Here's one of those grown-up topics that aren't lots of fun to think about, (like long term care) but is something we should start to prepare for as we age… what are our kids going to do if all of our stuff if we don't thin it out for them?
I've been there before – having to clean out my parents' home after they've died, and hating to let go of even one thing that still smelled like them. I still have both of their bathrobes, and my mother's 25th anniversary dress, and so on. It's so hard to let it all go, but you must in order to somehow get through it.
This article by a Portland Organizer, Heather Hawkins, is a wonderful reminder of how we really owe our kids the favor of starting this process now so they don't have to throw our stuff away while greiving …. and there are so many good recycling opportunities now that there's no excuse not to thin things out so your kids won't have to do it later.
If you'd like information on where to donate your items, please let me know. I have lists of wonderful recycling opportunities so that others can enjoy your overflow. And won't your family love you for it?
Sorry, there is no gentle headline for this kind of post. I tried: Do your children a favor and get rid of most of your stuff before you die and don’t burden them with the painful, guilt-inducing job of sorting through their childhood and feeling obligated to keep everything that reminds them of you, which is basically everything you own, but I feared it would blow up the Internet so I pared it down.
This sweet, touching essay by Jeremy Clarkson, a British broadcaster, completely sums it up. After his beloved mother died of cancer, he was overwhelmed to discover that she’d gotten rid of almost all of her stuff before she died to spare him from having to do it himself.
There is no single thing in the house of anyone’s mother that isn’t infused with a gut-wrenching air of sentimentality. It’s not just her jewelry or her clothes. It’s the little things as well. Her kitchen scissors, her bathroom scales, her flannel. Every single thing in each and every drawer is as impossible to discard as a first teddy bear…I’d need at least two months to go through it all. And I’d need about 4,000 boxes of Kleenex.
It was the greatest gift she could have left him.
I don’t know how long she had worked on her downsizing and the clear-out and the organisation of her things, but it’s something we should all try to do when we know the Grim Reaper is heading our way. Because not only does it spare our loved ones from the hassle of going through every single thing we’ve ever owned but it also spares them from the grief of deciding that the horse brasses and the Llardro figurines really do have to go to the tip.
(Tip = dump, by the way. I’m a big advocate of reuse, and there are plenty of donation centers and consignment shops happy to take household goods off your hands.)
I’ve helped people clear out their parent’s homes after they’ve passed, and it’s a big job. Most professional organizers offer this service, but we also help seniors get rid of clutter and extraneous possessions beforehand. We figure out, with input from their children, what will be passed down and what should go now. Photos get sorted and labeled. Furnishings and artwork that will be used by the heirs are listed out and saved with the will. Valuable items can be sold ahead of time. Other items can be donated. We work to clean out the basements and garages and drawers filled with opened seed packets and old receipts and clothing that hasn’t been worn in 30 years but is often the hardest for children to get rid of.
It’s not an easy subject to discuss or ponder, but it’s one that’s worth considering now rather than later. For another touching, funny insight on aging parents and the burden of clearing out a deceased parent’s home, I highly recommend New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast’s memoir Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?
Heather Hawkins of Homeflow Professional Organizing helps Portland-area residents declutter, organize, downsize and stage their homes for sale. Contact her at 503-313-7164 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.homeflow.org for more information.
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The Spring housing market is off to a bit of a slow start, thanks to an extremely low inventory of homes for sale. Listings are starting to trickle onto the market, but some Realtors are struggling to find homes for their ready, willing, and able buyers.
One way to make a match in this tough market is to have an open mind about what you hope to live in -vs- what is currently on the market.
If you need an amazing contractor to help transform an ordinary home in the extraordinary home of your dreams, I can help you with that. My book of names includes talented architects, builders and designers.
Open your mind to the possibilities……let's see what we can find.
photo credit unknown – found via Pinterest
Q: We've just put in a ton of work on a new kitchen, and now it's time to sell. How much can we actually recoup from our expense?
A: Here is a link to the Remodeling Magazine Cost -VS- Value Comparison Tool. It lists costs for all areas of the US, and you can look at moderate or fancy remodels. It's lots of fun to figure out which improvements will give you the best return on your dollar. It also helps you to understand that when pricing your home, you can't expect to wring every penny out of your remodel. It will, however, make your home more attractive, and it should sell more quickly!
This site compares the average cost for 35 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale. To find data for any of 81 cities:
1. Click a region on the map or choose from the drop-down list.
2. Click on a city in the map (requires flash) or from the drop-down list.
3. Click the Download button for a PDF with city data.
For more information about individual projects:
1. Click on a project name to see a description and a 3-D model.
2. Sort any column by clicking on the column header.
3. For more information on the Remodeling 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, click on any of the links listed at right.
Thanks to Remodling Magazine for their research on this great article.
Sometimes there is no perfect solution to providing access to the outdoors for your little furry friend. Leaving them home alone all day while you're at work can lead to accidents. Doggy day care can be expensive if you need to use it every day. But some properties just don't have perfect access – a door that leads to a fenced yard, or a spot for a doggy door that is concealed from view in your everyday spaces.
This homeowner turned an ordinary closet into a warm spot for their dog to be indoors, while giving it access to the outside as well. You can leave the door ajar when you're home, and close it when you're away. I love that this closes it off from view and everybody is happy.
photo courtesy of Houzz. Designed and built by Aloha Home Builders.
This is it. The technological breakthrough you’ve been waiting for. The one you can’t believe hadn’t been invented already. The one that probably deserves a trumpet and a choir singing hosannas.
So let’s say you’ve lost your keys. Here’s how this works, not necessarily in this order:
- One: Download the myBiKN app from BiKN (you’ll want to pronounce that “beacon”) on your iPhone.
- Two: Slip the smart case onto your iPhone.
- Three: Attach the BiKN tags to your valuables. (By the way, we’re giving you two more than the standard kit—so that’s four in total.)
- Four: If something goes missing, the app will then show you the right direction and distance to walk in to find your stuff. Think of it as a digital treasure map. The electronic tags you’ve attached to said valuables will also start beeping, letting you know exactly which side of the couch you should be searching.
- Five: If the reverse occurs (i.e., your phone mysteriously disappears), you can use the electronic tags to find the damn thing.
And voilà: the easiest way to never lose anything again. And naturally, Perks is getting it to you for something less than the going rate…
And best of all, here’s a link to get it on sale, thanks to my friends at Urban Daddy. They have it for $135 (for a limited time only) instead of the list price of $170.
For more information, and details on the product, see www.bikn.com.
I know a few people who definitely need this. Is their one in your life?
source: www.urbandaddy.com. Thanks!