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Organize ~ Make Sense ~ Make Room

NJ Expert Organizer, Marilyn Shain Labendz, encourages you examine your mementos

Just Think, Kids, One Day This Will All Be Yours!

It seems that everyone is talking about handing down our prized possessions, silver pieces, sets of china, figurines, Christening clothing, and more to the next generation .

When we ask our kids what they would like to have, the response we get is "Nothing, thank you."

Here are some tips to find out how to manage the task of "tossing or keeping" without straining family relationships.

  • First, understand that life is much more casual now, with the exception of holidays, perhaps. How often do we pull out the crystal, fine china, linen napkins, etc? Our kids who are setting up new households are much more practical. They want less "stuff."

  • Do not invite your adult kids specifically to show them all the possessions you would like them to have. It is overwhelming for them. It doesn't mean they don't love you, they just would rather spend their time doing other things, perhaps with you, as well. And if they live a distance, don't waste precious visits on objects. Don't do it.

  • Adult kids, from their 20's to 40's, don't make picture albums. They don't have their photo albums on the coffee table. They keep them "in the cloud" where it is easily accessible and shareable from all devices. "It's a new world."

  • Understand that that this new way is just not better or worse, it's just different. We have made our choices as to how to live our lives...let them.

  • Finally, emotional value is not monetary value. Most of the things we treasure are closer to worthless than priceless. Clients of mine settling estates have found that no one wants to buy silver, books are of little value unless it's a signed first edition, and so on.

Here are some tips to make "tossing or keeping" easier!

  • For those who love to set a fine table but have passed the stage where it is worth keeping those items around, I suggest setting a fine table, with flowers, etc. Take a photo of the table and save it...on your computer, your phone, in the cloud but not in a paper album.

  • Take some time and go through the items you would love them to have. Take a photo of each item and email the photos, (or have someone help you with the tech stuff) to the kids. I did that and was surprised that here and there one would email back, "Gee, I'd like that." Put it aside and label it for that child. This does NOT have to be done in one shot. Make it an enjoyable project.

  • Scan, scan, scan* photos from their childhood, or from family events or whatever. Then choose a representative sample and make a "Snapfish" book for them. Lots of pictures through the years but in one book...or even a few, but not tons. They take up little space, and you can write some text with a sweet memory.

  • *(I scanned 50 years of photos and tossed out lots, gave away lots to those in the photo, and following my daughter's suggestion, put those favorite ones in a decorative box to rifle through them and bring back sweet memories.

  • The 5 adult cousins and their kids sat around looking through some of them and it was a hilarious and loving way to pass some time.

  • Once you know what no one in the family wants, start hunting for places that can use your "stuff." Shelters, organizations that help others less fortunate get on their feet again, Habitat for Humanity, Hospice stores. Even consider a consignment could earn a few dollars.

Part of finding balance in life is knowing when to hold on and when to let go.

NJ Organizer, Marilyn Shain Labendz, walks you through the process of deciding what to keep.

  • Not having Aunt Gertrude's tea set in your closet does NOT mean you don't have Aunt Gertrude with you any longer, (even if you don't). Pass down the stories about Aunt Gertrude, about how she loved her tea set, who she invited, etc.

  • Respect your kids' preferences and give in to your suspicions that you don't really want to keep everything, either. Many could benefit from your donations.

Remember: Your Kids Don't Want Your Stuff! And they don't have the space for it. And...they have their own stuff! (They'll find "get it" soon enough in another 30 years).

NJ Expert Organizer, Marilyn Shain Labendz, has many resources to help you get rid of your stuff.

Need help in deciding if you should toss or keep your "stuff"?

Contact me to help you through the process. I have lots of resources to sell, donate, and toss everything.

NJ Expert Organizer offers gift certificates.

A friendly suggestion: Don't know what to give a friend or relative when a gift is in order? Gift Certificates are available upon request!

And, please, don't forget to share our blog with your friends on Facebook and other social media. Thank you!

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