It’s justuff has been 10 years in the making. Now available on Amazon and Kindle.
Here’s a sample of what you can expect.
This book has been written with consideration for the worst offenders of organizational disasters to well-meaning minimalists with a near hatred of excess. My clients are lovely men and women usually ranging from their early sixties into their late nineties. Each has his or her own history that determines how they perceive the sentimental and monetary value of their possessions. When it comes to the re-direction of their stuff, these notions can dramatically affect their ability to be objective. The real litmus test is the reality of true market value and what that means to family and friends. The trend today is leaning toward minimalism. GenXers and Millennials don’t want to repeat their parents and grandparent’s bad habits of collecting, hoarding and taking up valuable space in their homes. It’s a hard reality we all face when it’s our time to move forward and transition to the next new phase of life.
The good news is that Baby Boomers sandwiched between both spectrums of aging parents and their own children have proactively been coming forward in search of solutions to some challenging and overwhelming circumstances. Gen Xers and Millennials are screaming in our ears, “We want access, not ownership! Thanks, but we don’t want your stuff!” What exactly does “access not ownership” mean to this younger generation and why are they declining to accept responsibility for our stuff? Younger generations have been watching us. They see how our accumulation of unnecessary collectibles, excessive clothing, battered and beaten antiques, and out-and-out trash, as an elephant on our back, and they are neither willing nor able to take on our baggage. To them, it’s like a ball and chain around their neck.
My hope is that through this memoir of my career as a lifestyle transition strategist you will come to realize the reality of your own making. Join me on this journey through my work with some very special people who have helped me understand what it feels like to face the truth about the stuff we keep, and how it can prevent us from moving forward.
Back in mid-2005, I began testing the lifestyle transition startup concept. Originally, partnered with a reputable auction house, I launched a full-service business designed to usher people through the process of simplifying their lives. One of the core concepts behind the company was to intelligently and thoughtfully re-direct unwanted and unneeded personal property for sale, or donation to charity. Many of the resources and connections I refer to are relative to a specific geographic area however, similar businesses and charities likely exist in most cities and towns across America.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “charity” means “love for one’s fellow human beings” and “generosity toward the needy.” Some people have a tendency to refer to them as “the poor.” In fact, many of the people we help are not chronically poor. Due to economic conditions, divorce, loss of work or other circumstances beyond their control some people have simply had to start over and would not otherwise be categorized as being “poor.”
When it comes to Webster’s definition I am proud to say that my clients have exhibited extraordinary generosity toward those in need. They simply cannot stand to see perfectly good stuff go to waste and are willing to pass items on to those less fortunate. I often tell my clients that anyone can call the “junk monkeys” and have everything thrown into a dumpster, but it takes an educated and keen eye to discern between real junk and items good enough to be sold at auction or passed on to someone else. Even though many are tempted to take the easy way out and call for the dumpster, in their hearts they don’t want to be wasteful.
As the completion of my degree in Organization Dynamics came to a close, one of my final courses was in Environmental Science. One of the most significant things I learned was that Pennsylvania was the largest importer of other people’s trash in the country. I was floored. Right then and there I committed myself and my business to keep as much out of the dump as possible. As I formulated the standards for my company I held that notion near and dear to my heart. A major part of the service was to provide careful sifting through tons of personal property, thereby extracting anything that could be used or recycled, then ultimately redirecting it to people in need.
I invite you to walk with me through this entertaining and sometimes immensely challenging journey of my experiences as a lifestyle transition strategist.
I can tell you from experience that when it comes to categorizing what I do, there isn’t an easy catch-all word. My company and others similar to mine are still considered pioneers in the business of dealing with another people’s stuff. We are transition experts whose jobs are to intelligently lighten the loads of those who have accumulated more than they can reasonably handle and to aid them in simplifying their overall style of living.
Whether or not you are a hoarder, collector, want-to-be organized person or spouse of someone who cannot seem to throw anything away, I think you will enjoy reading an accounting of some actual real-life experiences. You may even learn a little about what you can do to prevent becoming a person of excess.
At the end of the book, there is a chapter titled “My 5-Prong Evaluation Process and 22 Questions You Should Ask Yourself.” These will serve as starting points for anyone interested in either processing his or her own home to ultimately hiring a professional to do the job. In reality, it may be harder than you think to face your secret clutter demons. Even those of you who are otherwise pretty well organized, mentally and physically capable, may find the process more daunting than you ever could have imagined. Perhaps the pristine main level of your home is a mere façade for the disastrous mess and embarrassing piles of junk lurking behind closed doors. Don’t get a complex about it, just decide to be pro-active. I invite you to start here.