Letting go of the past to feel more free Written by Pam Holland
An empty nester lets go of the past to feel more free.
Kay and her husband raised two smart and talented children. Both were now out of college and working, so Kay was now ready to turn her attention to her house.
As Kay is a saver by nature, the house was full of schoolwork, clothing and even toys and children’s books, among other things. Kay wanted a more orderly life.
We started with the paper clutter. There were 20-plus years of bank, credit card, utility and department store bills and statements in drawers and closets all over the house. She bought a quality shredder, and we properly disposed of much of it. We filed current statements and important documents in a two-drawer lateral file cabinet that we found on Craigslist, which Kay had never used before.
Next, we went through the house room by room, one drawer, cabinet or closet at a time. In doing so, we got rid of items that were no longer wanted or needed and created more order.
We also replaced some furniture with other pieces that better suited her needs. Out went her daughter’s bunk beds to make room for a full bed. A matching set of dressers and nightstands, bought on Craigslist, provided better storage in the master bedroom and made the room look less crowded.
The process, which is ongoing, frequently involves difficult decisions. Each box or stack of papers contains sentimental items such as greeting cards on which the sender wrote touching messages. Also in residence were teaching materials used by her mother. There were also clothes her children wore as toddlers. While Kay has let go of some of the items, many remain.
Little changes have made a difference. For instance, we found many unused greeting cards all over the house. They are now organized by type (birthdays, Father’s Day, etc.) in baggies, and are all stored in one drawer.
Overall, Kay is delighted by what we’ve accomplished. She feels lighter, freer and less stressed. And that makes me, her organizer, happy.
Organizing and decluttering is a journey and we learn and grow as we release items that no longer serve us. Once beloved children’s items make room for yoga rooms, music rooms, art and craft rooms and other spaces which support meaningful adult pursuits and allow one to joyfully live one’s life as an empty nester. The love and the memories of the life lived in the home remains even after the no longer used items have gone to new homes.
Notes: The client's name has been changed to protect her privacy. This client works with our long-time organizer Jeanne Fox-Alston.
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