FOCUS ON SENIORS: The ABCs of stuff

Opinion May 12, 2016 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

Acquisitions, belongings and collections – we all have them.

But what happens to this “stuff” as we age and our interests or abilities change?

What do we do when our housing situations change and we have less room for storage?

People are beginning to talk more about the aging process and the various decisions that must be faced by older adults and their families. Changing attitudes about growing older and the importance we place on possessions could possibly alleviate a great deal of stress when it’s time to move.  

How do we accumulate the things we do? Why do we keep the things we do? 

It begins from an early age when children collect toys. Today’s kids have so many choices to make when zeroing in on favourite toys and games. Indeed, before they know it, they may own vast collections of dolls and hundreds of pieces of Lego.

It falls to the parents to consider storage options as the belongings accumulate. Larger homes may have play rooms while others depend on tote boxes to manage the volume. When people move, transporting toys and games becomes part of the challenge … one that becomes a lifetime difficulty.

The next stage of the acquisition game begins as young adults start new careers and build families.

Upgrading, enhancing and improving become the norm during this time.

Memories accumulate when items associated with special times or poignant moments are added to the collections. Basements and attics fill with cardboard boxes of old photos, report cards, awards and pieces of children’s artwork. And almost every family has a “junk drawer.”

Building on collections or buying new stuff is exciting. It makes us feel good. For some, it confirms success and elevates feelings of self-worth – and that’s OK. In fact, we should celebrate career advancements and treasure family milestones.

The rite of acquisition continues as family members pass on their heirlooms and valued collections. Stuff continues to accumulate.

As one ages, it’s common to take stock. Perhaps this would be a time to consider what is to become of our acquisitions, belongings and collections. Will we leave those decisions to our children and their children to figure out? Will they be charged with the responsibility to empty attics, garages, and closets filled with stuff when we are no longer here?

Parting with treasured family heirlooms or childhood mementos is an emotionally painful process. As adults we have our own collections that are important to us.

Priceless china, crystal and sterling silver flatware fill our china cabinets. Do we celebrate the exquisiteness of the design or the memory of its acquisition by using these belongings on a regular basis? Or do we relegate them to glass-fronted furniture in pride of place, to be seen but not touched?

For some, our belongings are so valuable we prefer to keep them hidden away in boxes under beds or on top shelves out of sight in order to keep them safe.

The good news is you can begin to manage the “ABCs of Stuff” today. Start small.

First, if you haven’t removed anything from your junk drawer in recent memory, dump it into the garbage immediately. Go ahead. Empty it. Obviously you don’t need the contents. 

Next, when you set the table for supper tonight, use your best china, silverware and crystal. Make it a point to use these special items on a regular basis. Appreciate them. Enjoy them.

Then, decide who you wish to leave these precious items to when you are no longer here. Are you sure the recipient would want them? Ask them.  

You might be disappointed to learn they appreciate the gesture, but have no desire to receive the items. It might be painful to put your items for sale on the internet, but consider it. The sale would give you additional funds and the buyer really wants to make the purchase. They might be starting their own collection, or be missing a few pieces to complete one. Either way, your “stuff” will make someone happy.

Consider repurposing or recycling some of your items.

There are many organizations looking for good quality used clothing, shoes, boots, dishes, cutlery or furniture.  Even better, to save you time and energy, many of them have scheduled pick up times where they come right to your home to gather the donations.

You may even receive a charitable receipt. Your belongings will go to truly deserving families and support charitable works of community agencies. In this manner, your “stuff” will make someone very happy.

Growing older certainly has its challenges. Deciding what to do with acquisitions, belongings and collections is one example. However, by taking stock and doing research, you’ll find there are many solutions to deal with storage or dispersal needs.

So take a deep breath and begin today.  Your children and grandchildren will thank you for it.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: The ABCs of stuff

Planning ahead for possessions

Opinion May 12, 2016 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

Acquisitions, belongings and collections – we all have them.

But what happens to this “stuff” as we age and our interests or abilities change?

What do we do when our housing situations change and we have less room for storage?

People are beginning to talk more about the aging process and the various decisions that must be faced by older adults and their families. Changing attitudes about growing older and the importance we place on possessions could possibly alleviate a great deal of stress when it’s time to move.  

How do we accumulate the things we do? Why do we keep the things we do? 

It begins from an early age when children collect toys. Today’s kids have so many choices to make when zeroing in on favourite toys and games. Indeed, before they know it, they may own vast collections of dolls and hundreds of pieces of Lego.

It falls to the parents to consider storage options as the belongings accumulate. Larger homes may have play rooms while others depend on tote boxes to manage the volume. When people move, transporting toys and games becomes part of the challenge … one that becomes a lifetime difficulty.

The next stage of the acquisition game begins as young adults start new careers and build families.

Upgrading, enhancing and improving become the norm during this time.

Memories accumulate when items associated with special times or poignant moments are added to the collections. Basements and attics fill with cardboard boxes of old photos, report cards, awards and pieces of children’s artwork. And almost every family has a “junk drawer.”

Building on collections or buying new stuff is exciting. It makes us feel good. For some, it confirms success and elevates feelings of self-worth – and that’s OK. In fact, we should celebrate career advancements and treasure family milestones.

The rite of acquisition continues as family members pass on their heirlooms and valued collections. Stuff continues to accumulate.

As one ages, it’s common to take stock. Perhaps this would be a time to consider what is to become of our acquisitions, belongings and collections. Will we leave those decisions to our children and their children to figure out? Will they be charged with the responsibility to empty attics, garages, and closets filled with stuff when we are no longer here?

Parting with treasured family heirlooms or childhood mementos is an emotionally painful process. As adults we have our own collections that are important to us.

Priceless china, crystal and sterling silver flatware fill our china cabinets. Do we celebrate the exquisiteness of the design or the memory of its acquisition by using these belongings on a regular basis? Or do we relegate them to glass-fronted furniture in pride of place, to be seen but not touched?

For some, our belongings are so valuable we prefer to keep them hidden away in boxes under beds or on top shelves out of sight in order to keep them safe.

The good news is you can begin to manage the “ABCs of Stuff” today. Start small.

First, if you haven’t removed anything from your junk drawer in recent memory, dump it into the garbage immediately. Go ahead. Empty it. Obviously you don’t need the contents. 

Next, when you set the table for supper tonight, use your best china, silverware and crystal. Make it a point to use these special items on a regular basis. Appreciate them. Enjoy them.

Then, decide who you wish to leave these precious items to when you are no longer here. Are you sure the recipient would want them? Ask them.  

You might be disappointed to learn they appreciate the gesture, but have no desire to receive the items. It might be painful to put your items for sale on the internet, but consider it. The sale would give you additional funds and the buyer really wants to make the purchase. They might be starting their own collection, or be missing a few pieces to complete one. Either way, your “stuff” will make someone happy.

Consider repurposing or recycling some of your items.

There are many organizations looking for good quality used clothing, shoes, boots, dishes, cutlery or furniture.  Even better, to save you time and energy, many of them have scheduled pick up times where they come right to your home to gather the donations.

You may even receive a charitable receipt. Your belongings will go to truly deserving families and support charitable works of community agencies. In this manner, your “stuff” will make someone very happy.

Growing older certainly has its challenges. Deciding what to do with acquisitions, belongings and collections is one example. However, by taking stock and doing research, you’ll find there are many solutions to deal with storage or dispersal needs.

So take a deep breath and begin today.  Your children and grandchildren will thank you for it.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: The ABCs of stuff

Planning ahead for possessions

Opinion May 12, 2016 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

Acquisitions, belongings and collections – we all have them.

But what happens to this “stuff” as we age and our interests or abilities change?

What do we do when our housing situations change and we have less room for storage?

People are beginning to talk more about the aging process and the various decisions that must be faced by older adults and their families. Changing attitudes about growing older and the importance we place on possessions could possibly alleviate a great deal of stress when it’s time to move.  

How do we accumulate the things we do? Why do we keep the things we do? 

It begins from an early age when children collect toys. Today’s kids have so many choices to make when zeroing in on favourite toys and games. Indeed, before they know it, they may own vast collections of dolls and hundreds of pieces of Lego.

It falls to the parents to consider storage options as the belongings accumulate. Larger homes may have play rooms while others depend on tote boxes to manage the volume. When people move, transporting toys and games becomes part of the challenge … one that becomes a lifetime difficulty.

The next stage of the acquisition game begins as young adults start new careers and build families.

Upgrading, enhancing and improving become the norm during this time.

Memories accumulate when items associated with special times or poignant moments are added to the collections. Basements and attics fill with cardboard boxes of old photos, report cards, awards and pieces of children’s artwork. And almost every family has a “junk drawer.”

Building on collections or buying new stuff is exciting. It makes us feel good. For some, it confirms success and elevates feelings of self-worth – and that’s OK. In fact, we should celebrate career advancements and treasure family milestones.

The rite of acquisition continues as family members pass on their heirlooms and valued collections. Stuff continues to accumulate.

As one ages, it’s common to take stock. Perhaps this would be a time to consider what is to become of our acquisitions, belongings and collections. Will we leave those decisions to our children and their children to figure out? Will they be charged with the responsibility to empty attics, garages, and closets filled with stuff when we are no longer here?

Parting with treasured family heirlooms or childhood mementos is an emotionally painful process. As adults we have our own collections that are important to us.

Priceless china, crystal and sterling silver flatware fill our china cabinets. Do we celebrate the exquisiteness of the design or the memory of its acquisition by using these belongings on a regular basis? Or do we relegate them to glass-fronted furniture in pride of place, to be seen but not touched?

For some, our belongings are so valuable we prefer to keep them hidden away in boxes under beds or on top shelves out of sight in order to keep them safe.

The good news is you can begin to manage the “ABCs of Stuff” today. Start small.

First, if you haven’t removed anything from your junk drawer in recent memory, dump it into the garbage immediately. Go ahead. Empty it. Obviously you don’t need the contents. 

Next, when you set the table for supper tonight, use your best china, silverware and crystal. Make it a point to use these special items on a regular basis. Appreciate them. Enjoy them.

Then, decide who you wish to leave these precious items to when you are no longer here. Are you sure the recipient would want them? Ask them.  

You might be disappointed to learn they appreciate the gesture, but have no desire to receive the items. It might be painful to put your items for sale on the internet, but consider it. The sale would give you additional funds and the buyer really wants to make the purchase. They might be starting their own collection, or be missing a few pieces to complete one. Either way, your “stuff” will make someone happy.

Consider repurposing or recycling some of your items.

There are many organizations looking for good quality used clothing, shoes, boots, dishes, cutlery or furniture.  Even better, to save you time and energy, many of them have scheduled pick up times where they come right to your home to gather the donations.

You may even receive a charitable receipt. Your belongings will go to truly deserving families and support charitable works of community agencies. In this manner, your “stuff” will make someone very happy.

Growing older certainly has its challenges. Deciding what to do with acquisitions, belongings and collections is one example. However, by taking stock and doing research, you’ll find there are many solutions to deal with storage or dispersal needs.

So take a deep breath and begin today.  Your children and grandchildren will thank you for it.