Are you and your children exactly the same? Do they have the same style, the same interests and the same hobbies? If you’re like most folks, probably not! That’s perfectly normal. But when you’re no longer here, will they embrace your plethora of tchotchkes, your jam-packed attic contents and your extensive collection of books? Maybe not! So in that case, giving thought to what you intend to leave behind for them is critical to shaping the legacy you want to create.
Now this isn’t a focus on your financial assets. Rather, it’s a pause to view your physical possessions with a critical eye. It’s very, very easy to accumulate things when you have the space to store them. But some day, when you are gone, what will happen to everything? Will your stuff become a blessing or a burden to your family?
This is exactly where space clearing plays an invaluable role. In fact, when folks reach midlife in Sweden, the national decluttering phase known as “Döstädning”, or “Death Cleaning” begins. You can read more about it here: http://downsize365.com/swedish-death-cleaning/ The idea is to examine your life through reviewing the stuff in your home. Items that no longer serve a purpose are discarded. Things that resonate with heartfelt memories are retained. Imagine how this legacy practice could define the core of your essence for both you and your family!
1. Your values
Give thought to the things that represent what matters to you. For example, it could be your sense of humor, so the knock knock joke book read to the grandkids is worth saving. It could be your faith, represented by your bible. Or it might be your hallmark of always being punctual, so your watch may be the perfect symbol to pass along.
2. Your achievements
What accomplishments are you most proud of? Were you a runner? Were you in the military? Are you bi- or even tri-lingual? Think about the defining moments of your life. Items that reflect what you mastered or completed might be symbolized with a photo or a medal.
3. Your hobbies
Lastly, how do you spend your free time? A musical instrument, a gardening tool or a walking stick can remind your children what sparked your creativity. Your hobbies may or may not have included them. But the point is they defined what energized you. Isn’t that a fantastic legacy…to pass along the lesson of finding your passion?
Still not convinced about what to save for your kids and what to declutter now? Certainly you can (and should) ask them directly. But check out this top 10 list which tells you what they may be hesitant to say out loud: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/03/04/your-top-10-objects-your-kids-dont-want/#7eb848341bec . It even provides some smart ideas on the best way to pass along meaningful family history, such as overflowing boxes of photos (hint: convert them to digital).
Where are you at with space clearing? Have you been working at it for a while? Still need to get going? What’s challenging about this process? Most importantly, have you had “the talk” with your kids abut what they want from you? Drop and share your comments below…and thanks for stopping by!