A lot of my clients have the misconception that because I’m a professional organizer, I’m going to expect them to get rid of all their stuff.

What organizers really want is for our clients to simply use the stuff they choose to keep in their homes.

If someone is ready to let something go, I’ll always support them.  But I do take pause and try to dig a little deeper if I think they’re letting something go to avoid an uncomfortable feeling or task.

A favorite instance is when a client takes out lingerie that “they got for their honeymoon and wore once because, what’s the point?” As long as the lingerie is something that still fits and makes the person feel good, then I always challenge them to wear it that very night. What is there to lose?  Your partner will be pleasantly surprised and it’ll help you get use out of an item you may have been avoiding at risk of being embarrassed or disappointed.

I also challenge people to keep something for a month to see if they can put it to use.  Especially for my city clients, I seem to come across a lot of “tags still on” picnic kits.  Maybe taking on the challenge will actually motivate the person to use the kit like they’ve always intended and then it’ll become a monthly tradition their family now can’t live without.  Or maybe the deadline will come and go and now they can rest assured it’s time to let it go.

I often find beautiful serving ware, candle holders and china that people don’t ever use because they don’t want to bother with anything fussy.  But if you’re holding onto all these items for a rainy day, that day is today.  Set the table, use your china, drink from those delicate wine glasses, arrange your plate chargers, iron the tablecloth and eat a real meal together because you deserve it.

What all of these items have in common are good intentions.  People purchase them with every intention of using them but can’t seem to connect the dots to actually make it happen.

Someone who was exceptionally good at appreciating and using what she had was my mother in law, Rosemary.  She sadly passed away 2 years ago.  She was quite literally one of the classiest and intentional people I was lucky enough to know and love.  She always showed up for herself.  She always got ready, always “put on her lips” when taking a photo.  She inherited her Mom’s china and used it at every Holiday and sometimes for no reason at all.  After a meal, she would make us tea with a cream and gold teapot she received as a wedding gift 38 years prior.  She didn’t have a ton of stuff but she did have quality stuff and took careful care of it.  I find great solace in knowing she must have looked back at her life and knew she always showed up for herself and took care of the things that meant the most to her.

So burn the fancy candles, eat pizza off your Grandma’s china on a Tuesday and “put on your lips.”  If you choose to keep something, then commit to actually using it so it’s worthy of a space in your home.

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