Monday, December 28, 2015

One! 1 tip for moving into a new situation or temporary home.

That’s right. Just one.  Because you know the rest.  Take what you’ll need for everyday life – the coffee pot, the microwave, your clothes and toiletries.  Take whatever personal items give you comfort – your books, your CD’s. And take what makes you feel good - your jewelry, your perfumes.
THAT you can figure out.
I recently moved into a temporary living situation.  It wasn’t my first choice. My life was suddenly changed and I needed to make quick decisions.  I found a nice townhouse with private room and bath.
But leaving the home I’d lived in and loved for 16 years was difficult, no matter what the circumstance.
Most of my stuff went into storage. That is, what was left after 2 estate sales, 2 special pickups and 4 piles of donations that filled my entire porch.
I was anxious about living on my own, being by myself after being a wife, mother and daughter, taking care of my mom.  I was worried I would feel disoriented. I was scared. I was afraid I’d fall apart.

So what could I do to take care of myself? How could I minimize the anxiety of waking up in a new room? What could I do to help me feel comfortable in my new surroundings? A little less like EVERYTHING had changed. A little stability in my ever-changing situation.

This is what I did – my ONE tip for moving into a strange home or room.

I decided what would fit into my new room-  my bed, my dresser, my chair, my mirror, my TV and my jewelry armoire –the same items that were in my master bedroom.

And I ORIENTED the items in my room in the EXACT same way they were in my home.  EXACTLY. So that when I woke up in the morning, I saw my bureau. When I went to bed at night, I could watch TV from my bed, the same as I always had.

I didn’t wake up feeling, “Where am I?” with strange items surrounding me or everything placed in a new way. I woke up and felt comforted that I was surrounded by my things. When I opened my eyes, I saw the mirror resting on top of the bureau, where my perfume bottles and lotions sat. There was my chair at the end of my bed. My robes hung over my door as they always had.

Confortable, familiar. It gave me a sense that everything was going to be OK. That everything WAS OK. That I was OK.

Angela DiCicco

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

12 Tips for MOVING or Downsizing Quickly

I recently found myself in a situation where I had to quickly and without much warning pack up a home I had lived in and loved for 16 years.

I finished raising my family there, I divorced and remarried. My children left and came back; my mother moved in; renters moved in and out. We celebrated my 50th birthday there, had 2 wedding receptions, graduation parties, New Year’s eve parties and many, many holidays with friends and family.

 My challenge was to empty a 5 level, 5 bedroom house with every room completely furnished and the ghosts of many memories dancing around. Where do I begin? I had about a month to ready the house to put on the market and 6 weeks after it sold to clear it out. This is how I did it:

 1. Start with the easiest place for you to go through. Linen closet? Books? Start small, start specific, but START.

 2. Get in the zone. Remove emotions. This is not the time to get sentimental, going through children’s artwork or old photographs. You’re on a time-crunch. Believe it or not, this helps.

 3. Work quickly. Fast decisions. Keep, give, toss, keep, give, toss. Just keep going. Keep lots of trash bags and boxes handy.

 4. Think of everything you think you want to keep as real estate. How much will it cost to store it? How much will it cost to hire someone to move it from one place to the next? I downsized from a 2200 square foot house to a 10x15 storage unit (150 sq. ft!) I refused to store and pay for things I “may” need somewhere down the road.

 5. If you’re moving to a temporary situation, which I was, ask yourself, “Will I need/use this in the next 6 mos?” If not, can it be easily replaced? My daughter asked me this question about muffin tins. No, I did not plan on making muffins in the next 6 mos and yes, they are easily replaced.

 6. IS it easily replaced? If so, don’t waste space, time or energy on it. You can buy it again. Most of my crafts fell into this category. As an artist, I had shelves of yarn, paint, buttons, lace, fabric, ribbon that I had to let go. I could replace it for the amount of money it would cost to store it. So most of it was donated.

 7. Do you LOVE it??? If not, give it away to someone who does. DONATE, DONATE, DONATE.

 8. Do you have multiples? How many lamps do you need? Sets of sheets? Towels? Live on what you need and let the rest go. You can always buy more when you are ready.

 9. Have a friend or relative come over and work through a room or a box with you. I reached a point where I no longer knew what was important and what wasn’t, what I needed and what I should let go of. A few friends and family members helped me when I reached this stage, asking questions (see #4 above) and helping me see more clearly. Even one hour of help can make a difference.

 10. When you do have people over to help you, let them do their job. If they are working independently, trust their decisions. If they know you at all, they will know what is important, what to bring to your attention and what to let go of.

 I found myself meddling occasionally, going through things in the “give away” or “trash” pile. Then realized I was too overwhelmed to care much. Let someone else make the decisions.

 11. Set aside time to do something else – clear your mind from making the myriad moving decisions. Come back later, slightly refreshed.

 12. ASK for HELP. Continue to reach out to whomever is available until the job is finished.

 This process was so exhausting and daunting. I experienced many moments when I couldn’t see how it would all get finished. I just kept slugging along, before work, after work. I made phone calls to friends and family. Even my renter helped!

 Even if you have the money to hire movers, you’d still have to go through everything unless you planned on keeping all of it.

 So one last suggestion: start NOW. No plans to move? No problem. Clear out a closet, a drawer. Go through your books, your papers. Don’t wait until you are in an emergency situation with your back against the wall. Start NOW to pare down.

 And DON’T wait for your kids to be left with all of it. They don’t want any of your stuff now, they’re not going to appreciate having to sort through it later. Trust me, they’ll throw most of it away!

Alternate suggestion: NEVER MOVE! Stay where you are until you expire. Then let your kids clean up the mess!

 Angela DiCicco 12/15/15

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Juicy" Gifts.... from the Universe

"Juicy gifts!" I love that! My friend recently wrote me, having a difficult time with some changes in her life. In describing them, she said that there is room for growth in the "juicy gifts."

Wow! That really spoke to me!

 Yes, juicy can be luscious and also messy! Think of an orange - slice it open and juice squishes out everywhere. Bite into it and it rolls down your chin. My personal messy favorites are hoagies from Philly and pizza from the Jersey shore. Both soooo messy, greasy, dripping down your arms. But many would agree, the absolute best taste!

Our greatest gifts are both - messy with hidden blessings. Like being a "celebrity" for example. Lots of $$$ if you're lucky, to purchase the finer things in life, but also lack of privacy.

 Life is messy! If we lived the gilded life all the time, we'd be bored, wouldn't we? If we didn't have bumps and rocky roads, we wouldn't fully appreciate the joys. It's like putting red next to green. They complement each other and draw out the most vibrant color of each.

 I'm happy to be living with my mom again, like I've returned to my childhood in some ways - both good and not so good. There are so many blessings, but also difficult times.

 I think that's where the real emotional maturity lies - in accepting both - the whole enchilada of life!

 The messy, rocky, ugly and the beautiful, wonderful, glossy! Really being present with both. Not running away and hiding, not pushing it deeper down and not trying to change anything.

Etsy mini

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