatting on that swank new couch, changes the perception.

Living less in the past and more in the present. One decision at a time.

Do you know someone who is facing difficult down-sizing decisions?Share this article!

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