For many people, downsizing means moving to a smaller home. And that means purposefully getting rid of excess so that you and your stuff fit in the new space. But for others, downsizing means redesigning your home so that you “age in place” and live only on the ground floor. Either way, downsizing usually requires that you reduce what you keep by about half.
If that prospect feels daunting, imagine how daunting it might be for your heirs to declutter what you’re not able to. How will they decide what had meaning to you, and what is just stuff you kept for no particular reason? How can they make informed decisions if they don’t know what is treasure and what is junk?
Many of my clients grapple with this dilemma. They are burdened with decisions about what to do with heirlooms whose significance is lost. Clients often feel obligated to keep an item that they find ugly or useless, because “it’s an heirloom.” Or they suffer guilt about giving up heirlooms that they can’t use. But what is the value of an item if its significance is unknown? What sort of history does it represent? Is it treasure? Is it junk?
Ultimately, downsizing means taking control of the history you pass down to your heirs. Instead of overwhelming them with a house filled with significant and insignificant stuff, control your personal history. Ditch the unimportant items and tell your heirs the significance of the items you keep. You can do that by itemizing what’s significant (and why) in a notebook or an email or video or your will. You can also explain what’s not significant but was useful (such as cooking utensils, bedding, clothing), which your heirs can donate with no second-guessing. And what about items that don’t have significance beyond your lifetime? Giving permission to your heirs to let those items go is another way to take control of your history … and theirs.
About Space Editing
Space Editing is an insured and bonded organizing business in Boulder, Colorado. Interested in learning more about how to keep your spaces decluttered? Contact us today by calling 303.817.4424 or emailing Judith@space-editing.com.