Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
First of all, this story has a happy ending, although it sure didn’t look like it would when it all began.
A few months ago, a dear friend of mine was in a very dark place and disappeared. Literally gone. You can image what my husband and I feared. My friend has no close relatives and no spouse; I am the executor of his estate. I felt a lot of emotions during this time, and one of them was outrage: “How DARE you go off and leave me with all this sh*t to take care of! How dare you not clean up your own mess before you dumped it in my lap!” You see, my friend is a bit of a collector (perhaps even a bit of a hoarder) and his mother, who hung onto to everything she ever purchased, large and small, had died the previous year. He had all of his stuff and all of hers too, all undealt with. I couldn’t believe that in addition to dumping a giant emotional burden on me and my family, he’d also left me with a huge mess: a house that couldn’t be sold because of unfinished remodeling projects; an oversized garage was full of his and his mother’s stuff; a bedrooms serving as a storage room. I was furious (and heartbroken, and scared, and determined to find him, and a mash of every other emotion you can image).
The best news is: We found him and in the subsequent several months, he’s doing so much better. It’s truly a gift from God.
What lessons did I learn from this dreadful experience, and how does it relate to decluttering?
1. Organize your personal papers. What if, God forbid, the worst occurs and you die unexpectedly? Do your loved ones, who are already shaken by your death, know how to access your accounts? Do they even know where you bank? Can they access your email account? Could they cancel your movie rental subscription, magazines, and price club membership? Or are they going to be stuck guessing?
2. Make sure the you have a current will, power of attorney, and medical directive. (At least in the U.S.) I am not kin to my friend, and it clearly could have created a problem for me. This is so important for everyone, but especially, especially important to those who are single. There are will maker programs available, which I cannot endorse, but the power of attorney and medical directive are simply fill-in forms. They vary slightly from state to state, so search for them on the computer.
3. Finish one project before you start two more. People aren’t nearly as good as multitasking as they thing they are, and multitasking your life – in a big way – isn’t any more successful. Finish one project before you begin another. Don’t start painting the living room and removing the trim in the bedroom at the same time. Don’t have two quilting projects going at once. Finish one thing then move onto the next, or you may leave behind a troublesome trail of partially completed projects.
4. Clean up your own mess. We’ve all read comments on this site about people who were thrown into a giant mess left behind at the death of a relative. Sometimes no one knew Aunt Bessie was a hoarder, and the family has one weekend to clean out the house and put it up for sale. One of my employees told me about leaving her mothers’ dishes boxed up and in the trash pile because she wasn’t able to cart them away during the mad cleaning weekend. If you don’t want to deal with your junk, just think how much someone else doesn’t want to deal with it either. If you’re keeping your belongings because you really want to make sure they go to just the right owner, let me tell you, when you’re gone, they’re going wherever they land, so if it’s really important to you, take care of it now, while you can. Don’t feel overwhelmed. You can do this, one day at a time, 365 days a year.
5. If you’re struggling with poor mental health, don’t be afraid to tell others. God put us here to help one other.
Today’s Mini Mission
Perhaps what is stuck on the front of your fridge also spills over to the sides. Time to clear that off as well.
Today’s Declutter Item
We have no use for these chains, not that I can remember a time that we did. They have been loitering in the garage since out return from America and we in storage for 7 years while we were there. If we haven’t used them yet I dare say we never will so they will be donated like so many other things.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast