If there is one thing we all noticed a little more of during the Covid lockdown, it was the amount of clutter we had accumulated and the impact it can have on how we feel in our own homes.
Perhaps for the first time, you clearly felt the impact that clutter was having on your health, your well-being, and your relationships. You might have finally realized that the stress level in your home and in your life was directly related to the amount of clutter in your home… especially when living in such close quarters for an extended period of time.
In many ways, the pandemic forced us to come face-to-face with our own clutter and also to confront “other people’s clutter” that has been occupying space in our homes, perhaps for many years.
As you looked around your home, you realized a large portion of your basement was filled with your adult children’s high school and college memorabilia or stuff they left at your house for you to keep for them. But now they’ve grown, they have homes of their own and yet, your basement is still the repository for their “stuff.”
As you continued to look around, you realized that another large percentage of your basement was filled with hand-me-down furniture and clothing from well-meaning family and friends, as well as gifts you received but never used.
At one point in your life, you made the decision that those things were “too good” to be thrown away because you might need them “someday.”
And yet another portion of your home or storage unit had become the “temporary” home for furniture and memorabilia from the home of your deceased parents or loved ones… Sentimental items you inherited that you had difficulty letting go of at the time because you were still grieving their owners’ loss.
Now, for the first time…
- You realized that you were responsible. You had allowed your home and your storage unit to become a dumping ground for other people’s stuff.
- You realized just how much other people’s clutter was causing tension, resentment, and upset within your household when you said “yes” to becoming the caretaker for other people’s belongings.
- You also admitted that you had not set boundaries or timelines, so in essence, you allowed this to happen not just once, but many times throughout the years.
At the time, you might have felt responsible or obligated to allow your home to become the store house, putting others’ needs and wishes before your own. And at that time, you might have resisted getting rid of those things, choosing instead to hold onto them, hoping that your kids might want those “special treasures” for their own homes… “someday.”
But this time, something changed…
- You saw this clutter through a new lens, through a new set of eyes.
- You wanted your own home back!
- You needed less clutter, more peace of mind and you were ready to deal with it.
- You were ready to set boundaries so this wouldn’t happen again.
- You were tired of feeling guilty, resentful, and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of clutter that has been occupying your home… clutter that wasn’t even yours!
- You were tired of other people’s stuff weighing you down.
- You suddenly became committed to getting your own house back!
#1: Acknowledge That You Allowed This to Occur
Commit to a plan to get your house back, setting boundaries, saying “no,” and never letting it happen again.
#2: Identify Other People’s Stuff You No Longer Wish to Occupy a Space in Your Home
Get clear on what needs to be removed and make a plan for dealing with it.
#3: Discern What You Want to Keep from Deceased Parents or Loved Ones
Identify what you want to keep and what you will use. Then donate, sell or give the rest away to family or friends who might want, need or use it.
#4: Create a Plan and Timeline to Remove Other People’s Stuff
Set a goal and make a plan for how and when this will happen. Write it down and follow through.
#5: Have a Conversation with Your Adult Children About Their Stuff
Let them know that you are decluttering and possibly downsizing to a smaller home and that you won’t have room to store their stuff any longer.
Give them a date that it needs to be removed by. Let them manage all of the details to deal with it: keep, sell, or donate. An added benefit might be that this is a great opportunity to offer them things that you will be getting rid of. If they have an interest, have them remove it from your home.
Clearly, there are many benefits of decluttering by removing other people’s stuff from your home. These are just a few:
Your Home Feels Lighter… And So Do You
There is a new positive energy that flows in your home when you have less stuff and more time for your life.
A Newfound Respect
When you stand your ground and create boundaries around your own needs and wishes, you will not only respect yourself more, but you were also garner a newfound respect from others, including your kids.
More Time, Energy and Freedom
When you declutter your home, you are also decluttering your life. This provides you with more time, energy, and freedom to live your life to the fullest.
Is your home filled with “other people’s” clutter? How did that happen? What portion of your home is currently not your own? Challenge yourself to a date and schedule to free yourself so you can get your own house back, then let us know how it goes!
Let’s Have a Conversation!