Let It Go: Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life – Peter Walsh (Rodale Books)
There is a thin line between collector and hoarder…or at least I have been trying to convince my wife that for nearly thirty years.
We lost my Mother-in-law last year and so began a process of clearing and cleaning out her house that became a much larger and more daunting task then any of us had expected. Here was this frail, kind old lady, who knew that she was hiding a life time of STUFF in her four bedroom split level. First as her power of attorney and later as the executor of her estate I was charged with tackling the finite details of her STUFF; the mounds of paperwork dealing with her healthcare and her finances alone was a challenge. Tax returns dating back to the 1960s, bank statements or accounts at banks that no longer exist, countless investment vehicle statements that had long since been moved to new accounts.
Hey you never know when you’re going to need the instructions for the vacuum you bought back in 1970…that broke, but you couldn’t quite find the strength to take to the curb. Are you getting the picture here? I could have desperately used a copy of Peter Walsh’s new book, Let It Go: Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life. Walsh eloquently outlines the emotions that we attach to our STUFF and helps explain how we can break down the self-erected barriers that we place around these things that prevent us from letting them go to find new homes.
The greatest examples came from my wife, who had so many memories that connect these items, this STUFF that we found ourselves sorting through. Some was easy STUFF; the four packed tight filing cabinets full of detailed files of instruction manuals, receipts, paper work and documents that had absolutely no value. That STUFF and a lot of broken down old items found their way into what would quickly become a 30 cubic yard dumpster full bound for the land fill. Then came the challenge of what we wanted to keep balanced against what we had room for in our home.
Walsh offers insight into not only way we gather all this STUFF, but how to break the attachment, the “I might need_______ someday” mindset that we use as an excuse to keep things in our possession. Walsh has developed such great insights into our mindsets that he is able to offer up guideposts and encouraging processes to help us get over those ties that bind us to our STUFF.
With the baby boomer generation aging with each passing day, more and more folks will be confronted with the difficult choices of downsizing either their parent’s homes or their own. Walsh offers great advice for both scenarios to help ease your way into these always difficult transitions. As someone who was dropped into that process, I recommend picking up a copy of Let It Go now before you are confronted with the task.
You will quickly start to examine your own life and the choices you make. As a writer, I love really nice pens and leather bound notebooks for more projects. With Walsh’s help I have determined it’s time to ponder the downsizing for my collection of both…maybe tomorrow. Hey Walsh is great and offers outstanding advice, but this is my STUFF.