April 3, 2014

Downsizing 101

By Mary Huebbe
Marketing Consultant
Ridgecrest Village

Ridgecrest Village just had its second annual Downsizing Seminar with Dr. Jill Bjerke. The program was wonderful for anyone, but I especially enjoyed it. It doesn’t matter what age you are, we can all learn a valuable lesson from her.

Dr. Bjerke talked about “Where to Start,” “How to start”, and figuring out your organizing style. Though I didn’t think I had one, she encouraged us. She said everyone has one, whether it is baskets, plastic containers, stacking or sorting. Now that I think about it, I am definitely a sorter, however my problem is I sort and sort again and never do anything with it. I fear throwing it out because I might be able to use it later.

Jill gave everyone a great idea (especially me) to get four boxes, label them “KEEP, THROW AWAY, SELL, and GIVE AWAY.” She even said we could have one more that says “NOT SURE BOX.” The trick to all this is that when the box gets full, you have to follow through with what you’re supposed to do and do it right away. You can’t put it aside and start another one, because then you are just cluttering in a different way. Cluttering is an addiction, so be careful not to fall back into the same trap in a different way.

Another good idea was to have a mail station: Put two baskets whereever you place your mail normally. Label them NEWSPAPER and MAIL and place a waste can and a shredder right by them. Place the important mail in the mail basket, shred what you feel needs shredded, and throw away what is trash immediately! I don’t know about you, but I struggle with throwing my mail away. I don’t want to put something in the trash, because it could help someone steal my identity. Having the shredder there helps with that fear.

Throwing the junk mail in the trash right away helps with two things. One, it prevents the clutter from starting. Secondly, it prevents me from looking through it, finding something I think is cute or different which leads to me doing some unneeded spending. So this will help me save money and not
buy something else to clutter up my home.

In order to stay organized, think about what has worked in the past. Try to use that same pattern for the rest of your home. Make it the Motto of your Home that “whoever gets something out has to put it back” immediately after using it! Use places like E-bay to get rid of things you don’t use, but which still have value, because it has an audience that is “collection oriented.” Donate other items you don’t want; this will help other people and give you a good feeling that you helped someone.

Jill stated that it is most important to do these things now, while it is your choice to do them. At some point in our lives, we won’t be able to make decisions on our own, and then people won’t get the item you wanted them to have. You won’t live where you wanted to live. You won’t have choices to pick what is best for you. Delaying too long will require someone else to make our choices. If we don’t set things up the way we want, others might not do what we preferred.

So we encourage you to plan ahead now, and set things up your way. Follow through with what you want. Otherwise others may make decisions to fit their personality instead of yours.