A natural concern of the elderly is that their children will be burdened with the precious possessions they leave behind, rather than recognizing the value of beloved family heirlooms. It’s not unusual for family members to be faced with basements, attics, and closets full of photographs, documents, and prized possessions that belonged to a deceased loved one. Boxes of items that go unused actually serve to clutter our lives, which many of our residents at Aston Gardens at Tampa Bay retirement community have discovered. An abundant amount of research shows that there is tremendous benefit to eliminating clutter.
Repackage the Memories
Imagine going through boxes of black and white photographs filled with unfamiliar faces, and you have no idea how the picture reflects on your family’s history. This is often what happens to family members who are left behind to handle the possessions of a loved one. Now imagine changing the experience of the people who will go through your memories. Rather than leaving your boxes of photographs to chance, why not put them in a form which will encourage the family to treasure them?
Go through your old photographs and create photo albums or scrapbooks that are complete with names, places, and explanations that will be of interest to descendants? It will be meaningful for children in future generations to have such a strong connection to their heritage. By creating photo albums with historical family significance, you give a gift that could last for generations. You will find comfort in knowing that the sentimental photos are not likely to be tossed out.
Things to Let Go Of
Implied in the repackaging of memories is the culling through of old photos. As painful as it may seem, you will do your family a favor to throw away the photographs that don’t make the cut for special albums to be passed down. You may want to create an additional album or two for yourself, so that you can look at them occasionally.
Of course, there are many other things to deal with besides photographs. We all tend to store up a lifetime of documents and possessions that fill our closets and storage spaces to overflowing. Anything that has outlived its usefulness should be discarded or donated. Otherwise, those things are simply crowding our living spaces and creating a daunting and perhaps dreaded task for family members who survive us.
Tips on things to let go of:
Papers – One of the world’s foremost experts on how to eliminate clutter, Marie Kondo of Japan, has written a New York Times best-selling book called “the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of de-cluttering and organizing.” Apparently, the people in Kondo’s country have the same struggles as our own and tend to keep the very same things in stockpiles. After studying clutter for many years and successfully helping thousands of people clear their spaces of unnecessary items, Kondo has concluded that the best way to handle non-essential papers is to throw them away unless they are needed in the immediate future, such as in the next month or so. If you have a file of warranties, go through them and throw away the ones that are expired. Kondo specifies that there is no real need to keep credit card statements or even old checkbooks. Anyone concerned about protecting their identity when throwing away financial documents should simply gather sensitive materials and bring them to a shredding facility. There are numerous shredding services in south Florida, including mobile services that will go to your home.
Miscellaneous items – If you have a tendency to hoard, you probably have drawers and boxes full of such things as knick-knacks, kitchen gadgets, sewing materials, stationary, electrical cords, old make-up, near-empty containers of shampoo, DVDs, CDs, and perhaps even cassette tapes. The test for miscellaneous items is, first, have they already been out of sight without being missed for a long period of time? If so, get rid of them. If an item doesn’t give you joy in your life right now, why not pass it on to someone else who could use it or would appreciate it?
Clothing – Are your closets overflowing, even though you probably only wear probably less than 30 items on a regular basis, all garments considered? It is all too common that we have closets cluttered with items we no longer use. Life is much simpler and more pleasurable when we get rid of the items we don’t need any longer, and that applies to excess wardrobe items.
Bedding – Is your linen closet crammed with items that aren’t needed anymore? Quilts, blankets, sheets, and towels are more items that often crowd a home.
De-cluttering is hard work, and it’s difficult because of the element of letting go of things which have been so dear or seemed so necessary to us in the past. Focusing on clearing out the clutter is something that many of our residents at Aston Gardens at Tampa Bay retirement community have done. They have learned that there are wonderful benefits to eliminating clutter, something you can learn much more about in this continuing series.
Visit Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay today to learn more about our independent senior living, assisted living, and memory care programs, or get in touch by contacting us online or calling us at 813-993-1276!