This week’s episode is dedicated to Sonya Renee Taylor. Sonya is an award-winning poet, activist, author and leader. While I am still relatively new to her work, it feels like she has grabbed me by the shoulders and is shaking me awake. She speaks boldly and directly about whiteness and white supremacist delusion in ways that are disrupting the comfort zone that I and many white people reside in. You can find Sonya at sonyareneetaylor.com and on Instagram @sonyareneetaylor.
Tips for Helping Your Loved One Downsize & Purify
In episode 75, Dyanne Kelley shared her Purification story. She had just 3 weeks to downsize 25 years of accumulated belongings before moving to a new state. She shared that her team of well-meaning friends moved very fast – holding things up and asking rapid-fire questions: Do you want this? Are you keeping that? While this approach helped to get the job done, it also caused some additional stress.
As I’ve mentioned in previous episodes, my own mom is in the process of downsizing. I’ve been experiencing first hand the joys and challenges of helping a loved one downsize after 33 years in one home.
With the experiences of Dyanne, my mom, and myself in mind, I’ve created an episode full of tips for you to support a loved one while they downsize and Purify. Here you go!
Consider the Overall Context
- Know what this process means to your loved one. They may be excited and thrilled to be moving into a new phase of life. They may be grieving the loss of what once was, and/or fearful about what’s to come. Understanding what your loved one is going through can help you bring an energy that matches their experience.
- Know the timeline. Knowing if there is a hard deadline – and what it is – can help you bring the appropriate level of motivational energy to help get the job done. The process can be quite different for someone who has 3 weeks to downsize versus 3 or 6 months. Someone who is Death Cleaning may not have a specific deadline, but is internally motivated to downsize so family or friends don’t have to deal with their belongings after the person’s death.
- Know what you’re offering to help with. Are you helping with one room or space, or are you agreeing to help with an entire home? By communicating about what you’re agreeing to up front, you can avoid unmet expectations as you go.
- Remember the Purification principles. Purification is different from decluttering in that we bring our whole selves to the process. As you’re preparing to help your loved one, consider how you can incorporate intuition, mindfulness, grounding, spiritual practices and energy tools – as well as practical and logistical considerations.
Tips for You – the Helper
Helping someone to downsize and Purify can be very rewarding, and also intense! Supporting your loved one while they sort through and make decisions about years or even decades of accumulated belongings can be taxing physically, emotionally and mentally. Here are some tips for making sure you’re prepared to bring your most vibrant self to your loved one’s process.
- Meet your basic needs. Get plenty of sleep the night before a downsizing session with your loved one. Take along plenty of water, snacks, and even a meal to eat during the day. Bring a dust mask in case of dusty conditions.
- Be comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes. Choose clothing that is appropriate for the season and also the spaces you’ll be in. Attics can be HOT in the summer and COLD in the winter.
- Know and keep your boundaries. Know how much time and energy you’re willing and able to give. Communicate about it – and stick to it.
- Prepare yourself energetically. Use your spiritual practices to juice up your energy field. You can choose crystals to carry with you; send Reiki to yourself, your loved one, and all aspects of the process; pray and meditate. Whatever you need to feel centered, grounded, and energized.
- Self-care time. If you feel tired and drained after supporting your loved one in a downsizing session, give yourself some self-care time. Pause. Reflect. Journal. Have a salt bath. Take a walk. Take a nap. Whatever you need to feel replenished and renewed.
- Be aware of personal reactions. If you’re helping a parent or grandparent downsize a home from your childhood, be aware of your personal experience. You may feel overjoyed with old memories. You may feel overwhelmed facing things you haven’t seen or thought about for years. You might experience some combination of both.
Tips for Helping Your Loved One
Here are some tips specifically designed to support your loved one as they downsize and Purify.
- Create a strategy. Get clear on the time frame for the whole project and what the goals are for this specific downsizing session. Be sure you don’t ‘take over’ – talk with your loved one about what they want to accomplish and how you can help.
- Develop a flow. Decide where you’ll put things that are being kept, donated, tossed, recycled, etc. This will help organize the process and develop a flow.
- Mindful check ins. As a support person, you have the unique perspective of being in the process and also observing what’s happening. Be sure to pause occasionally to check in – does your loved one need a break, a snack, some water, a chance to talk about how they’re feeling? (Be sure to check in about your own needs, as well!) This approach will help stave off burn out and break downs.
- Make no assumptions. Be open and curious. Make no assumptions about what objects have value to your loved one – and which ones don’t. Our connections to our belongings are personal and intimate – and sometimes even mysterious!
- Be patient. Downsizing and Purifying – especially within a tight time frame – can be challenging, stressful, confusing, and agitating. Pause for deep breaths and keep perspective.
- Listen. As a support person, you are there for more than just the heavy lifting. You can listen and support your loved one in a deeper way. Listen with the ‘third ear’ – hear what your loved one is saying and even what they aren’t talking about.
I hope these tips serve you and your loved one well on their downsizing and Purifying adventure!
If you and your loved one need more emotional support or practical planning, I can help. Reach out for a Clarify to Purify Session now.
Until next time, keep on Purifying!