Posted by: Ellen Hankes | February 14, 2010

Why is Change Like Love?

Even professional organizers have to go through their own life-accumulations and make decisions about keeping items or finding other homes for unused or unneeded belongings. Recently my husband Ray and I repurposed a basement closet that would accommodate current needs and interests. That meant things that had lived in the closet for the last several years needed evaluating for their keeping quality.

A cardboard box held my nearly 40 year-old wedding bouquet. Is that a keeper? After all, it has lived in five homes in four states. About every five years, I peek in the box and close it up again. Today as I viewed those dried flowers and faded ribbons, it seemed a perfect day to throw it away and make room for our current interests.

It is important for us to remember that change is a process. It may take you far less than 40 years to decide to part with a once-precious item, or you may never part with it. Change is sort of like love–you’ll know it when you find it!



  1. I was pretty proud of my new ability to get rid of some of my things, but I have found that sometimes, other people may have an attachment to some of that stuff, too. For example, my 10 yr old son asked me about a pile of Christmas decorations that I was wanting to part with. When he found out what my plans were, he scowled and asked me to keep them, because he would be sad if I got rid of them. A few years ago, I decided to put my wedding dress on my garage sale and an afghan blanket that my grandmother had made for me. My sister found out about my plans and promptly informed me that she would like to have both items. She thought that her daughter could fit into my dress better than her’s, in a few years. So, now, I try to check with my family, if I think they may have an interest in any of my things, before I get rid of them. This can be a bit of a hassle, since I don’t see my extended family that often, but they seem to really appreciate it.

    It is very freeing to know that it is OK to get rid of stuff, by throwing it, giving it, or selling it away. That concept was completely foreign to me, until just a few years ago, whe I started watching a show called Clean Sweep. My parents have multiple sheds full of things, because they never part with anything!!! Thank goodness I can’t afford to buy a shed, and I have to make everything I own fit into my small house! 🙂

  2. Thank you for your insightful comments, Brenda. Checking in with family is a great idea when moving things on to new uses. It is an honor when others want to extend the usefulness or beauty of something we have originally chosen or received.

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