A life skill for many people over 50 is being able, both physically and emotionally, to contain their ‘stuff’. Wartime austerity nurtured a caution against parting with anything ‘just in case’ which then extended into and beyond the ‘throwaway’ society of the 60s and 70s. Is there anyone over 70 who doesn’t have at least two kitchen drawers – normally in pride of place – reserved exclusively for the storage of disposable plastic bags?!

Those willing to take a few steps back see the futility of this hoarding. With age comes an inevitable downsize as we move out of the family home to something smaller and then a retirement home or a bed in a nursing home before that final move into a ‘box’.

Once you accept this inevitability you realise it is not about what happens to your stuff in the end (it is no longer ‘yours’) it is about how you manage the process. In 1880 William Morris declared to his Birmingham audience “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” He was so right – surround yourself only with things you need and those that bring you joy. Develop a strategy for everything else to go. This could include:
• Passing it on in the family
• Giving it away to friends
• Selling it at auction or via a website
• Donating it to charity
• Recycling it
• If all else fails send it to landfill – it has to go!

It is far better that you take ownership and manage what happens to your stuff – rather than leaving it to others who are likely to me far more cavalier!

Why bother? You create space to enjoy what you believe to be beautiful!