Boxing Up A Life Part Two


Last week I blogged about how painful it was to pack up my son as he prepares to move 250 miles away to college this week. I not only packed up the stuff he was taking to college, but also the stuff he was leaving behind. This one container of memories will go to his forever home and I will store it for him in the meantime. As I wrote the blog, my husband told me that I should be prepared to make people cry. I did. And I heard from some of them.


I was reminded in these exchanges just how important it is to go through our possessions when our mood is lifted and it is a positive experience. One friend reminded me of when we were in college together and her parents got a sudden divorce and her childhood home sold in less than six weeks. She reminisced that her mom packed up her room in boxes and it took her years to go through those boxes, and even then, years later it was very painful.


I think of my own parents home, where they have lived for almost 25 years. It is a home full of memories. This is a house that someday will need to be boxed up. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but we all come to a physical end someday. Each time I visit my parents I see less and less “stuff” at their house. I am very mindful of when I give gifts to make it consumables, like a bouquet of flowers for my mom or dog toys for my dad {for his dogs, not actually for him.}


I recently joked with a friend that I am going to have a box in my house that is titled “throw away, don’t open” for those things I don’t want anyone to see upon my death, like my love letters from my husband. There are things I want to keep private.


Here are some tips to get you thinking about boxing up your life:


1. Walk around your house and think of your loved ones going through your home. Is it going to be an easy process? Are they going to know the treasures from the junk? How are they going to know?


2. Have a conversation. Yes, sometimes just talking can help. Explain to your family why things are important to you and should be held onto. Please, please I beg of you, do not guilt them into keeping anything. We live in a different society where possessions are more transitory. Your family may not want something that you think is a treasure.


3. Let go of perceived value. We may think that grandmas china that has been passed on for 100 years has monetary value, but chances are the only value is sentimental. Be ok with that and move on.


4. Start to let go of “stuff”. Chances are you won’t miss it. It is ok to start living a simpler life with fewer possessions. If you feel the need to ask your kids if they want stuff, ask them. Take a picture or call them and ask. You may think they want it, but chances are they don’t. Go back to the second step and review why.


5. Take one area of your home at a time. Don’t think you are going to tackle your entire home. Take one drawer, closet, box at a time. The saying goes, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Same is true for your home. Just do bits and pieces at a time. When I organize my clients, I hand them small piles and they sort those piles. It is easier when done in manageable sizes.


6. Know when to ask for help. Going through our life possessions is not a fun process. However looking back can be a reminder of the happy times and what a good life we are living. But there are those times that reinforcements need to be brought in. Call a professional organizer in your community who is experienced. Call a friend who can give you advice without your feelings being hurt.


7. Treasure the important things. I am always reminded that if you love it, you should use it. If the china is important to you, use it. Don’t hide it away in a box. I had a set of crystal glasses that my husband and I bought when we were first married. We put them away when the kids were young and now they are out and being used. As each one breaks, I am not sad. I think to myself, at least they got used.


8. Back up the really important things. To me that is family photos and hand written recipes. Start implementing a way to keep these items safe. Are you going to scan them in? Hire a service? Hire a teenager?


9. Start making memories not from your possessions. My final tip is to remember that you are not your possessions. Start letting go. As my husband and I begin the downsizing process, I see it as a challenge to live with less and less “stuff” and travel more with our friends and family. Memories don’t take up space or need to be dusted. Memories don’t need to be insured or maintained.


To Joyful, Organized Living,

MS. Simplicity

Serving the Fargo-Moorhead area as well as North Dakota and South Dakota. Also seeking new representatives for Clever Container in all areas of the country.