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As a senior, you have had the time to collect rich memories, special experiences, and lots and lots of things. If you’re like some people you might have shelves full of books you haven’t cracked open or knick-knacks from a vacation you went on 20 years ago cluttering up your life. On the other hand, there are many people who say that having less stuff laying around the house leads to less stress in your daily life.
The recent rise in fame of Marie Kondo and the KonMarie method of organization has shown that many Americans are embracing the idea of ditching unused items. These unnecessary items just take up space and collect dust. Viewers of her Netflix show and readers of her books have latched on to her teachings about how to simplify and organize your life. What is the Marie Kondo way and how can you use it to clear your house of clutter?
Before You Organize, Throw Stuff Away
When opening a closet is a delicate dance of holding stuff back so it doesn’t fall out, it might be time to organize it. But before you do, go through and see what you can either donate or throw away. The way people typical organize things is by shifting them around and putting them in an order that makes sense, and this is certainly part of the KonMarie method. However, she suggests you go through and discard all the stuff you don’t want or need any more before even starting the organization progress. Why go through the process of making a place for something that belongs in a donation bin or trash can? This applies if you are organizing a dresser or your entire house.
Keep Only the Things that Spark Joy
Getting rid of things can be difficult for most everybody. We attach feelings to the things that we own, from a t-shirt that you got in college to the lamp that you got from your grandmother (that might not even work). Nostalgia is normal, but it could be keeping you from simplifying your life. Kondo suggests that you give serious thought to whether an item “sparks joy.” If an object doesn’t make you happy it probably isn’t that valuable to you. Kondo asks you to think about this, “Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet or drawer that you have forgotten its existence? If things had feelings, they would certainly not be happy. Free them from the prison to which you have relegated them. Help them leave that deserted isle to which you have exiled them.” Once you’ve figured out what stays and what goes, it’s time to move on to the organizing process.
Declutter by Category, Not Location
It might make sense to start your project by moving from room to room, decluttering each one as you go. But this isn’t what Kondo suggests. She suggests that you organize by category. This means that instead of organizing your bedroom, you instead organize your clothes. You should gather up every piece of clothing in the house in once place, go through it to see what sparks joy and then put them in their place. Then you move on to the next. Her categories go in this order:
- komono (miscellany)
- sentimental items
This helps you keep focused on the task at hand instead of getting distracted by things like old letters or old pictures of your youth. Going in this order will also help you figure out what sparks joy and what doesn’t because it’s easier to compare items when they are all in one place.
Once you follow these steps you will be that much closer to living a stress-free life. Much like organizing your house, organizing your finances can be just as freeing. If you have a life insurance policy that doesn’t spark joy because you can’t afford the monthly premiums, or you just don’t want it and need funds for retirement, we can help take more stress away. Did you know you can sell all or a portion of your life insurance policy, even term insurance, for more than the cash surrender value? If you have any questions or want to get started, contact us today.
Case Study: Due to a chronic illness, Pat sold his business last year and no longer needed the company owned term life insurance policy. At the recommendation of his financial advisor, Pat sold the term life insurance policy and used the funds to check off a few boxes on his bucket list, supplement his retirement and pay off his medical bills.
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