Clutter clearing in the autumn of one’s life

Hardly a week goes by without me receiving an email from someone who has had to wade through mountains of clutter left by a parent or relative who has died.

Autumn leaves

Sorting though the clutter of someone who has died can be time-consuming, laborious and often quite emotionally challenging too, so it’s very refreshing to receive an email from someone who has been through the process herself and taken her own affairs in hand.

Here’s the inspiring letter she sent me, which she has given me permission to share with the world:

It all started years ago when my mother died and my sister and I had to get her (very small) house ready for sale.  I was totally amazed how much stuff she had hidden away in closets and drawers. Turned out it was a good thing for me. She had kept everything (even my grades from grade school!!!), so I did take that little suitcase and was able to make up a wonderful photo album going way back in my life, which my grandchildren now enjoy looking at! But all that aside, I promised myself that I would not impose this chore to my children when I die.

So, once a year since that time, I have gone through my two-storey house plus basement, and gotten rid of things I no longer used and needed.  And so I blissfully thought that I was junk-free. Then I read your book. What an eye-opener. Those things that held any kind of emotional memories, those things that I might use one day, those things that came to me from others, those things that were just too good to throw out, were still holding my energy hostage – and I never realized that. So, thank you, thank you for Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. I feel liberated, energized, and as if someone gave me a new road map.

You’d think that at 85 years I would be happy to settle into a quiet existence. But instead I am excited. One thing has already happened – when I let go of old things, the universe is read to open new horizons.  All I can think of is the glory of the leaves turning into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors just before they are ready to fall to the ground and nourish the earth. This is my autumn.

From a de-cluttered Eva, USA


Copyright © Clear Space Living Ltd 2012, updated 2022

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About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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2 Responses to Clutter clearing in the autumn of one’s life

  1. My parents, in their mid-80s, have recently done the same thing. They did it to save us children the burden of clearing it all when they pass over. However, what’s fascinating to me is that, since they did, they seem to have developed so many new interests, from socialising on Facebook and Twitter, learning to download music to MP3, practising t’ai chi, studying family history and astronomy. They are always bubbling with some new thing when I visit. It can’t be a coincidence, can it?

    Regards to all at this special season,

  2. Lovely to read. I am considerably younger but no longer officially “young ” 🙂 and still have much to go through but fascinating to read today after an experience I had yesterday. I was going to work having been home for several days with a nasty stomach bug and as I entered the building I was struck with the gorgeous golden flames of the Gingko trees lining the street. Tall proud trees all lit up with their yellow leaves and about half the leaves were starting to flutter to the ground in the light wind. And it just hit me deep in my gut. Spring with new growth, summer with the leaves in full production creating oxygen for us and food for themselves, then the glory of autumn and then they’re DONE!

    All possible good has been taken from the leaves for the trees and the world – so they are let go – passed on to “others” where obviously in the past they decayed and created better soil etc but now are swept up off the asphalt here in the big city.

    And I thought – so with all of my old things from former parts of my life, unnaturally tucked in nooks and crannies and never let go despite having definitely reached the end of their life cycle!

    So, Eva, many thanks for your inspirational letter!

    (I actually have an 86 year old aunt who has done the same thing- cleaned out THREE packed houses of deceased relatives in her life- and has totally pared down her life so that her sons don’t have to go through the same.)

    Cheers to all in this Holiday Season!

    D. Ikeda in Tokyo

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