When Everything Is Special

· Purging · , , ,
Stuffed Animals

50 “special” stuffed animals (and a dog).

Deadly flooding, devastating hurricanes, and raging wild fires – never in my memory have so many natural disasters occurred in such a short period of time. News reports talk about the loss of lives, loss of homes, and loss of financial security for those impacted, and even weeks later, for some, the unavailability of basic needs like water and sanitary supplies is still an issue. Yet, even with such unthinkable loss, the victims are equally saddened by the loss of sentimental items held so dear.

People sometimes facetiously consider what they would grab if there were a fire or an immediate need to leave their home. Yet, in a true emergency, when these questions are no longer hypothetical, an emotional paralysis ensues. Your child has 50 “special” stuffed animals. You have 30 “special” sweaters, and no idea where your important papers are stored, or, even what would be considered important. Your home is overflowing with so many “special” items that, in the end, nothing is special.

In general, having so many special possessions is exhausting. In order to pare down what you currently own, ask yourself these questions:

  • Has it been used in the last year?
  • Will it ever be used again?
  • Is it being kept out of guilt?
  • Is it replaceable?

And, once you’ve purged and eliminated what was unnecessary in your home, here are some tips that can help you prepare for the unexpected:

  1. Store important papers in a plastic watertight container. This includes the deed to your house, proof of health and home insurance, wills and trusts, medical records, appraisals, stock certificates, and a list of personal contacts.
  2. Create a digital file of important documents. In addition to paper copies, scan copies of the items listed above and file them digitally. Also include your driver’s license, passport, and social security cards.
  3. Revisit what you’ve saved for your children. You can purge all of the math and spelling homework, even if it merited a big smiley face from the teacher. Ditto for the finger paint creations, sticker “art,” and certificates of completion (swim class, kindergarten, summer camp). Focus instead on creative writing, a copy of each year’s family holiday card, an actual lock of hair, and cards where the sender actually wrote something.
  4. Scan old family photos from the pre-digital days. While your photos might be safe in the Cloud, those that exist from past generations should be protected. There are also services that can do this for you such as Legacy Republic.
Written by Barbara Reich · · Purging · , , ,
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