Points to Consider

So, have you had a grandchild show up to ask about using your house for a documentary on hoarding for his school project? Not yet? How can you prevent becoming an Accidental Hoarder? Accidental hoarding happens because people are reluctant to make decisions. Not deciding is actually a decision. Some people are naturally indecisive, but as we age, and with flagging energy, it seems easier to add than subtract and stuff begins to layer and then pile up. We tend to leave everything out in the open on horizontal surfaces, believing that by doing that we are less apt to forget something important. That is until we can’t find the important item. I recommend to people that they establish two important points.

The “You Are Here” Point

The first one I call the “You are here point in life”. This idea comes from the directional plaque you are apt to see in shopping malls and museums that shows you where you are in relation to the rest of the building. What I mean here is to take stock of your own life; your age and state of health; the state of your home’s health, too; and just how apt you are to complete the many projects you’ve started. I remind my husband every now and then that even though he has the genes to live to be 100, his brain cells may not stick around that long, so he needs to be more practical in  estimating all that he might accomplish. I, myself take stock and ask who do I want to be at this stage of my life? I have cut back on growing most of our own food and use a local CSA farm share to grow food for me and have a much smaller garden. Therefore I don’t need a great quantity of canning supplies and can let them go. I also don’t have the interest in doing crafts that I did when I was younger, so there’s a bunch more stuff I don’t need to keep.

The “Enough” Point

The other important decision is to establish what I call “The Enough Point”. If you can say that the 25 ceramic cats you already have is enough, then you can turn down the opportunity to collect more and tell the relatives to find something else for Mother’s Day gifts. I use this myself when it comes to saving magazines. I ask myself, “What is my level of commitment to read every one of these magazines?”. I usually find that I can trim the selection down to the most recent issues which will likely be 3 to 4 weeks for weekly publications or the same number of months for monthly publications. I then put issues older than that into the recycling container. I can use the internet to find the online version of the magazine and save pertinent articles, or I might even print the article and have a paper version that will last longer than the magazine page. By doing this I am able to feel free to let go of items that I previously would have kept for way too long.
Question: what do your “You are Here Points” and your “Enough Points” look like?

Harriet Vaughan

About Harriet Vaughan

I am a Senior Move Manager, working with Senior Citizens and their families when it is time to downsize or just make the home safer and more comfortable for aging in place. I help these people make decisions about what to keep, throw out, donate, or sell. I also offer workshops on "Getting Things Done When You Are Over 60". I write about how to overcome memory lapses and how to use your physical energy well. I have a degree in Home Economics from the University of Maine. I live in Coopers Mills, about 14 miles east of Augusta. I have been married for almost 50 years to my husband, Chuck Vaughan. Our business is called Legacy Years Transition Services.