How do you live your life? Are you a person like me who used to have an active, busy life with work and other outside interests but now you spend the majority of your time at home? Do you have children at home or did you recently become an “empty nester”? What is your life like today?
It took my mother and me awhile to realize that our home no longer matched our lifestyle. I think it took longer for Mom than it did me but it was true. We had changed. Our lives had changed. Mom was always a very active person who entertained people in her home, was very involved in activities at our church, had numerous social activities and loved to cook and bake to give away. I was also involved in my church, had a very stressful job, and was also socially active. The first major change was when I was diagnosed with three incurable but not life threatening diseases, chronic illnesses. My active lifestyle and stressful job had exacerbated my conditions and I eventually had to go on disability. It took a couple of years for me to realize that not only had my health changed but so had my lifestyle and my finances. Then Mom started to have some new health issues and started to slow down. When you are very active people and you have always been socially inclined toward entertaining and doing, the need to change to a more at home lifestyle not only means having to accept this emotionally and mentally but learning to let go of things related to that old life.
To put this in perspective means taking a new and unbiased look at your life and how you live it. I found that everything from what we had in our kitchen to the furniture we had to the crafts we did were affected. I have always been one who was very organized and kept little above what I needed so for me this change only meant taking the time to declutter what I no longer needed. For my mother this was a major issue. Not only has she struggled with the changes in her energy and abilities but she has struggled with the decluttering of no longer needed items. Coming from a generation that learned to store things “they might need” and have more than one of an item, Mom really did struggle and is still struggling.
Here are some things that I have come to realize during this time.
- If your lifestyle changes your need for “stuff” changes. My mother no longer does any craft making. She had drawers and boxes of craft supplies to declutter. She also has been decluttering many kitchen items as we no longer entertain much and when we do it is very casual.
- Your lifestyle changes affect more than stuff they also affect how you use rooms and even how big a home you may need. As Mom has gotten older we have moved more things up to counter level or above so she doesn’t have to bend over as much.
- Each person will struggle with these changes and for different lengths of time. Like my mother is doing.
- If more than one person is affected by the changes then the person who first instigates any decluttering needs to express why and how they have come to their decisions with any others affected. Mom was very agitated by my decluttering until I realized that talking about why I was doing something took that problem away. It also helped her to make similar decisions.
- Don’t push anyone else involved but keep communicating about the changes YOU are making. This is what I did with Mom.
- It doesn’t have to be done today or even tomorrow. One item a day or less is fine.
- Don’t declutter something on a whim or because you haven’t done any decluttering lately. Think things through. We have an immersion blender and a regular blender. We kept both because of how we use them for different things.
- Don’t get depressed if it takes a while to get others on board. Do what you can with what you can.
- Remember that when organizing what is left to fit the storage placement to how it is used by the one who uses it most.
- Remember to take a Strangers View every once in a while.
Today’s Mini Mission
In the inimitable words from Peter Walsh ~ “If you bought it over the phone after 8:00pm , chances are you don’t need it.” Declutter it.
Eco Tip For The Day
Got flies ~ Break out the old fashioned fly swatter rather than the spray. Propellent, insecticide, the can, manufacturing… ~ none good for the environment.