My aunt lived in a fairly large house that had a basement suite and it was full of furniture and personal possessions. When she was older and ended up in a private nursing home all she had was her cane and slippers. Talk about downsizing!
Last week when I was with my sister in ICU I once again was reminded that when a person is sick, things just do not matter. You do not need a new vehicle or couch when you are in the hospital. Jewelry is not important. Even flowers, balloons, cards and gifts are banned from certain wards. The bedding, pillows, gowns and equipment are all supplied for you. In fact, the only things that you really take with you are your memories, relationships and faith.
When I look around my condo and office I realize that there are certainly way more things that I need and over the past few years I have been on a quest to deal with that. There are really just three categories you need to consider when it comes to getting things organized:
1. Share – Pick out the things that other people would appreciate having and give them to them. There is not any point in hoarding things that your family will just fight over or destroy when you are gone. Be creative in your thinking and ask yourself "Who would have thrilled to receive this item as a gift?"
It does not have to be anything expensive or fancy. For example, I had a number of small shampoos and conditioners from hotels where I had stayed. The people in High River who were staying with friends or in community centers were so pleased to receive them.
If you have more of something than you can use – give it to someone who will be thankful to receive it.
2. Throw – You might be amazed at how many garbage bags of stuff you could get rid of just by cleaning your purse and a few drawers. When something is broken, do not bother to try fixing it unless you really need it. There is not any sense in holding on to things with the idea that you might need it "someday". Get rid of it!
I recently viewed a documentary in which a couple decided to see who could throw away the least amount of garbage in a year. The two of them developed a number of strategies so that by the time they were done, each just had one small container that held everything they wanted to discard during the twelve months. Would you be able to do this? You see first you have to get rid of as much as possible and then you need to make sure that you are not accumulating packaging and items that will just become more garbage.
3. Keep – When you finally get down to the point that there are things you want to keep, make sure that what you have is organized and well used. James Rohn, a popular speaker once said that the most important legacy you have consist of three things: your photographs, your journals and your library. You see, these things help your descendents know who you are and who they can become.
If you do not organize your life and your living space, sometimes someone else will do it for you. Why not set a couple of goals right now? First of all, never leave the house without taking something with you that you will either throw out or give away. Secondly, choose one drawer or area every week that you will sort.
Before you know it, you will experience the joy that comes from being organized and blessing others.