Anney’s Closet is a project that improves the lives of girls and women in Victoria by connecting people who have too much with people who have too little.
Using household items donated by downsizing seniors, friends of Soroptimists, and other donors, we’ve created a “free store” in a storage locker kindly donated by West Shore U-Lock.
Girls and women who are referred to us from advocates at our partner social service agencies have the opportunity to select items from Anney’s Closet that will transform their new apartments into functional and comfortable homes.
Volunteers work to sort and arrange donated items in the Closet, build relationships with social agencies and the community, and help the visitors pick out items for their new home.
I was interviewed this week by Jo-Ann Roberts on her show All Points West on CBC. It was a great chance to spread the word about this amazing project. Click here to listen to the interview.
We are constantly inspired by our clients.
They have lived through wars, depressions, revolutions and personal loss. When I say downsizing isn’t for wimps, I’m talking about this tough generation.
But when faced with having to give up personal treasures, collections and mementos from the past, even the toughest person can break down. Not only the sheer volume of stuff that needs to be dealt with can be terrifying, but the physical task of sorting, boxing things up and hauling them away is impossible to fathom.
Then add in the emotional drain of losing everything they hold dear, piece by piece. Each personal item might hold heavy meaning that hasn’t been fully processed, or reinforce a past loss, or remind them of their failing health.
It’s common for us to see adult children get frustrated by their parent’s behavior during the downsizing process. It is often a struggle for family members to remain patient during this process and emotions can run high.
This Might Help
If you are helping someone to downsize, here are some ideas that might help when your frustration starts to bubble over.
- Reflect on how this process is impacting your own sense of loss and identity, so that you can stay aware of your reactions. This might help you to remain calm and supportive rather than adding to the emotional turmoil in the house.
- Keep visits positive and upbeat, and remind your parents that you are on their team and that you want the best for them.
- if you feel yourself getting to the boiling point, change the channel. Pop out to your car to “grab something” and make a quick phone call to a supportive friend. Declare break time and make a cup of tea. Do something to lift your own mood.
- Keep “sorting sessions” to under two hours. Emotional fatigue that stems from too much decision-making can lead to someone saying something they might regret.
If all else fails, call in objective downsizing professionals like Act Together Moving Services
to consult. We’re trained to make this process go smoothly, and almost everyone behaves better when there is a guest in the house!