By Teresa K. Flatley
If you had just 15 minutes to grab stuff and leave your home, what would you take? How about if you had three hours? Or 24 hours?
These were the questions Jill Yesko, a Pittsburgh professional organizer at www.DiscoverOrganizing.com
, posed to a group at a library talk this week. For the quickest sweep of all, the audience offered suggestions of photos, medicine, letters, documents, credit cards and for women, of course, purses.
Those answers probably jibe with what you would think, too. Only 15 minutes? Go for the absolutely most important stuff.
After that, if you have a little more time, you would probably want to take your jewelry, maybe some art, your computer, some clothes and your car, an idea offered by one man who figured if disaster is happening, get as far away from it as you can! Good thought.
But if you look around our houses you would have no clue what's important to us since we have SO MUCH STUFF everywhere. And in our mind, all of this stuff is equally important. So when it comes time to downsize our homes, we are at a total loss as to what to get rid of -- and how.
The title of Jill's talk was Downsizing Your Home, not Your Lifestyle,
and she offered many good tips on doing that. But it ultimately comes down to getting rid of stuff -- of clutter, and that's hard to do for most of us.
I loved her definition for clutter: Delayed Decisions. That's it exactly. I will put something down in my kitchen or office, putting off a decision as to where it should "live" only to find it sitting in the same spot days, weeks and sometimes even months later. So, just because I couldn't come up with a good decision as to where it should go, it constantly annoys me and probably should have been out the door from the beginning. Jill says if you pick something up, be ready to make a decision about it at that moment. So what do we do? We don't pick it up!
At our ages, most of us are in the process of downsizing, thinking about downsizing or beginning to think about thinking about downsizing. Wherever you are in the planning, there's no way out. We have to get rid of stuff.
How to begin? Jill suggested getting a copy of my friend Vickie Dellaquila
's book entitled Don't Toss My Memories in the Trash,
which has an accompanying workbook. It is a great game plan for all of the steps in downsizing and moving.
In future newsletters, I will offer some tips on how to downsize culled from the masters. Not to worry. We can do this, and it will help if we all do it together.
On a personal note, we are going to clean out our attic this weekend. I haven't been up there in years and years, so am not even sure what is up there except for some baby stuff and maybe some college collectibles. Since we have lived without this stuff for 25 years, I don't think we need any of it, but when has that stopped us? Guess it wouldn't hurt to have Jill and Vickie on speed dial. Ha!