Monday, May 27, 2024

Keepsakes or “Stuff”?


What your Kids Really Want you to Save

By Joan Law
Feng Shui Joan’s Way

What your kids really want you to save as you begin to downsize your life might surprise you. Especially in a throw away culture. Gone are the days where items are passed down to the young married couple just starting out. For example, today’s young couples would prefer inexpensive, easily replaceable, and contemporary place-settings rather than grandmother’s fancy Bone China dinnerware. And young couples are leaning toward lean and mean living and tiny homes.

The good thing about this trend indicates experiences rather than things take precedence. Who would have thought consumerism could manifest as good Feng Shui?

A sample of what your kids really want you to save might include your first passport or sentimental piece of jewelry. Looking at all those country stamps from exotic places will remind them of what an adventurer you are, and opens the door to retelling the stories of the time after college when you backpacked and hitchhiked through Europe and the Middle East. That ring you got at your Sweet 16, or the watch you received from your dad when you graduated college is priceless.

There are so many items gathered over a life-time that it is often hard for us to make those choices – so ask your kids to share in your journey to embrace those things that are most important.

Keep and pass on objects that have sentimental value. Here are some thoughts:
• One printed photo of your wedding.
• A photo of the first time you held them (you have tons but that first one is the keeper).
• Something belonging to the oldest living relative they know.
• Highlights of their childhood.

Don’t forget your furry friends! The dog tags worn by childhood pets could have a place in the remembrances box, along with a photo of them with the family.
Keep and pass on objects that have sentimental value.

Where Clutter Clearing and End-of-Life Planning Collide

This concept of what to keep and what to toss gets played out for me time and time again as I work with clients wishing to downsize. The other parallel concept that inevitably pops up is End-of-Life planning. In fact, my past three clients were in their 80’s. These recent projects really encompassed three distinct areas of focus.

My clients were all clearing clutter to make their homes more attractive to sell, down-sizing or deciding what to take with them so that they could move comfortably to assisted living or smaller, more manageable homes. Also under consideration was their legacy to their children – not wanting to leave kids with a mess to manage.

The task of “letting go of” or “re-imagining” sentimental things is a big deal. Clutter-clearing, down-sizing, and legacy/end-of-life planning utilizing Feng Shui principals is about managing each of these processes with intention.

The Process Goes Something Like This:

Clutter Clearing:
I work with clients to figure out what can be tossed and what can be donated. Bottom line the first step is to move the “stuff” you don’t need or want on. You might know of a friend who loved an item you no longer need. I’ll bet that friend would be pleasantly surprised and grateful if you passed it along as a gift.

Clutter Clearing and Gifting:
My daughter recently received a beautiful thrown pottery set from a friend who no longer needed it. Hand-made and infused with positive energy by Jeanette George Dais, this set sends my daughter off to college for her degree as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) in style and with well-wishes.

The “clutter” is gone. The next step is to figure out which of the items left are the most special. The idea is to get rid of the old catalogs and magazines or dishes and cutlery so that you can enjoy things that hold real value.

Legacy Items:
Knowing what/who/how selected possessions are to be retained and remembered is perhaps the most meaningful exercise. This is a great time to begin work on a Legacy Project…a physical reminder of who you are and the life you’ve lived, a gift to family, and a treasure to cherish. Examples include memory books, letters, video/audio recordings, crafting favorite objects/clothing into keepsakes, and more.

Here is an example of a fun Legacy Project. Choose favorite flannel, t-shirts, or blankets and craft them into a Memory Bear – ask me for info. Or investigate T-Shirt memory quilts that many local crafters make for folks.


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