breaking news

German Twp. firefighter indicted on charges of using racial slur against tree trimmers

Organize for your loved ones while you still can


Today’s column may make you squirm a bit because it’s about death. The statistics regarding death are the same for all of us. We have a 100 percent chance of dying.

Death is a big reason why people hire me. I have worked with clients who were very near to their own death, spouses whose partners had fallen ill or passed away, and adult children whose parents died leaving a mass accumulation of clutter and collections.

In an effort to help you make better decisions now while you’re healthy, I’ll share with you what I have learned from working in these three scenarios. This advice will leave your loved ones with more peace of mind once you pass.

In most of cases, people think they have more time than they do. They tell themselves, “Someday I’ll deal with all my unnecessary things and dispose of my clutter once and for all.”

Sorry to be blunt, but the obituaries are full of people who thought they had more time. You need to bump up your “someday” to now, and donate or sell items you no longer need.

Several of my terminally ill clients have said things similar to this, “I regret not getting organized sooner. I would have enjoyed my home more and felt less overwhelmed.” Learn from them. Don’t wait to get organized.

Once you can no longer care for yourself or you pass away, it is heart-wrenching for your spouse to make decisions about all of your belongings. I once worked with a woman whose husband had dementia. She was downsizing to a more manageable home, but felt incredibly guilty parting with her husband’s many belongings while he was still alive.

This elderly woman was doing her best to care for him, while dealing with an entire household all on her own with only my help. Do the loving thing. Care more for your spouse than your piles of unused stuff. Pare down to the necessities and the things you absolutely love. Spare your spouse from making many painful decisions regarding your stuff.

One scenario is you could continue to ignore the clutter, and leave it all for your kids to take care of. When this happens, this situation can occur. You are no longer healthy enough to deal with your stuff so your kids take over. Now you are upset because they are not doing it the way you would have done it. You get defensive and demanding. Your kids are trying to help, but all this resistance is very stressful and causes a rift in your relationship.

If you want certain things to go to specific people or locations, make the arrangements. Don’t expect your loved ones to have the time to drive all over town making deliveries or mail stuff across country.

Find out now if your children want any of your belongings. If you have no intention of ever using it again, give it to them. If they don’t want something, don’t make them feel guilty for not taking it.

In the end, your loved ones will be caring for you or grieving your death. Spare them the heartache by taking responsibility of your life’s accumulation of stuff.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Home Garden

What is Earth Day? 5 things to know
What is Earth Day? 5 things to know

Sunday is Earth Day 2018, and more than one billion people across the globe are expected to celebrate with environmentally friendly events. But what exactly is Earth Day? Here's what you need to know: >> Read more trending news  The first Earth Day celebration took place 48 years ago, in 1970, after a devastating oil spill in America brought...
Did you want extra tarantula on that hamburger?

When it comes to food, there aren’t a lot of things I won’t try. But I draw the line at eating any species I ever had as pets. There are some exceptions. Although as a child I briefly had a pair of rabbits given to me on Easter, I eventually bent the rule and sampled jugged hare on a trip to England. And I will order duck a l’orange...
What is a ‘welding rodeo’? Here’s the unique way area students are reusing scrap metal
What is a ‘welding rodeo’? Here’s the unique way area students are reusing scrap metal

Students from the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center are gearing up for a unique fundraiser that will take their technical know-how to the next level. The SCCTC will host its sixth annual Welding Rodeo at the school today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m and Saturday from 12 to 2 p.m. Juniors and seniors from the center will compete against each other...
‘Being LGBTQ is not an illness’: Record number of states banning conversion therapy
‘Being LGBTQ is not an illness’: Record number of states banning conversion therapy

A record number of jurisdictions this year are taking aim at conversion therapy for minors: an attempt to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity through tactics as obvious as hypnosis or as subtle as inducing shame.  Almost 50 bills have been introduced in 24 states targeting conversion therapy, which has been discredited by dozens...
The flip phone is the new protest statement
The flip phone is the new protest statement

NEW YORK — Exactly one year ago, Roman Cochet swapped his $500 iPhone 7 for a $30 LG flip phone. Overwhelmed by constant alerts, Cochet felt his time was disrupted, his creativity drained. His flip doesn’t do email, Instagram, Facebook, Uber or news alerts. The 30-year-old Parisian painter, who lives in Brooklyn, said he regrets nothing...
More Stories