What project is currently causing the most stress and anxiety for you or your family member?
It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the first step.
Or maybe you feel like you've worked for hours with little progress.
Or maybe you had no idea there was so much to process.
Whatever the reason, we all have projects that get put to the side until we have the energy, the help or the motivation to power through.
It is important to remember there is nothing to be embarrassed by. We bring no judgement with us when we come by to consult with you about your project! We come equipped with tools, resources and support to help lighten the load of that project that lives in the back of your mind. It may be the project that takes up your living space and brings with it stress, anxiety or could be unsafe. It might be a project that is filled with decades of memories, emotions and good intentions.
Sometimes there is relief in simply talking it out and making a plan with someone outside the situation, who can provide valuable feedback or resources for items you're not sure what to do with or don't know how to remove. You might not need us to come in and do all the work, but we can still offer support and guidance for you to be successful!
Are you helping a parent or grandparent with the process of downsizing?
Here are things we can do to help a loved one process an overwhelming project:
Ask them open ended questions, "Where did this piece come from?" instead of 'Are you keeping this" and "Can we get rid of this?" It might be as simple as it reminds them of someone, or brings back a good memory. Or it might be something that was very valuable at one time, or they anticipate it is valuable now. Whatever the reason, coming from a place of compassion and understanding goes farther than judgement or frustration.
If they are moving into a place with limited storage, offer a couple bins that will fit in the new space to start storing things that are important to keep. Sometimes seeing how quickly they fill up gives them a chance to re-evaluate what they are keeping.
Ask if taking a photo and writing down the memory will help process letting it go.
Focus on items that they know for sure they'd like to keep and start determining if it's staying with them or going to a family member. Ask family members if they are in need of said items or willing to take them. Sometimes our loved ones might hold on to dishes, for example, thinking a grandchild will want them when they move into their own apartment, and that might not be the case. Finding a thrift store, or family in need might help our loved one know the dishes aren't being disposed of, just simply finding a new home!
Avoid telling our loved ones what they need and don't need to bring. Giving up a lifetime of memories and sometimes independence is a difficult transition. Sometimes they are looking forward to letting go of responsibilities like decorating for the holidays and sometimes that is something they still cherish. What is important to us may not be what is important to them.
Set a timeline for when the project should be completed so everyone has a goal they are working towards. Limit your time working on the project to 2-3 hours a day depending on the energy level of your loved one. It often gets mentally and emotionally draining when we try to work for too many hours in one sitting and then becomes counter productive.
Do not throw away items you and your loved ones no longer want! We have resources who have buyers for the inconspicuous things that may have no value to you. We also try to donate as much as possible to the emergency food pantry, or to services that help clients and families who were previously homeless or escaping domestic violence situations who are in need of household items to start over. If you finish sorting through a project and have a pile of leftover things, give us a call and let us help find new homes for unwanted items.
Finally, take photos of the progress and be supportive of all the hard work done. Remove garbage from your project before you finish for the day to help visualize progress. If you are donating items or finding new homes for things, don't just transfer them to another pile, make a plan for where and when they will go.
Check out the photos below to see a before and after of a recent project we completed!
Local tips and resources
Did you know that you can bring leftover cleaning supplies (ideally half full or more) and unexpired food items to the emergency food shelf?
Fargo also has a free dump station at the landfill for Fargo/West Fargo Residents who have more garbage than their bin will fit at home. If you can't haul items to the landfill, you can also call the City of Fargo and let them know you will have items on the curb to be picked up and they will send someone out to pick up and bill it to your utilities!
Mattresses cannot be donated to thrift stores for hygiene reasons, but we have found families in need to appreciate a well cared for mattress! Especially one used for a spare room with lots of life left.
Downsizers are a demographic that will quickly grow over the next few years, which means thrift stores are already feeling the weight of excess household items and they may not accept everything you bring.
For more tips, resources or to schedule a consult give us a call! 701-430-9209