Can Less "Stuff"
Equal Happiness . . .?
by Jean Marie Herron
I came across a recent newsletter from my colleague Niraj Chhabra from Ameriprise Financial Services
with the above title. It really caught my attention. I instinctively know this to be true innately but also based on my clientele.
Many, if not all of my clients, feel like they are drowning in an ocean of things (or paper) especially senior citizens. The emotions can run the gamut (Deb-insert that picture of the hand with the stones here I asked you to save please.) from anger to shame.
Urge to Purge
Recently I’ve been working quite a lot with seniors who all of a sudden have the “Urge to Purge”. It could be because a spouse has a serious health issue and cannot come back into the home due to a medical issue. Another example is the passing away of a loved one and the homeowner has to deal with the inheritance of every item in someone else’s home. These two examples can throw one’s organization into turmoil. Often I am shocked that my clients have not taken the time every 5 years or so to perform a “major purge”. Of course I never say that aloud and I try very hard not to judge, but I am just a human professional organizer who thinks this, even if I keep it to myself except when writing my newsletters . . .
"Decide to Decide"
But I am not the typical homeowner either because I have a partial OCD brain-type. And I’m 50 instead of 70, 80 or 90. Therefore I have the physical stamina to oust the clutter and my children can help. They are still home and not across the country with professional jobs and families to raise like so many of my clients.
I was on an assessment the other day. My new client was in her 80’s and her husband was in his mid-90’s. As she took her chair lift up the stairs so she could show me the second floor I noticed a trap door in the hallway and asked if that was the attic. She said it was but she hadn’t been up there in 15 years and she was sure it was quite full. If it was anything like the basement, we were going to be in for a long haul together.
Except for a good size pathway to the washer and dryer, there were going to be hundreds of decisions to be made on how to purge this home of items she/he no longer love, use or need and haven’t in decades. That’s the sad part. This can all be avoided.
Decision-Making Leads to Happiness
In order to get organized, one must make decisions. Making decisions leads to action. Action takes one from dormant to proactive. Proactivity stimulates our brains and gets us on the right track.
I’ve noticed several common comments when I have completed an organizing job:
➢ I feel like I’ve lost 20 pounds.
➢ I’m finally getting this off my list. I can’t believe it took me this long to do this.
➢ This is the best present my children ever bought me
➢ I love my home again, it’s actually beautiful.
➢ I’ve been looking for that, I’m so glad we found it!
➢ Now I feel comfortable knowing what I have and how much I have and where it all is.
➢ This process is very therapeutic, do all your clients feel this way?
➢ It makes me so happy to get this out of my house.
➢ The stress is gone because I know where all my important papers are and can get them in one minute.
➢ I’m thrilled someone else can use my things.
➢ I feel so cleansed.
These are joyful people who have gone through the process of making the hard decisions and putting the time it takes into getting organized. They now live with “less stuff” in a home surrounded only by their favorite things, important papers and items they truly use. Now they are happy.