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Emotional Readiness

A client once contacted me to discuss her organizing project in detail. While not planning a move anytime soon, she wanted to seriously declutter her home and life and live a simpler and easier lifestyle. Rather then calling me back in a couple of days to set up an appointment, another eight months went by before she was prepared to commit the time, energy and resources to her project. She may have been ready to deal with the physical aspects of the project when she first called, but she needed additional time to become emotionally ready and I absolutely respected that!

In my previous blog, I mentioned the passing of our sweet cat, Bradley, five years ago. The experience of taking him to the vet to put him down was very traumatic. Certain members of my family could not understand why I was so upset, but as I explained to them, the death of Bradley represented so much more then just losing a playful, adorable cat. A significant part of my life was also coming to an end.

Bradley and I first met on a night that Stewart invited me over for dinner in the early, exciting years of our new relationship. Sweet Bradley kept me company while Stewart cooked a delicious meal. I left that evening extremely impressed with Stewart's cooking skills and also with white hair all over my black pants. Unbeknownst to me, this seven-pound bundle of fur was already capturing my heart. My young daughters grew up playing with Bradley, made it through their (not so fun for us) teenage years and then thankfully matured a bit and went off to college. As a newbie empty nester, I was in the throes of dealing with the highs and lows of finally having time to focus on myself. Bradley died in the fall of my younger daughter's freshman year. In a similar way to the loss surrounding Bradley's death, moving from my current home involves the end of yet another chapter in my life. Fortunately, we are not leaving our house in a rush and I have plenty of time to come to terms with these emotions.

It's not that I live in the past; I am completely happy, content and grateful for my present life. My earliest memories of growing up in South Africa are thousands of miles away and I sometimes feel that they are quickly fading! Having grown up in Baltimore, my husband need only drive around Pikesville or other parts of the city and his memories are right there in front of him. For me, it may be a song, a smell, a taste or simply looking at old photos that helps bring a memory alive. This is an area where many of my clients struggle - how to let go of items they no longer need, yet still remember the past. I remind them that their memories will always be a part of them, and I help them find alternative, creative ways of remembering a person or a special event.

There are many sites such as Vistaprint and Shutterfly that print your photos onto mouse pads, coffee mugs, calendars etc.

Find a quilt maker to incorporate baby clothes or t-shirts into a custom quilt. Many of my male clients are very attached to their t-shirts and have so many that they do not wear. What a wonderful way to hold onto memories of the past!

Lifestyles change and so should our physical stuff. A personal example would be my closet. We do not attend nearly as many formal events as we used to and I dress casually and comfortably most of the time, so the amount of formal clothes I keep has drastically been reduced. While I am sentimental about the past I am fortunate to not feel the need to hold onto the stuff of the past and I know that my memories will always be a part of me no matter where I live. Moving into a smaller home provides the opportunity to reexamine one's lifestyle, and that is exactly what I intend to do.

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