How do we get rid of our clutter and retake control of our lives?

Your documents: What to save? How long do you save it? What do you toss?

Those questions were explored in Part 1 of “The Organizing Extravaganza”, a two-part event that engages community members in decluttering and downsizing all the stuff in their lives. The Orange County Department of Aging hosted Part 1 on October 9, and featured Keynote speaker Jane Armstrong, MSW along with panel speakers Colin Austin, estate planning attorney, Leland Little, President and Principal Auctioneer of Leland Little Auctions, and Tracy Lynn, senior move associate with Professional Relocation Options.

“This [event] is brilliant! This is the exact conversation we should be having,” says Keri Boyette, a community member in the audience. As a realtor and owner of Prep to Sell—a home staging company—Ms. Boyette intimately knows the importance of decluttering:

“This is a message for all of us. For many who have jobs and kids, decluttering is an afterthought. But when you are a senior adult and health becomes an issue, and you have the time to address it, you are opening Pandora’s box. I was sitting [at the event] thinking so many people in the room may not have thought about this. These are people who had parents who came from the great depression. They learned not to throw things away. It’s not only overwhelming [to downsize], but there’s also a fear that they are going to give something away that’s important.”

Ms. Boyette goes on to explain that Jane Armstrong’s—and the rest of the panel’s—message was that decluttering gives you freedom to do the things you’ve wanted to do all along. Many of the items you have you might not actually need, or have very little to no value. Figuring out what you truly need is what will give you that freedom to downsize.

Part 2 will occur on November 18 at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill. We’ll have shredder trucks, a food truck, appraisers, professional organizers and movers, plus real estate agents specializing in senior housing all ready to help you accomplish your future life goals.

Audience members at Part 1 of “The Organizing Extravaganza.” Photo: Cherie Rosemond.