aim4order professional organizer

Dealing with Other People’s Stuff

dealing with other people's stuffOCTOBER 2017
“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”
– George Carlin

Dealing with other people’s stuff

Top 3 Reasons that People Have Other People’s Stuff in their homes: 
1. Children have moved out but don’t have room for their stuff in their current homes.
2. Siblings or other family members have asked if you would please store their stuff for ‘a little while.’

3. Family members have passed away and you had no choice but to box it up and bring it home.

In each of these circumstances, it’s very difficult to say “NO” at the time of the ask. Think about how long the items have been sitting in your home and consider taking some baby steps to get that stuff out before the holidays hit.

How to Proceed:
If your children have stuff in your home, nothing works like a deadline.
  •  Call your child(ren) and explain that you have entered the stage in your life where you are downsizing to hopefully save them the trouble of having to do it when you’re no longer here.
  • If that sounds too morbid, then you can simply say that you need the extra space because other parts of the house are getting crowded, which is likely true – right?
  • Pick a mutually agreed upon deadline where they will either tell you or take what they absolutely need, but you have their blessings to get rid of old college books, papers (not thesis reports, of course), posters, junk drawers, stuffed animals and anything else that may be lurking in the dusty, dirty boxes. Write the deadline on your calendar or in your phone.
  • Remind them again 2 weeks before, 1 week before and then take action by getting rid of the stuff – donate, trash or sell. (If you’d like to call me at this time, I’d be happy to help you!).
If siblings or other family members have used you for their free storage facility, read #1 Baby step and apply that to the other family members. Deadlines work!

Regarding family members who have passed, this is the hardest one of the three because there is a lot of emotion, grief, memories, and volume… a perfect storm to avoid whenever possible. But let’s reframe this – instead of dreading what you might see or feel, position yourself to discover the most precious items that will bring back only the happy times with that person. Find a few things that you can CHERISH and DISPLAY to remind you of happy times. Less is more, which means the less you have, the more you will enjoy it because it won’t be diluted by clusters of other clutter. (I would be honored to help you navigate this when you’re ready).

I’d love to hear what’s most difficult for you to tackle… please take a moment or two to email me.

“Helping Baby Boomers and their Parents Lighten their Loads.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in your home, contact me. Together, we can transform your home into a happy, tidy place where you can feel at peace. We can also get you ready for your next move… more enjoyable, faster and easier!


Cindy Bernstein, Owner and Professional Organizer

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