Often, what prevents people from embarking on a de-cluttering odyssey in their own homes, is not knowing where to start. That’s easy; nine times out of ten we begin in our clients’ storage areas. There are several reasons why this strategy works. Items held in storage lockers, basements, attics and the like tend to be those that are either forgotten about or superfluous to everyday existence. Therefore, they rarely are a source of trauma in the “letting go” department. Once these items bow out, they create space for more essential stuff which may need to be saved, relieving congestion in the main living areas. This week’s C.R.U.D. (Completely Ridiculous Useless Debris) blog is devoted to a particular type of storage occupant; one that almost everyone seems to have.
How many times have you moved in your life? Since most people do not spend their entire existence in the homes where they grew up, it is safe to assume you have had a couple of moving experiences under your belt. Making a housing transition is never easy, but the degree of difficulty is related to how much stuff there is to explore and cull before going on to the new residence. Our clients are no exceptions. When we accompany them to the subterranean regions of their dwellings, we are frequently struck by how many beaten up looking boxes reside in these storage areas that have never been opened. Sometimes, we are told, these same cartons have remained in their current state over the course of several moves. They hail from the distant past. Our clients are reluctant to get out the box cutters and take a look inside, especially alone. It is a little like invading an ancient tomb or salvaging a ship that went down decades ago. The anxiety level around this activity, measures quite high.
Would you like to know what’s really in them? Here’s what we find time and again. Many of the boxes emerge from hiding in the “inheritance zone.” If your parents have passed away or moved away, these may be the mementos and bric-a-brac you were not ready to part with at the time you were clearing their home. Take the yellowed newspaper wrapping off and you will discover tarnished silver serving pieces, the vestiges of your grandmother’s china (complete with chips), crumbling paperbacks, dishtowels, and an assortment of bone china tea cups and saucers. There’s bound to be a least one container of photos, cards and clippings. If the boxes have your name on them, they might be populated by your old report cards; your scout’s uniform, a teddy bear missing an eye and cracked leather ice skates with rusty blades. Further penetration may turn up a box bearing a tangle of exterior Christmas lights or other odds and ends like stained barbeque aprons, pool toys and reference volumes like thesauruses. In other words, you have nothing to fear from these benign artefacts. This kind of purging is just overdue.
This type of job needs company. It is time to call in favours from friends or family members. Remind them of all the meals they have sponged off you or how you always did the lion’s share of the driving to baseball practice if you detect resistance. Find out when charities (like Big Brothers) are doing pickups in your area and coordinate your efforts accordingly. Once you get going, you may find an unexpected treasure or two that will make the entire ordeal feel worthwhile. Most importantly, you will be making room for new things to enter your life. Think of the money you will save on your next move when you are no longer paying to have these boxes moved, yet again.