I came across a recent newsletter from my colleague Niraj Chhabra from Ameriprise Financial Services with the above title. It really caught my attention. I instinctively know this to be true innately but also based on my clientele.
Many, if not all of my clients, feel like they are drowning in an ocean of things (or paper) especially senior citizens. The emotions can run the gamut from anger to shame.
Recently I’ve been working quite a lot with seniors who all of a sudden have the “Urge to Purge”. It could be because a spouse has a serious health issue and cannot come back into the home due to a medical issue. Another example is the passing away of a loved one and the homeowner has to deal with the inheritance of every item in someone else’s home. These two examples can throw one’s organization into turmoil.
Often I am shocked that my clients have not taken the time every 5 years or so to perform a “major purge”. Of course I never say that aloud and I try very hard not to judge, but I am just a human professional organizer who thinks this, even if I keep it to myself except when writing my newsletters…
But I am not the typical homeowner either because I have a partial OCD brain-type. And I’m 50 instead of 70, 80 or 90. Therefore I have the physical stamina to oust the clutter and my children can help. They are still home and not across the country with professional jobs and families to raise like so many of my clients.
I was on an assessment the other day. My new client was in her 80’s and her husband was in his mid-90’s. As she took her chair lift up the stairs so she could show me the second floor I noticed a trap door in the hallway and asked if that was the attic. She said it was but she hadn’t been up there in 15 years and she was sure it was quite full. If it was anything like the basement, we were going to be in for a long haul together. Except for a good size pathway to the washer and dryer, there were going to be hundreds of decisions to be made on how to purge this home of items she/he no longer love, use or need and haven’t in decades.
That’s the sad part. This can all be avoided.