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By Paul Saitowitz - Riverside Press EnterpriseSeptember 15th 2006The kids are grown, the house is too big to care for, the rent is too high. People decide it's time to move into a smaller place for any number of reasons.
Virginia Cosper is moving from her four-bedroom home in Corona to a three-bedroom place in Salem, Oregon, and she's having a difficult time parting with things she knows have to go. "It's very difficult, especially getting rid of things my children have given me," she said. "It's really the toughest part of moving, but you can't hang on to things forever."
Barry Izsak, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers and a certified senior move manager in Austin, Texas, deals with this type of situation all the time. His hard-and-fast rule is that things worth keeping have to be beautiful or useful, or you have to love it. Anything else goes.
People have different criteria for why they keep things; sometimes it's because it's expensive, or maybe it used to belong to someone special to them. “There are many reasons," Izsak said and he should know. He has organized the moves for hundreds of clients in the Austin area and beyond. Izsak is a Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist (CRTS) and a Certified Professional Organizer® (CPO®).
"What I've learned is that no one will get rid of anything until they are ready to. I just try to get people to think about how often they use something and how important it really is to them. Just because they have a chair that belonged to their Uncle Charlie doesn't make it special; maybe Uncle Charlie got it at a garage sale himself and would wonder why you’re holding on to it."
Paula Taylor Moore, of Riverside-based Taylor Moore Design Group, said clutter not only makes the home less comfortable; it's not in style. She said function and fashion are slowly becoming one and the same.
"Single-story homes are what's hot right now and they don't allow for a lot of clutter to take up extra space," she said. "The kitchens and the master bedrooms are places people used to store things, and nowadays there just isn't room for that. These rooms need to function, and in order for that to happen, they can't be weighed down with unnecessary items."
Penny Lambright, of Clutter Cleaners in Huntington Beach, said that no matter how much space one has, it's a good idea to downsize when making a move. "People shouldn't feel obliged to keep things; if they feel that way, they end up with too much stuff," she said. "If something is just sitting in storage or taking up needed space, no one is benefiting from it."
Criteria for keeping something according to senior move managers and professional organizers:
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