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Monday, August 15 2016

Are you ready to declutter but the items you want to get rid of are not yours?  When is it okay to throw away or donate other's possessions?  

There are some specific circumstances when it’s okay:

  • When you have received explicit permission to do so. There are times when I am working with a client in their master bedroom and their spouse is not present, nor wishes to participate in the process at that time.  Sometimes that spouse or partner will accept, or even appreciate, having the other manage his or her wardrobe decluttering for them. Sometimes, it's an elderly parent who might appreciate some help with the decluttering. They might give you some general guidelines to follow but otherwise allow you to decide what stays and what goes.
  • When the other person is a child who is too young to make such decisions.What is too young? Keep in mind that some children as young as three years old can be involved in the decluttering process.  They know what they like and do not like at that age and begin to start making decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of.  I find that parents are sometimes surprised at how much their children are willing to discard.
  • When you have the legal authority to make decisions for someone who can no longer make decisions for himself or herself. This scenario can come into play when you are dealing with an elderly person, a person who has a health issue that does not enable them to make decisions on their own, or, in certain circumstances, a hoarder who has provided a Power of Attorney to either a family member or someone else to make decisions on their behalf.  (I personally worked on a hoarding project several years ago where an attorney had Power of Attorney to make decisions for the client and hired me to bring order back into the home.)    

In general, however, it’s disrespectful to get rid of another person’s belongings, and it can build up resentment and distrust that have a wide range of negative repercussions. What can you do instead? The following are some suggestions:

  • Have a discussion about the items in question, where each party listens respectfully to the other person’s position. There’s always a chance that if you calmly explain why you’d like something to be discarded you can convince the other person to go along with you. Perhaps, when you better understand why someone wants to keep something that you want to discard, you’ll change your mind and decide it’s fine to have it stay. 
  • Reach a compromise. This is the basis of a good relationship.  Perhaps your husband has a pair of old, beat-up shorts that he loves to wear because they are comfortable and is not willing to part with them, as much as you do not like seeing him in them.  Why not agree that he can keep the shorts but not to wear them when the two of you go out together.  If there’s a disputed item of décor, maybe it can be displayed in a spot in the home where you rarely go.
  • Agree on boundaries. It might be okay to keep a pile of t-shirts for memorabilia purposes, but it needs tobe able to fit within a designated space: a dresser drawer, a storage box to be kept on the top shelf in the closet, or perhaps a shelf in the garage.  It's about what is a reasonable amount to keep. Pick a number that will work and select from there.  
  • Bring in a professional organizer. An impartial third party with recognized expertise can ask the right questions and make suggestions, all while avoiding the emotional landmines that can be triggered when a spouse or partner makes suggestions to the other. (I am proud to say I have been told over the years that I have saved a lot of marriages.) The process can be stressful but a professional knows how to approach the situation and keep it calm.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           If you are interested in eliminating the clutter that has accumulated anywhere in your home and want to avoid conflict with your partner, spouse or child or have been assigned the task of eliminating someone else's clutter and feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to contact me.  I am here to help you get through the process and reduce the stress.
Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:10 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, August 03 2016

I just returned from a whirlwind two week adventure on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Five others along with myself rode three motorcycles about 5800 miles from Pennsylvania to Ohio, Indianapolis, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnasota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indianapolis, Ohio and back to Pennsylvania.  

We saw some amazing sites including Glacier National Park, Badlands National Park, Devils Tower, Sturgis, Mt Rushmore and Mark Twain's hometown in Hannibal, MO among others.

The minimalistic part of this trip was a major challenge for me. I am used to having all of my clothing and accessories at my fingertips.  However, when you share a piece of luggage strapped onto the back of the Harley and have to life out of it for fourteen days, staying in a different hotel every night, you quickly learn how to be a minimalist.  

We each packed for only four days, having to do laundry several times throughout the trip.  I packed only 4 sleeveless, 4 shortsleeve, 4 longsleeve and two fleese tops along with 2 pair of pants, 1 pair of shorts, underware and socks for 4 days and 4 night shirts.  All accessories were travel size.  We relied on hotel shampoo, conditioner and soap for the most part and no blow dryer. I packed one pair of sneaks and one pair of flip flops along with a full set of raingear especially made for the Harley, a wind jacket, denim jacket and leather jacket for those cold and windy days and nights.  I lived mostly in my Harley boots.  It's amazing what you can fit in half of a suitcase that you share with your significant other. We packed all of our clothing by category and labeled each plastic bag they were stored in (after kneeling on them to squeeze the air out of them) to help quickly identify what we needed when we needed it as we traveled.

Riding on the bike for 14 days gave me a lot of time to reflect.

I began to feel that I was so materialistic at home, with choices of so many types of clothing at my fingertips and how I could actually survive and still be comfortable with so little while travelling.  It certainly gave me a whole new perspective. (Mind you, I have no intention of personally going more minimalistic at home. I did get tired of wearing the same clothing over and over again!)

The moral to this story is that, it is possible to live a much more simple life, if you so choose.  It's all a matter of mindset.

This lesson in life will stay with me for years to come and I will share it will my current and future clients to encourage them when they want to downsize and live a much more minimalistic life - focusing more on the important things in life and less on the material things.

If you need any personal help with downsizing and/or living a more minimalistic life, I can show you, first hand, how to do just that. As they say, "been there, done that"! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 12:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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