When Everything Changes

Change is a constant part of life. And, as I am sure you already know, change is challenging and often chaotic. In my own life, a year of earth-shattering change started on Memorial Day the year that I was 17 years old. On that Monday, my father died after a short and brutal fight with throat cancer. Just a few months later, in the early morning hours of  New Years Day, my mother died. She was swiftly taken by an aggressive brain tumor that had only been diagnosed that Fall, as I was starting my freshman year of college.  I was now 18 years old, had lost both my biological parents, and along with my stepfather, had two lifetimes worth of belongings to sort through.

I can't tell you very much about how we did that, or in what order. You would have to ask my then boyfriend, now husband, what day to day life was like that year.... I don't remember much of it.

After weathering many seasons of change in my life, I do know that when going through periods of transition-whether it is  happy, such as the birth of a baby-- sad, such as the end of a marriage-- or maybe a mixure of the two, such as when the youngest child has flown the nest---there are so many things that we have to deal with. Like real material things, along with all of our emotions. There is a lot of clutter that has to be shifted around, sorted, and gotten rid of.

At that time, it is important to remember these five things.......

1. Be Patient With Yourself-- You aren't yourself.  Things are going to be confusing, decisions hard to arrive at. Giving yourself a loving dose of care and understanding is just what the doctor ordered.

2. Dealing With Clutter Is Emotional--The STUFF we have in our lives, whether a precious family heirloom, or an old, obsolete baby car seat have memories and emotions attached to them. These things stick to us, just like the dust that settles on our clothes as we are cleaning out, and can make us feel weighed down. It can also make us want to avoid dealing with it all together. Refer to tip #1, and keep moving forward.

3. Keep Things Simple--Have a set amount of time that you will work on things each day. Set a timer, and when it tells you you are finished, honor it.  Don't think that a marathon session of sorting and organizing will do anything more than exhaust you.

4. Reserve A Calm Space To Retreat To--Designate an area that will remain stacks-of-boxes-piles-of-paper-heaps-of-crap--free. Preferably this should be a place where you can't even see the stuff you are working on, and a spot that is pleasant to sit in. You will need this when your timer goes off, and you are ready to be finished for the day.

5. Create A Vision of What You Want Things To Look Like Going Forward--Picture what you want your life to look like going forward now that this change has happened. I know this is easier said than done, but it is important to think about so that you can work toward that goal--a goal where your home can be a nurturing place that supports and facilitates your vision for you and those you love.