Important Piece for the New Empty Nester

Important Piece for the New Empty Nester

Inevitably the season or quarter of life [2nd (26yrs-50 yrs) or 3rd (51yrs-75yrs)] arrives when the children as young adults move out, or at least part of them moves out. Teaching and helping them become successful adults, or adulting, as it is now being referred to, remains in play. The job of the adult parent is to set the boundaries for how much and for how long their stuff can continue to reside or be stored in your home or garage, attic or basement.

Have you had the experience of your grown children’s stuff still in your garage and you are growing tired of it? Consider if it is reasonable to keep their cabbage patch doll in your garage when the man child is 39 years old and not yet married. Would he really want to show Miss Right his doll that is in the mom’s garage? Doubt if she would be impressed. Or what about the 36-year-old single woman with 7 storage units in various cities around the county. Would that excite Mr. Right? Can you imagine introducing him to each unit? The woman’s parents guilted her into hanging on to all the deceased relative’s things because she might need or want it one day and she made all the monthly payments.

Their stuff is their stuff and they need to learn how to sort through what they want, will use and feel they need in their home (even if an apartment). They may really want to hold on to something and determine if it is worth storing in a unit they pay for and are responsible for; that is what successful adults do. They are responsible for their stuff up until their own last breath. They can decide when to let go of it and bless others that may need what they no longer need or use so resist storing their stuff for years or decades.

Like most of us, we tend to move a few times in our lives and there are things to do to help prepare for it and that is especially true with elder parents. Teresa Barthol’s article may be of help to you working through those challenging conversations at https://www.favelifestyles.com/conversations-with-parents

As a professional organizer since 2000 who describes herself as a Life Navigator, I’ve seen many no longer used or needed items in 80-year-old adults’ basements and garages that belonged to their own grown children along with things they kept themselves since their own early teen years. We all need to grow up and be honest about where we are and in which quarter we now experiencing life. Certainly, into our sixties we need to be paying close attention to our accumulation of stuff. Personally, I want to be a blessing to my grown children and not burden them with a lot of stuff to wade through and determine where or to whom items should go. I know one family that was able to remove all their elder mother’s things the day following her death since editing what was needed and used continued to the last days of her life.

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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Loving Where You Live as an Empty Nester

Loving Where You Live as an Empty Nester

Those sudden unexpected events that too often fall upon us happed to me, and as a new widow, I needed to drastically downsize or right size for my new normal as a single woman with and empty nester and move into an apartment until I could decide where to live. Wanting to love where I lived regardless of whether it was an apartment or condo, with less square footage, I knew I needed a theme to help me let go of some of the things collected over the years on travels and from experiences. I wanted that theme to run throughout each room. I decided to focus on sailing since my husband and I had a lot of memorable sailing experiences throughout our marriage.

Knowing my theme helped me let go of many things like mementos from trips to Russia and Australia. Things given to me over the years became of less interest to hang on to knowing I wanted sailing to breeze through my home. It truly helped me in editing through things that I kept because before his passing we had so much space and like many women, I had attachments to handmade items from my children’s school projects. There simply was not enough room. I had to grow up and realize I could not take it all with me and that is true for each of us right up to our last breath.

I could not love where I lived if I felt crammed or jammed or packed into it and I wanted to be content and happy in my new place wherever that would be. When I walked into the ‘home’ after being gone for a period of time whether that was in hours or days, I wanted to feel happy that I walked in the door and sense the peace and calm. I wanted my guests to feel that way too.

I felt the joy in giving things from our home and even the children’s rooms like beds and dressers to people that needed or could use those items. I needed to let go of Christmas decorations and ornaments collected over the 36 years since I would not be needing all of them and giving them to my children as young married adults for their own Christmas tree blessed me tremendously. I treated myself to a whole new small collection of snowman themed ornaments purchased on sale after Christmas that were uniquely designed. I thought of grandchildren that would one day come and I wanted them to love my tree. Now when I visit my children and grandchildren at the holidays, I can enjoy seeing those old ornaments on their trees. My heart sings with happiness. Plus, my grandchildren enjoy seeing and counting all my silly snowmen.

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

Clients want to know where to start when they are looking at moving or downsizing in the next year or sooner.  A good question for each of us to ask ourselves is, if there was a serious need to move to a new residence, could the current home be listed for sale in 30 days?  If not, then it is time to get to work and get to that place and be ready.  Life has a way of throwing surprises at us that cause a move and it can be stressful to say the least.  Regardless your age or circumstance, having your home ready to list in 30 days is a smart way to live.  Why let the baggage that accumulated stuff over time with families and hobbies and recreation to pile up and cause chaos which impacts our overall health?

 For the men, I suggest we see how much paint they have in the garage or shop.  If they have several or many cans, then we talk about starting there.  That is one way to get the process moving.  For the women we often start with the closets.  It is time to get serious and real about what fits; consider how long is has been in the closet and when was it worn last?  Asking if is still within the realm of possibility that the clothing will fit again is key to keeping it or letting go. One client found maternity clothes she had not worn in 24 years.

From there we do a walk through the entire home and identify what would be taken to the next residence.  All the closets and drawers are sorted through for what is still needed and used and worthy of keeping and taking up space.  Fortunately for those of us in the Puget Sound area, we have the Big Blue truck.  They will pick up at the curb up to 30 bags and boxes of items to be donated.  It just takes scheduling them to pick up on the day of the week they are in the neighborhood. 

Keep asking yourself if you could list in 30 days and what would you need to do to be ready?  Is there a garage to finally declutter or a storage unit that with monthly payments?   Is there an old car sitting on the property?  Are there games that no one plays any longer?  Is there recreational equipment that is no longer used?  What about musical instruments that could be passed along?

Think seriously about donating every item no longer needed or used to a thrift store that aligns with your heart. When an item you donate is sold it supports a mission that moves your heart.  That way you want to keep giving items no longer needed or used in your home along to someone that needs and wants what was once stored in your home.  Be generous, be a blessing in your community, in the world.

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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How to Navigate Life (through each season of aging)

How to Navigate Life (through each season of aging)

Like sailing from Hawaii to San Francisco, life has some navigational tips for each of us at every stage or season of our life. 

Allow me to quickly define the four seasons of life, generally,

1st season: birth to 25 years of age: growing, school

2nd: 26 to 50: possible marriage, children, teens, career

3rd season: 51-75: empty nesters, second wind

4th season: 76 to the finish line; more obvious changes in physical abilities, mental capacity, health challenges have accumulated and shown up.

I did that sailing trip from Hawaii to San Francisco in the summer of 1980 with a learning curve like much of life.  As rather novice sailors we bought a 32’ sailboat that we loved from friends in Hawaii, flew with a lot of gear, prepped the sadly dilapidated boat 12 hours a day for 3 weeks then pushed off.  Our goal or destination was to hit landfall in San Francisco which we did 23 days later.  That is step one in navigating life. 

Step 1. What is the destination? 

With a partner on board, the three of us traded 2-hour watches every 24-hour period.  Each of us was on watch for 2 hours then off for 4 hours, then repeat. (On a watch you keep looking for any danger in the water like floating cargo containers, or ships approaching on a collision course). We paid attention and were ready to respond quickly to changes. That is step two, pay attention. Be ready for changes.

Step 2.  Pay attention

To reach our destination we needed to know where we were in that big Pacific Ocean so at noon each day the two men each took sightings of the sun to calculate mathematically where we were on the chart. I trusted them and was not interested in learning how to do the math or use a slide rule or calculator.

At this season of my life, that would be nearing the fourth season, with my husband recently diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment or early dementia, new things are showing up that need attention.  His comments let me know he is worried about what will happen to him should I precede him in death; who will take care of him and where will he sleep and eat.  So, at this season of life, we are visiting a variety of senior living communities so he can get a feel now for his choices and make some early decisions.  That way his children will know his desires and early plans will be in place for him.  All this is to give him some peace of mind and assure him he does not have to worry.

In no way am I ready to move into a senior living community, but my health could turn in a moment.  That is my reality after a serious auto accident a year ago that could have been disastrous. So, I am paying attention, being aware, watching and ready for a shift in our weather so I am ready to change sails or reef the main sail for a sudden gale that is approaching. Being ready is step three in navigating life.

Step 3. Be ready

I encourage you to be paying attention to your life, be aware and ready to what might be coming and be prepared.  Live life with intention.

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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Creating Summer Memories for Children and Grandchildren

Creating Summer Memories for Children and Grandchildren

As a parent or grandparent kids are almost out of school so plans are being made now for summer fun and activities.  It is time to set those goals to create lasting memories.

Being the mom-slave catering to their lazy schedule and whims and moaning two young teen boys was not this mom’s idea of a memorable summer. So, our schedule meant a time to get up each day well before noon.  No sleeping in until whenever they felt like getting up.

There were regular daily chores and some outdoor projects that had to be completed to get to the fun like trips to the beach, zoo, movie or backpacking trips with their dad and sometimes mom too.

To this day 20 years later the guys still groan about the hours they spent digging a ditch between our home and the neighbors. It had springs that caused intermittent flooding in the yard.  The ditch was to direct the water run down the front yard hill and into the gutter.  The construction required a pry bar, a heavy metal pole to break up the soil to shovel aside.  They called their time spent ditch digging as being in the gulag.  They also had to help collect large rocks from a local quarry area and haul home in a truck to line ditch.  They made us parents laugh but it helped build their young muscles and work out their high summer energy.  To this day they now claim their own children will be digging a ditch because they know how good it was for them.

One of the boys had his friend help him dig a huge hole in the yard for koi pond this mom wanted.  Plans changed and it turned into a lovely stream that spilled over well placed rocks for that soothing gurgling sound.  They did enjoy that.

They had plenty of time to romp around the 50 acres of green belt behind out home, playing with friends and taking field trips with friends to parks, beaches and the zoo. 

Each summer included the youth group camping trip with friends. As a youth leader-mom time with deep discussions and laughter helped lead the young women in maturing into womanhood with the fun talks and much laughter.  Twenty years later many of the kids, now adults with their own children, meet over meals and movies in each other’s homes. A few of the guys and gals found life partners within the group.

As a grandparent, summer projects with grandchildren vary with the age of the grandchildren. My sister is planning to have two of her pre-teen granddaughters help build birdhouses to replace old ones for the side of the barn.  Another is doing wide ranging mediums in art projects. My younger grandchildren will be going to the park to play often on the slides, swings and lots of sand building castles at the beach.  Personally, I won’t give up on investing into the children’s lives.  They won’t forget their summers!

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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3 Steps to Calm the Chaos in your Garage

3 Steps to Calm the Chaos in your Garage

Can you park a car or maybe two in your garage? Can we walk up to the workbench?

Now is the best time of the year to put some order in the garage chaos that you have been living with for too long. Take advantage of the remaining days of good weather left this summer to finally tackle the mass accumulation of stuff in your garage. First: Set a goal for your garage, like park a car in the garage, Second could be walk up to the work bench, not over stuff to get to it. Third, have a cleared off workbench to step up to and work on a project.

One contractor I worked with had those three goals in mind but his garage was so crammed full of stuff there was literally no more room. So he set a goal to only keep what he needed to complete three remaining projects. He wanted to park a car in the garage and be able to walk up to his workbench. This is how we helped him reach his goals:

1st We spread a tarp on the driveway and brought out all the extra electrical wire, and there was lots of it, then all the plumbing supplies. We consolidated all the somewhat white latex paint into one 5-gallon bucket. All the scraps of metal were sold. We continued to bring things out to the tarp for the gentleman to go through and select what he would keep. Remember, his goal was to keep only what he would need for the final three projects.

2nd Each category of supplies was groups and placed on racks stacked floor to ceiling along all the walls of the garage. So we had all the electrical supplies grouped, all the plumbing, all the paints and painting supplies, all the medium sized tools then all the large tools. In front of the workbench on the wall we placed a pegboard to hold the tools he most often needed for his projects, so he had at his fingertips what he used and needed. We also had a row of racks in the area between the where the cars would be parked. Every inch of wall space was used so nothing rested on the floors which made for easy cleaning. A blower could make quick work of cleanup.

Elisa Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
www.elisahawkinson.com

about

Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson

 

 

Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.

 

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