Oh wow! Can this be true? You find that special house, exactly what you wanted in the Western Cape; white dunes, blue seas and a garden with the natural splendour of fynbos! You can already imagine sitting in the shade of your veranda writing your memoirs with a glass of wine next to you with the soft breeze of the ocean rustling through your notes.
On impulse you put in an offer to purchase, excited about the move and the prospect of living the life you dreamt of, without contemplating the physical clutter that you have accumulated over the years!
You realise that living in the big house after your children have gone is ridiculous! Lovingly you start preparing your house for the sale, painting and cleaning. With that your forgotten past emerges. Stuff that was hiding away in overfilled cupboards, spilled onto floors, surfaces and the garage. Everything screaming for your attention! You attempt organising the stuff but seem to be going around in circles, not getting anything done!
You start questioning yourself, should you retract your offer and rather wait, because the change and sorting your possessions is just too daunting!
A client explained her feelings to me as follows: “I feel like I am diving in dark waters, seeing the shimmering light far above me on the surface. My foot is snagged by something and anxiety creeps in! The more I struggle to release myself from the snag the more difficult it becomes to breathe until my chest becomes so tight, that I can’t breathe anymore! The light fades and I just give up!” This is overwhelmed at its worst!
What are the snags that are holding you back? Are they obsolete items, piles of paper, books that you still want to read, unfinished projects, duplicates of stuff, tools and appliances that you never use? Or are they psychological snags that you feel, you need to prove or achieve something?
There are stages in life where you’ll need to make a change. Be it after a birth, marriage, death, divorce, empty nest, retirement, relocation or career change. Transition is one of the most difficult processes in life. It is filled with uncertainty, fear and excitement all at the same time.
There is light at the end of the tunnel for anyone who feels this way! Only you can cut loose the snags that are holding you back to move on to the next stage in your life. Think of your life as a book in which you are now starting the next chapter.
1. The New Chapter
If sorting, purging and organising your possessions seem daunting, you’ll need to look at the whole process differently. Proactively manage the change that you want to make by cutting loose the snags that are weighing you down. Only then can you move forward and embrace this new chapter. It isn’t only about getting rid of obsolete items but a journey of self discovery, determining where you are in the here and now and finding what is important to you.
So how do you determine what is important in this new phase. You need to be realistic about activities that you will partake in and the physical space that you’ll have. You’ll have to ask yourself questions about what you want for your future.
2. How do your belongings affect you and the people around you?
Do your belongings create a wall around you, weighing you down? Do they prevent you from interacting with your family, or doing the things that you really should? Are you too busy with your stuff that you don’t have time for anything else? Are they robbing you of time and peace of mind? If that is the case you seriously need to purge!
3. The Process
- Focus on one area at a time, e.g. the boxes in the garage, to make space for the things that you want to keep for the next chapter. Be careful not to start everywhere – that will just lead to even bigger overwhelm.
- Keep only the relevant. Simply getting rid of stuff and decluttering is not the answer. Free-up your space and time of the things that are no longer relevant. Examine why you have the stuff in the first place, this creates an opportunity for self-discovery, growth and release. Determine why you should keep an item. Do you love it, use it, will it be functional for what you are planning for your future and do you have space for it?
- Let go of anything that; makes you sad, you haven’t used in the past year, makes you feel guilty or you still need to finish, like a project you know you never will.
- Sentimental Items, memorabilia. Ask yourself why you have it. Is it necessary to keep it or will you remember the person who has given it to you or the enjoyable occasion without the item.
- Give away any item others could still use.
- Recycle plastics, papers, glass and cans that can’t be reused.
- Categorise the keepers and containerise them, find them a home in a cupboard or pack them for the move.
4. Need a hand
Are you still feeling overwhelmed and not reaching your desired outcome? Ask a friend or family member to assist you in the process and if you rather want an unbiased outsider, contact a professional organiser who will be able to guide you through this life changing process and assist you to make decisions and find answers.
As you cut loose the strands, as you let go of the items that no longer serve or are of no benefit to you in the new chapter, you’ll be able to surface and breathe again. You’ll be able to move forward motivated and excited toward the light at the end of the tunnel, your new tranquil home and your new life with all the new experiences, is waiting for you! Enjoy the journey!