Organizing your personal property is the third article in our series on personal property and your stuff. As we go through life, we accumulate a lot of stuff. Some items make our lives easier and more enjoyable, and other things we hang on to for nostalgic reasons. After years of accumulation, there comes a time in every person’s life when they need to decide what to do with all their possessions.
For many individuals, these decisions are forced upon us or our loved ones due to a major life change such as moving, downsizing, disability or death. Planning ahead prevents family conflict and …
emotional turmoil, and ensures your legacy is preserved.
In my organizing seminars, I ask the following three questions:
- What would it be like for you to go through someone’s stuff?
- What would it be like for someone else if they have to go through your stuff?
- If you have accumulated years of personal documents and paperwork, how long would it take you to find a specific document?
One of my recent articles was about a serious motorcycle accident and the stress encountered when important documents could not be found. Those legal and medical papers were never found, thereby prompting the couple to hire an attorney to recreate them. It’s important to understand that not being organized is costing you time and money. And, organizing your personal property is also one of the most loving and generous things you can do for your family and friends.
So, how do you begin such a task? The first step is to make the commitment to just START. Determine your objective such as decluttering, downsizing, or moving, and then visualize the end result. In other words, ‘begin with the end in mind’!
Once you’ve identified your objective, it’s easier to design a plan and begin the organizing. The following is a list of categories for sorting and determining what to do:
- Keep – this refers to not only personal property, but also your important papers that will remain in your possession (favorite chair, legal documents, etc.)
- Sell or Donate – clothing, books, and duplicates would fall in this category
- Give Away – a precious heirloom or favorite object could be given to a family member, a friend, or an organization along with your story of what it means to you
- Throw Away – getting rid of stacks of old magazines or newspapers will have an immediate effect on your organizing effort
Each of the above categories are further divided into sub-categories depending on the individual situation. You may decide to keep your favorite chair, but it will need to be moved to the new, smaller home you purchased. With selling or donating, decisions must be made regarding whether to hold a garage sale, online sale, or donate to a local charity. Giving away your possessions could result in designating a separate area for each recipient. And, throwing away includes tossing in the trash to having a shredding company destroy your sensitive documents.
Organizing your personal property can be a good way to get family or friends involved so they are aware of your wishes and legacy. Strategic Hourglass Solutions has the tools to help you get started. Our book, Lifetime Legacy Planner, is a great tool to help you get started. If you’d like more information about us, our tools or speaking engagements, please contact us. Do you want to burden your loved ones with all your stuff?