Through our lives, we collect things we like. Some of us get tired of cleaning it or moving it and get rid of it along the way. Some people don’t move much and don’t feel the need to help their possessions move along during their lives. And they keep them, and keep keeping them. So these items become valuable to us and we think about passing them down to our children or grandchildren, but what do the younger generations think about these possessions? They don’t really care much about them at all… Oftentimes, we collect things thinking that they may be valuable items that we can pass on to our children or our grandchildren. Nowadays, it’s very rare to find younger people who have their eyes set on a “valuable” doll, coin, or china collection. Not to mention finding those rare young adults who may have their heart set on an ornate piece of antique furniture.
So unless you can and are willing to look at the possibility of renting a storage space to keep all of the things that your kids will not want to be passed on to them, you might want to consider purging them from your home.
I have yet to find that rare kid nowadays who is with Victorian or porcelain dolls. In this world now filled with Lalaloopsies, My Little Ponies, and Barbies with all the bells and whistles, it’s a gamble to keep on storing your doll collection, hoping that it might someday become an important collection to someone else. And if you sell it, there are still people out there who will buy them. Hurry, while they are still out there… I was at an estate sale with a hundred or more dolls there, and I commented that it looked like the dolls were not moving. The person holding the sale told me that they had been moving like crazy. There had been 3 to 4 times that many dolls at the start of the day. Sell them while you still can.
Silverware and China
Silver, for one, doesn’t really sell for that much anymore. So unless it’s just really one set of silverware and it’s really something that’s been passed on from generation to generation, it would be best to get rid of them. Perhaps keep your favorite set. I mean, it only takes up little room, right? I am keeping one set that nearly matches my regular set. I really don’t know when I will use it though.
I guess it goes the same for your china collection. You can probably keep a favorite set, or something that has some sort of sentimental value. But in this fast paced times that we’re living in, where fancy entertainment is almost rare, passing on your china collection may just serve as extra stuff stored away collecting dust. Nowadays, people are more fond of using disposable plates, arranging for a catering service, dining out, or basically anything that will get them out of slaving over a hot stove and doing the dishes after a few glasses of Merlot. I’ve got china I really liked for my wedding and used it some early on, then I had no place to store it. I eventually gave it away to a young couple who I thought would like it and they seemed thrilled to have it. I found one of the few who do like those beautiful things.
This has the same theme: What do people want nowadays? Following the trend of minimalist homes, more and more people want furniture that not only take up little room, but more importantly, provide storage and/or function. While antique furniture still sells to some extent, especially the unusual pieces, it doesn’t sell as much as it did before. They are also mostly sought after to be re-purposed into something crafty and shabby chic.
Now how do you go about reducing your clutter and parting with these things? First, you need to know if you have any use at all for the item. If it’s just stored away and has been for 10 years, or if you are paying to store it long term, it’s time to get rid of it. Second, and this was a huge a-ha for me, is to make wiser purchases and fewer of them. You could go into a periodic “no buying” season. Finally, make de-cluttering part of your general cleaning schedule. It doesn’t have to be just the big things, de-cluttering small items help a lot too.
My daughter is one of those folks who likes pretty and old things. My journey through my stuff is over for now and I am pleased with the reduced results. But they may yet revisit me on the way to my daughter’s permanent home – which is a ways off in the future. Enjoy your things while you can. And move them onto a better home when you are done. Wherever that home may be – with family or a neighbor who thinks it is cool.
Are there any people aging in your family? Are you aging? Okay! We are all aging. If we are honest with ourselves. I have seen some pretty good cases of denial in my classes. I get it. Well, whether honest or in denial about ourselves, we all know our parents are aging.
One of my favorite classes I teach is the Senior Real Estate Specialist Designation course for the National Association of Realtors. This class helps agents prepare for the situations that come up uniquely with our elder clients. Surprisingly there are many – situations with stuff management, legal concerns, health issues that affect housing, and financial needs. Many of these require other professionals to help them, but Realtors are often the first point of contact for the client and it is hugely helpful when the Realtors have contacts to help their client.
The Boomers are changing the face of retirement and aging – not a surprise. There are new options, challenges, and opportunities for agents working with Boomers and their Elders. I am attaching a link to a webinar interview I did with Barbara Drum, a resident and Marketing Manager for The Village of Wildflowers near Asheville, NC.
Barbara lived out many of the things we discuss in our SRES classes. We had a great interview about her life, which includes working in a Memory Care facility for patients with Dementia and Alzheimers, caring for parents with Dementia, and moving to a Tiny House community as an effective financial decision for a place to live in semi-retirement.
Enjoy this hour-long interview from a woman who has been on these journeys and shares them with great perspective, interest and laughter.
You can see the Tiny House Community she lives in at http://thevillageofwildflowers.com.
Here is the link for the webinar if you are interested. I hope you enjoy it and learn some great things.
I am teaching a class today about useful Apps for Real Estate Agents. There are a lot of them. And we like shiny new things, so we add those apps to our nearly full phones because we just know we will use them. Do you ever go back and remove the stuff from your life that you added just to test it out? There are many things we add because we think it is good. And it probably is or would be good if we didn’t already have lots of “good” things in our lives. We need the few “best” that we will actually use and that will benefit us.
Let’s look at a few areas of our lives that we easily clutter up that steal time, energy, focus or money from us.
- Too many apps on your phone or too much unnecessary software on your computer. These slow down your machines and take your concentration when you have to wade through them to find the ones you really use. Delete the ones you don’t use. You can always add them back if you need them again.
- You sign up for that great new software at $25 a month and then you never use it. Get that out of your checking account. It is taking $300 a year. I am sure you can find a better use for $300 a year than software you don’t use.
- Committee or time commitments for organizations you really aren’t that committed to. Or maybe you volunteered for a position you just aren’t good at. I have learned to stop volunteering for organizations or tasks that don’t fall into a short list of places or groups I am committed to already. When I have too many feelers out in too many places, my concentration suffers and therefore so does the organization I committed to help.
- # 3 principles relate to people asking for your money. You need to have filters that tell you what you should and should not be giving to. If not, you just feel overwhelmed with the number of requests. With GoFundMe and Kickstarter making it simple to ask everyone for money, you have even more opportunities to feel guilty for not giving. You need filters that define the organizations or types of organizations and people you are going to give money too. Personally, I give money to Human Trafficking Groups and child sponsorships in organizations where I know the staff. Those are easy and I can be generous there. I can throw the rest of the requests away. Most of them are doing excellent work, but it isn’t my job to fund them all. Of course I can act on impulse and help someone out, but filters help me make quick decisions about most things.
- This last one is tough and we can do a whole post on it. Relationships. There are some people that you need to spend more time with and some you need to spend less time with. You might need to move on from some relationships in order to make room for the new ones. Don’t let people who drain you control your life. Either spend less time with them or remove yourself from their lives altogether. Read the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud if you need more help with this.
Our lives in this age are very hectic. Don’t make it more hectic than it needs to be. Remove the clutter in your life and make room to laugh more. Laughter comes with freedom.
I am a huge fan of morning routines. Whether that is an hour of peaceful reading and journaling or the order of children and family getting ready for their day with meals and a bit of hectic activity. Personally, my morning routine, since my children are grown and I can do what I choose and not be driven by that need, has included journaling about things I am grateful for and what I am perceiving about life that week. And coffee, and a bit of exercise. It was enjoyable.
Then, for various reasons I will discuss at another time, we got a puppy. Who has had a puppy? Like small children, they are demanding and need watching, lest they chew up your shoes or other manageable objects. Even though my husband manages his schedule, he has become a delightful distraction. And my morning routine is out the window. I have to adapt.
They take a walk in the morning, for which I will join them when it is warmer, so I still have some actual quiet time. I need to use it well though, since it is only about 20 – 30 minutes. It has made me appreciate the quiet time I had come to take for granted. I have also found though, that I miss doing my gratefulness exercise. That must have a place in my morning. And exercising my body takes more of a commitment. And I had all that down and was so proud of myself.
This kind of change is happening to us all the time. Kids’ routines change, we add a pet, a parent or older child live with us for a season. Our lives are full of change. I generally like change a lot, but even I have my limits. Recognizing that change is around us and figuring out what the core parts of our routine are is crucial for keeping us sane and peaceful. My very long morning routine has turned into morning kisses and less time alone, but I wouldn’t trade it back for the other. The puppy is the right thing for this time. I am glad to be alert to the parts that I need to pick up. My gratefulness exercise and my body exercise. I will do my gratefulness exercise first thing at “the office” and my body – 2 nights a week to the gym. Put them in my schedule and just go. Spring is coming and I can walk the dog then. For now, it is tradeoffs. I am glad for the freedom to make the choices that require me to adjust.
What tradeoffs are you working with today?
Research shows that cultivating a positive, grateful attitude is huge for your mental and physical health.
Being grateful helps us see our lives – our family and friends, and our possessions in a way that cultivates enjoyment. If I am always grateful for the comfortable chairs in my home, this reduces longing for things I may not really want or need to spend money on. When I am grateful for aspects of my husband’s character and the ways he loves me, I treat him with kindness and affection. This is an upward spiral. When I am grateful for my children, I find ways to encourage them.
Do this everyday, in the morning or evening. Or during the day if you need help refocusing. Keep a journal where you can write five things that you are grateful for in the last 24 hours, or the upcoming 24 hours. Sometimes it may be more difficult to find things to be grateful for, but as you look, you will find them. Your home, the food in the fridge, a favorite pair of shoes, or a kind neighborhood. There is always someone or something to be grateful for. If you are grateful for a person. Tell them.
Feel free to write more than five, if you think of more. Cultivate joy and appreciation as you go through your day.
Enjoy forming this sweet new habit!
Are you living your Priorities?
If I ask you the question, “What are your priorities?”, you probably have a quick answer for me. Most of us will say family and kids, and hopefully this is true because I know from experience and observation that there is usually room for improvement here. If your family is your priority, then what should your life look like to correspond with that level of importance? What are your other priorities? Work, or faith or hobbies or exercise? Or even your house? Some of us spend a lot of time in our houses and I hope it is relaxing for you. If that is a priority for you, great! Own it. You get to choose!
Get your priorities straight!
What I want you to do is to define your priorities, make an honest assessment of what you think your priorities are and ask yourself if the time and attention you are giving to those things are in line with what you say your priorities are. If you say family is the most important thing, are you turning off your phone at 7 or 8 and hanging out with your kids and spouse, or are your evenings still full of work? If building your business is a priority, are you taking classes to learn how to do that better or just waiting for something to happen? If you want to get out of debt, do you have a plan that you are working on with diligence?
If it is important to us, we need to own the fact that we want to make progress in that area and make a plan to spend time and attention on it.
This is about taking an honest look at where we spend our time, attention and money. Then, asking ourselves if we are spending enough of these on our defined priorities. Or honestly recognizing that we might be spending time, attention and money on things that really aren’t that important to us and deciding that it is time to make a change.
Live your best life now
And this change is yours to make. Sure, it requires motivation and accountability to achieve, but almost everything we decide to do requires this. You only have to focus on what is important and I promise you that the beautiful results are worth it.
Real Estate agents have to do many things that require a varied skill set. And some of the things we need to do are not difficult to do, but require time. When we are busy, what are some of the easiest things to turn into a system where we can get some help?
- Use autoresponders on your email when you know you will be unable to respond in a timely manner. And leave a specific daily voicemail message if you know you will not be able to return calls during the day. Manage expectations of those trying to contact you.
- Hire a service you can use when you need them. Look for someone in your area who can install signs, make keys, deliver flyers and let in vendors. If there is no one who can do that, maybe that is a business idea for someone in your office. Do you have a teenager who needs money or needs to fundraise for a trip or sport? Make sure they are reliable.
- Work with the same title company as much as possible. When you only have to call one place to check up on all your closings, that saves time. Also, make sure this company is large enough to be efficient when you or your main processor is out of town. Do they have backup help to make sure your clients get great service? Are they a reliable part of your successful team?
- Set up an email system to send out to your clients – one for buyers and one for sellers – during the contract to close period. Send them a general email with what to expect that week for the transaction. Make sure the time frames are clearly described in it. Start with a template and modify it as necessary.
- Set clear working hours and only violate that boundary for specific reasons – like contract negotiations. Keep your non-work hours for other things. And if you don’t have enough time to do it all, we need to discuss moving into another layer of systems.
Start with those that are easy, simple and free or nearly so. Once you have improved some systems, the next level of systems changes will come easier. And when you need an assistant, the systems for them to use will be in place already. Keep improving your business for your life.