The Reunion is over, and we now turn to other subjects of life and aging to "people of a certain age." I hope that others find these interesting and will leave comments which might "inspire" another blog entry. You never know!
Some time ago, I alluded in a blog to our stuff "owning" us. I know personally of dozens of people "my" age that have said to me, "I need to do something, but I don't know where to begin.” People our age are inheriting from our parents, those of us who are married get the double impact, plus we have a lifetime of accumulation of our own!
I am going to try and attack this subject with my own experience. Keep in mind, I have not arrived and I will never arrive (at least until I can get Jerry to part with 35 years of teaching papers that are on the bottom shelf in the basement). But here is what happened in my life. See if you can relate.
In 2004, Jerry was done in with the yard work, and we began the conversation of "What's next?" We knew the "next" would not occur until Joel graduated from high school in 2007, but the conversation began in 2004. We still had a college student, we were planning a wedding, and had a three-sport athlete in high school. We had a few things on our minds.
I remember thinking to myself, "I will get rid of all this stuff when we move in 2007," and then, with almost the next voice, it was "Why wait?" Now I was working full time and had as much time as anyone (!); but I found a resource that helped me amazingly. The web site is www.flylady.net. By the way, she is a lady but this information is not gender specific at all!
The first order of business is to de-clutter. It didn't happen overnight and it's not going to go away overnight! That said, she helped me to break it down into manageable pieces, which she calls “baby steps.” HOWEVER, and this is the biggie, you have to be WILLING to toss! If you have the need to hold on to things, that is another issue for another professional!
So I moved through my home, respecting the other people living in my home, and did what I could. For example, regardless of the size of your household, how many tupperware, cool whip, margarine containers, do you need in your house? Get rid of some! That said, my hubby, who sneaks in and reads my blog, also tries to sneak these containers into my one drawer that I have for them. It is a continual process, not just a one-time cleansing!
I don't even want to think about how many trash bags I took to the curb that year. I had a 14 year old that still had treasures, but we worked together. My daughter was away at college and I didn't mess with her. However, in 2005 when she married, that was a HUGE purge, because I am of the religion that once they move out--ALL OF THEIR STUFF GOES WITH THEM!
Flylady.net helped me to move around my house and get rid of one thing at a time. The next stage is what we would think of as maintenance. This works differently for everyone, and it works differently for any one person based on the stage of life they are in. Fundamentally, Flylady takes five zones and works around the house within a month's period of time. While I was working full time, this was excellent and kept things moving. I never felt it was "out of control." In early 2007 when we put our house on the market, I felt we were ready!
We still had a garage sale in summer and got rid of the things we knew that we would NOT need in the new house we were building. We made enough to buy new outdoor furniture for our deck. By the time it was time to move, we were in good shape.
|A very simple dining room. I have|
a few more things out since taking
this picture, but I don't like to dust!
Now, I have a retired man living with me, and I am at a different stage in life. We have a division of labor now, which is fair. But as a woman, I still have in the back of my mind where we should be in terms of what needs to be done at any given time. I believe the concepts of Flylady are still with me although I am not following religiously anymore. It gets done and that’s what is important.
I still have another big purge when Joel gets married and/or moves into an apartment; whichever comes first. Once I figure out what he (they) does or does not want; I will be purging again and getting rid of things.
I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I have failed somewhere in life; but my children do NOT care about the historical things that I own. Therefore, I need to explore other ideas; perhaps another family member, the local historical society, or maybe just turning it into cash. Fundamentally, I want to deal with it NOW, rather than leave it for the kids.
This means keeping the things that I LOVE around me but if it has to be stored, I need to be asking some questions about that. Some things should be stored, like Christmas decorations, as they are not in everyday use, but I am referring to all that "stuff" we have that we do not need!
Perhaps I feel this way because I have executed three estates; and I don't want to put my kids through the job, and let's call it a JOB, of going through more than necessary after I am gone.
This is something we all "of a certain age" need to be thinking about. And I will say this, getting rid of what you don't have to have is one of the most freeing things you can possibly do! It would take another blog to consider where to donate things; but my personal opinion is that we have enough needy people in our own community and that's where I begin.
Now folks, you have no excuse! GET CRACKIN'!