Yesterday, as I was helping a client (we’ll call Jennifer) prepare for her mom’s estate sale. While going through her mom’s things, Jennifer ran across an entire box of old Christmas cards that her mom had saved over the decades. She immediately thought, ‘Why on earth would Mom save all of these old cards??’
Then, in the next moment, she realized that she was doing the exact same thing! The first thing she did once she got back to her own home? Pulled out her own box of old cards and tossed them into the trash! That was her ‘a-ha moment’, when she realized that her kids would have to spend weeks and months dealing with all of her stuff. She now wants to radically declutter now, instead of leaving the burden to her children.
Last week, Patricia asked for a consultation with me. As I always do at these meetings, I asked her what made her decide to call in a professional organizer. Patricia immediately responded that her grown children had desperately asked her to not leave the burden of decades of clutter for them to have to deal with upon her death.
Kristen had a heart-to-heart conversation with her father a few years ago. She tried to explain how important it was to begin to declutter his home, so that, on his passing, her grief wouldn’t turn into frustration and anger at dealing with a lifetime of acquired belongings. He didn’t listen until one of his own friends told him that the worst thing he could do was to ‘leave all stuff for your girls to have to clean up.’ He’s since begun to slowly clear out some of the clutter.
What do Jennifer, Patricia, and Kristen have in common? They recognize the heavy toll that is having to spend weeks and months of sorting out a loved one’s belongings. We all have a legacy to pass along – let’s not let it be one mired in basements full of dusty, forgotten boxes. What legacy are you leaving for your kids?