One of the most difficult things our clients face is having to part with cherished mementoes and souvenirs they've collected from a lifetime of experiences. Whether it's artwork from their children, a collection they prized or a parent's belongings, saying goodbye is never easy. It represents the loss of a time gone by, an unfulfilled dream or a loved one who is no longer here. More than that though, it marks the end of a chapter.
What I've discovered is that so many times, seniors are reluctant to let go of their belongings and this "stuff" keeps them stuck in their homes and the old chapters rather than enjoying life and making new chapters. Like seniors who are making a major life transition and shedding their belongings, as someone who is divorcing, I am facing the same thing.
My garage was filled with lots of stuff- some very easy to part with and some, much more difficult.
When I was first engaged, my ex-husband and I began construction on our first home. The sign "Future Home of Goldfarb Shapiro" was placed on our lot and then hung in our garage for 15 years.
There were tears in my eyes when I put it in the garbage. I could NEVER have parted with the sign without the gentle guidance of two fabulous women, both team leads, who took on the task of helping me with the sorting and organization of my garage, Lisa Gerardo and Kim Witt.
I am happy to say that one week later, my garage is still clean and organized and I feel very happy about being there. I have no regret about throwing out the sign. In fact, it empowered me and I've since shed several other mementoes and tokens from my married life.
Here are a few statistics about STUFF that might make you think differently about holding onto it:
1.There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
2. The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
3. And still, 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).
4. While 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy).
5. The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing (SSA).
6. Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping (The Daily Mail).
If you are getting ready for a move, going through a life transition or you are overwhelmed by your own STUFF, we have a great team that can help.
Jami Shapiro is President of Silver Linings Transitions. As a cancer survivor, she embraces aging and the challenges it presents.