Your Own Home

Reduce and Rehome: What’s Your Life’s Theme?

By Jamie McPherson, Your Own Home

Laura Gilbert, a professor and author from Minnesota, recently retired to help take care of her mother. Traveling frequently between her home and her mother’s in Florida, Laura had plenty of time to think about something she had put off for a while: “What are we going to do with all this STUFF?”

Preserve Your Life’s Legacy

Laura’s mother, a 95-year-old Big Band-era musician, didn’t get rid of anything. In fact, she is the type of hoarder so “paralyzed by her relationship with stuff” that many visits from her daughter were also attempts to begin paring down the volume of items collected over the years. Unfortunately, with her mother’s age has come a failing memory. Seeing her triggered by objects from the past and recollecting a story or person’s name, Laura knew she had to preserve the history, but not the clutter.

Three years ago, Laura published “The Stories We Leave Behind,” a book detailing her “legacy-based” approach to the sometimes daunting task of helping a loved one reduce and re-home items acquired over a lifetime. She urges everyone to find a few themes for their life, focus on retaining things related to those themes, then let go of the rest. Downsizing and decluttering are the outcome, but the real goal is embracing the possessions you want to leave behind.

When the time comes, Laura envisions a Discovery Half-Day for her family. After the funeral, when they walk into her mother’s home, they will be able to find exactly what they need (like important documents) and discover the themes of her mother’s life, so any big decisions can be made in a half day. By focusing on the themes of her life, her mother is leaving a legacy of her passions and hobbies instead of boxes filled with old receipts. Unburdening her family like this will give them plenty of time to reminisce while looking through photo albums rather than being overwhelmed searching or organizing old “stuff.”

You may also like: Capturing Your Family’s Past For The Future

What’s Your Story?

Tackling this much work is best done over time. Start with a drawer or a cabinet, and think about what story you want told when you are through. If you don’t know where to start, ask the team at Your Own Home! We have the experience to help you inventory your belongings, plan themes to guide your cleanout efforts, rehome items to family
members, and finally, organize the remainder so it is more accessible to you. This can be the first big step towards leaving a legacy reflecting your life and accomplishments, instead of just a box of old receipts.

At Your Own Home, we care about you, your family and your legacy. Your Own Home, LLCprovides personalized In-Home Care Plans that meet a person’s every need. Call us today at 302-478-7081 or email to find out how we help make your time
together enjoyable and not a chore. We’re here for you!

Share your thoughts