It is my own life experiences that give me compassion and understanding for my clients and their difficult choices.
My beautiful mother died quite suddenly in 2005. Our grief was enormous, particularly for my father who ended up battling depression and subsequently Alzheimers.
Dad’s needs took priority over everything, so, the contents of Mum’s china cabinet, filled with treasures were then packed away for 14 years.
Recently, my sisters and I pulled it all out. After Dad passed away, we had to make decisions about these bits and pieces, because they are part of the estate and inheritance.
Things we know our Mum loved, said were precious and valuable. Was that still true? Did we need a charitable outlet, an auction house or the Antiques Roadshow?
There was a lot of laughter at our reactions to certain things. Those that as small children we thought of as beautiful and now find unappealing. Others that continue to sing with simple beauty. Pieces that are a nuisance because never used, yet are an important part of our family’s Scottish history. But after how many generations will that still mean something?
Things we might want to keep but at the end of the day…are they useful? Would we want to pay removalists to move them again and again as our own lives continue to evolve? Do they fit in our own space?
So, I looked at the table and started with a couple of the harder questions I often ask my clients when they are stuck with a decision.
Am I an Egyptian Pharaoh who can take them with me for my next life?
A very Australian question …would I save them in a bush fire?
Will my family want, need or be capable of making decisions about these things when they are grieving because I have died? Am I leaving them rooms full of clutter because I don’t want to face the challenge of decision-making?
There are no wrong decisions about what you keep, sell, declutter, gift, store, whatever. But question what purpose objects serve in your current or future life, and of the people you presume want to inherit them.
I alway say if something truly makes your heart sing, then keep it!
Just don’t put the conversation in the too-hard-box and let time get away. Start the discussion with your family, including grandchildren. You may be surprised at the wise answers you get to the conundrum of how to declutter family treasures.