Why Is Decluttering So Hard, Yet So Important?

I have spent the past five weekends purging twenty-one years of stuff to prepare our Westchester home for sale this spring.  

The decision to sell stems from the fact that our three kids, who were one, two and eight when we moved from the city to suburbia, are all grown and living on their own. We no longer need a four-bedroom house with an au pair room for two people and a dog.  

Going through all our stuff has been hard! Especially finding boxes of our kid’s writings from grade school and pamphlets from the school shows they performed in over the years.  

But if we get stuck in all the clutter of the past, how will we make room for a compelling future?  

I see candidates get stuck in the past all the time and therefore be unable to articulate what they do want in the future. For example, when I ask, “What do you want in your next role?” most spend three minutes telling me what they no longer want to do or what they didn’t like about their manager, firm, etc. I now stop them one minute in and ask, “Why don’t you tell me what you do want so we can focus on getting you that?” 

Decluttering a space or the thoughts in our mind that no longer service us is hard, especially alone. I found an amazing woman who has spent three days with us not only helping us to sort through things, but also taking things that can be reused and donating them to shelters and other charities. Having someone who is not enmeshed emotionally in our clutter enables them to give us perspective on what needs to go!  

As we declutter, I am picturing the next chapter of our post-suburban lives. What I do wish is that another family that’s ready to leave the city could raise their kids in this beautiful town on the Hudson River with a 36-minute express train to Grand Central.  

If you know anyone who’s looking for a home they can make beautiful memories in for many years, please connect them to me and I will happily contribute $5000 to a charity of your choice.  

By the way, we don’t need a real estate agent, as my husband is a real estate lawyer who has a long standing relationship with one.  

And please remember that when you get rid of things you no longer need from the past, you will open up space for things that will better serve you now. 

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