A Simple Life

I’m into my third year of “Movin’ On” from unemployed-not looking for work status. I’m now looking to catch up on my big plan to answer the question, what should I do with all my stuff? Until recently, I was pretty much paralyzed into inaction. Life experience tells me that is never a good situation. It won’t end well.

I decided to break up the project into bite-sized pieces. Then tackle those pieces in even smaller bites – nibbles I call them. I’m making a difference now. It is taking me longer than I hoped or wanted, but my progress is steady.

When we travel, whether it be the occasional big trip or just a small weekend get-away, we like to return with a tangible item that evokes the joy and helps recall the memories of the trip. Often that item is something we hang on the wall.

At the start of the project, I identified at least 150 items. We decided to add more hanging locations on our walls and rotate our inventory, so we were always getting a fresh hit of great memories.

This project has taken a few months, but we are almost there now. We look forward to the new displays, as messy to others as it might seem.

Stuff usually has emotional connections, whether it is a photo we rarely look at or a small item our children made in their kindergarten days.

There are many ways to simplify your life. I want to discuss three difficult areas; wardrobe, books, and sentimental items.

Think about making it easier for your loved one by doing some of the decluttering now. I recommend using the “Limit Space” approach.

Clothing is a category you should consider reviewing both as a category and a location. So, try taking all the clothing items out of one closet and put them on the bed or table. Now each item has a connection or a story. I’d recommend that you select a number of hangers. If you have, for example, fifty, try 30. Everything you keep needs to hang on those 30 hangers. No fair storing multiple items on one hanger. It becomes a decision process of prioritizing rather than denying the emotional connection.

Likewise, with all those books, decide how many feet of shelving you can assign and then choose your books wisely. Just adding more shelving to your criteria would be like cheating at solitaire.

Lastly, what about those powerful sentimental items? Ask yourself if anyone will be happier if you keep the thing? Has a past gift served its purpose of indicating thoughtfulness and love?

Photos, ah, yes. Very tough. The simplest option is to make them all digital by scanning and keep everything. Commercial scanning can cost a bit. Maybe buy a scanner for a grandchild who could take the job on as a present to give back to you. If that isn’t feasible, here’s what I did when my Dad passed. He had thousands of slides of his adventurous trips. They had significant meaning for him but little meaning to others. I knew Dad liked the seasons, so I took one slide representing each of the seasons and made multiple collages that I gave to each family member.

There is no easy way. Using the Limit Space idea may help.

My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.

Glenn Walmsley