The decision has been made – ‘WE NEED TO MOVE TO A SMALLER HOME’. The time has come to let go of the life we lived in a large family home for the benefit of raising a family and it is time to look after ourselves. Smaller space = less maintenance, less expense and more time to focus on what we want to do. Does this sound familiar?
As a professional organiser working in the greater Cape Town area, it is my job to assist my clients with the process of decluttering, sorting and organising their possessions. These possessions are more than just things; they are often what define people.
Clients can have the following attachments to their things, I have broken it down into different categories. Let’s take a look.
- Clients paid a lot of money for an item and don’t feel as if they got their money’s worth.
- An item was worn to a special event and they want to hold on to that memory.
- The client bought something that didn’t quite fit and imagined themselves losing weight to fit into that item – a sense of failure is what ties them to the item.
- It was a sale buy – what a find!!
- Books bring a lot of pleasure to a lot of people, but once read they just take up space. They need to be stored and dusted on a regular basis.
- Other than a few favourites we need to ask ourselves if we really want to keep all these books.
- The internet has so much information that things like cookery books are almost unnecessary – only a few favourites are really needed.
When a client is considering downsizing a ruthless approach is the best. What was needed in the home when raising a family is no longer necessary when one is considering fewer people living in a smaller space. Excess glassware, crockery, cutlery and linen just adds to the distress of trying to fit life into a smaller home with less storage. Once again, it can be a very emotional journey, letting go of a life once lived.
This can be one of the most difficult areas of downsizing and include gifts received from loved ones, photos of holidays enjoyed, mementoes bought on travels overseas, cards and letters received from loving family and friends over the years.
When downsizing, furniture is one of the most difficult things to part with, and probably one of the most important aspects due to space and suitability requirements. The large sofa or armchairs probably won’t fit into a smaller home or they might completely dwarf the new space. A large dining room table with chairs and carvers would be totally out of place in a smaller home. Unfortunately, second hand furniture does not have a good resale value. Unless the items are antiques or are pieces that are popular and in excellent condition, it is disappointing to let things go for less than what the client thinks they are worth.
For clients who have enjoyed hobbies, and have over the years accumulated various collections of things that they have used, or thought they would use in the pursuit of a hobby, letting go of these materials can be very difficult.’ I am planning to use that material for something’, or ‘I am going to complete that jersey’. If you haven’t done it or completed the project by this stage, chances are you are not going to in future.