What’s in Your Rear-view Mirror?

March 20th, 2018

Yesterday I read a Facebook post on my friend Jan’s page. It was commenting on the size of a car’s rear-view mirror relative to the windshield.

Struck by this, I did a quick Google search and discovered this post is based on a quote by Joel Osteen:

 “The reason the windshield is so large, and the rear-view mirror is so small is because what’s happened in your past is not near as important as what’s in your future.”

This quote is amazing in how it perfectly describes our work as move managers when we assist our clients with downsizing.

It’s surprising how that small rear-view mirror, representing our past, can hold so much power when it comes to making decisions about our cherished possessions. The past can be so powerful; it can stop people from moving forward to a place they really want to go.

Here are four ways to approach your treasured possessions in order to put the rear-view mirror in perspective:

    1.  Take Pictures. Taking pictures of an item is a terrific way of preserving memories. Having a picture will capture the memory forever.

      Honor your favorite photos with a frame, make a shadow box, or have a move manager organize your photos in an album. Use your creativity.

      Last week at a presentation, a woman in the audience told a story about a chair she cherished, but needed to get rid of. It had been in her home since her children were little. So last Thanksgiving when they were home, she took a photo of each of her children sitting in the special chair. The photos were framed and the memory is preserved.

    2. Tell the Story. When you love and cherish an item, it likely has a story. Who gave it to you? Where were you when you bought it? How long have you had it and how have you used it? Why does it make you happy?

      Storytelling is a big part of the downsizing process, sometimes literally.While helping a retired school teacher downsize, we saw her difficulty parting with one of the books she enjoyed reading to her young students without reading it “one more time.”

      Happy to help, my colleague and I sat down on the floor and looked up at her while she read it one more time. Once done, she was able to say goodbye and pass it forward. Having someone else understand its importance by telling its story makes letting go easier.

    3. Research Beneficiaries. Feeling good about the next recipient of your items is another way to help with the process of letting go. The more time you have for this research, the better you will feel.

      If you have old yearbooks, see if your college or high school would like them. If you have sheet music, research who might really appreciate it, and get it to them. Old medical equipment could be donated to one of the teaching hospitals. Old gowns could be welcomed by a local drama club. Fur coats can be given to a pet shelter. The possibilities are endless if you give yourself time to research. The benefits are priceless, allowing you to move forward with a feeling of pride and gratitude.

    4. Gift It To Family. Passing things forward to family members can be meaningful both for you and the recipient. My father had a great time gifting his books. One Christmas my son received a book from my father with a very meaningful inscription. It is now one of his most cherished possessions. Get creative and keep things in the family, if this is best for you. Most importantly, pass it forward and move forward.

Taking care of emotions about your possessions can make downsizing an enjoyable and meaningful experience. It will remind you, when the decision-making gets tough, that you are doing this for a reason. Your future is big and bright; downsizing is a good way to put the past into your “small” rear-view mirror.

Filed Under: Downsizing
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