Be a Clutter Buddy

But don’t miss the opportunity to be a LifeCatching buddy too!

When people downsize—move to a smaller home or an independent living community—they usually face the daunting task of sifting through the vast accumulation of stuff. They face the decision dilemma: to keep or not to keep? It goes beyond the practical decision of what mixing bowls to keep as they ponder the knick-knacks, mementoes and other items stashed in the closets and attic.

Caregivers can become a clutter buddy. I love that term. It’s so much easier to toss out someone else’s stuff than your own. In the role of clutter buddy, they are the objective assistant who creates a more efficient downsizing experience, buddy giving the other person “permission” to keep or toss stuff. They are objective. However, this role is also the perfect LifeCatching opportunity to note stories and memories to record.

First, sort the stuff. Your client makes the decisions while you supply the energy. Put their items in four distinct piles or categories:

(1)   items to move

(2)   items to donate

(3)   give away items

(4)   toss or shred 

Read more: Be a Clutter Buddy

LifeCatching Evolves – a new look and focus

First, a little background.
When my friend Polly Clark and I wrote LifeCatching: the art of saving and sharing memories, we wanted to explore the variety of methods used to save family and personal histories. We also wanted to inspire people to gather the stories now, rather than later. Our research began just as I had left a position as a marketing consultant to the funeral services industry where a new trend had emerged. Funerals were now referred to life celebrations. I even wrote a small booklet about this approach to personalizing the funeral ceremony for a couple of funeral home clients.

Life celebrations encouraged a freshness. Mourners were asked to share stories and display sentimental memorabilia. Grief counselors described it as a therapeutic process. However, I also observed how unprepared most people were for this reflective look at their loved one’s life. Quite simply, all opportunity to clarify memories, fill in details or hear the story in the person’s voice was gone. People scrambled for photos to build a collage and stressed over what items to display as representative of the person who had passed.

I was not alone in sensing a loss of connection among generations. At the same time, a burgeoning interest in genealogy surfaced. A growing number of people began to professionally record family histories as personal historians. Others delved into the phenomenal craft of scrapbooks. Memoirs clearly were not a passing fad, but seemed destined to become a bona fide literary genre. And, web sites like MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook introduced a unique forum for leaving a trace of yourself.

Welcome to our LifeCatching blog. We'll focus on story saving and archiving issues, techniques and tips; we'll post anecdotes that prove that there is no better time than the present to give the past a future—a LifeCatching mantra that I like to repeat and one that you will hopefully use as well. ~Barbara Tabach