What to do with the Stuff in Your Life

Stuff. I have surrounded myself with things from my past—the December angel figurine my mother gave me when I was a little girl, the wooden deer pin from my Grandma Jo, the Avon Sweet Honesty girl brushing her hair. But as I’m entering into my 50th year, those things don’t hold the same meaning as they once did. I want to clear out. I seek a clean, clutter-free environment. Don’t get me wrong, Rageddy Ann still hangs out in my bedroom and there are treasures from my childhood lingering in the cedar chest. I’m not just tossing all memories away. But I am becoming more particular about what I keep.

Have you talked with your parents about their stuff? My hunch is that many of us avoid the topic. “Denial of our own or other’s mortality is often at the heart of why conversations about inheritance can be so sensitive,” said Marlene Stum, Ph.D. I included her work and also suggestions about how to address this topic in my book. The conversation doesn’t have to be uncomfortable, but it may be clumsy at first.

My radio show guest this week is someone who helps others gracefully part from their possessions. Dana Arvidson of Estate Sales Minnesota, is passionate and committed to decreasing the stress for their clients during a move, downsizing, divorce, or death. Whether you’re the adult child or the parent making the move, you don’t have to go through the “what do we do with this” alone. Get help from an estate sale planner, like Dana.

While I sift through my stuff memories can easily consume me. Sometimes I keep the item, but often I’m okay with letting it become new memories for someone else. I have noticed, however, that as I let go of things from my past, I make room to be more fully in the present. There’s just not as much stuff cluttering my space and that feels like a gift.

Categories: Caregiving Issues, Caregiving Resources

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