The past month I helped two friends/clients pack up years of memories to move across the country. That seems to be a lot of the norm here in California these days....sigh. I will miss them terribly. In both cases, the friends (sometimes at the urging of their adult children), asked me to help them with decluttering and packing. Both had lived in their homes a LONG time, with years of memories of families now grown. Whether you are helping someone to declutter and move across town or across the country, it can be a daunting task. Moving itself is draining, and then sorting through years and years of things and memories can bring out the worst in a lot of us. Here's a gentle way to help them decide what really needs to go.
1) Does it make you mad, bad, or sad to remember this item? (If so, why keep it?)
2) Do you think you will need to use it again where you are going? What circumstances would need to be in place for you to need it?
3) When was the last time you used (or wore) it?
4) Rather than spend the money and time to pack and move it, is this something you could easily replace if you got to your new place and needed it?
5) Does this require a lot of time and energy to care for in your new place?
6) If you knew someone who really needed this or an organization that could pass this on to someone who needed it, would that be easier to let it go?
7) Are you feeling guilty because someone gave it to you? Especially someone no longer with us? How do you think they would feel about your feeling guilty?
8) If it's something that reminds them of an event, Do you have anything else that reminds you of this event that you can take instead?
Sometimes people don't realize they are prioritizing things over people when they struggle with letting things go. A gentle reminder that "the most important things in life aren't things" can go a long way.