Keepers and Throwers Unite!

“…‘throwers’ relish clearing out and will empty a house quickly and efficiently; ‘keepers’ want to preserve special things as well as memories, and will linger over the process…” from Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home

Can these two temperamentally opposite kinds of people ever see eye-to-eye?

Is there a way for them to work together peacefully, harmoniously, with mutual respect for each other’s ways, when trying to get rid of stuff?

We think so. Which is not to say that finding that common ground might not be challenging from time to time.

What’s really needed is for these two opposite types to “cross the aisle” as it were. Try to see things from the other person’s point of view; recognize that their feelings about things (or about freedom from things, or freedom from clutter) have value and legitimacy; and practice the all-important art of compromise.

Keepers need to realize that you really can’t keep everything, that that way lies madness. They need to find ways to get rid of things, while honoring and keeping important memories.

Throwers need to recognize the value of sentimental items, and most especially their importance to keepers. They need to understand that keepers need to have sufficient time to go through a process of letting go of special items as they find ways to hold onto the memories attached to them.

In turn, keepers need to realize that “sufficient time” doesn’t mean forever. In fact in some cases it may mean by next Tuesday.

And so on…

In most families, and in many couples, there are both keepers and throwers, and there can be a fair amount of tension around this issue when it comes to figuring out what to do with “all that stuff.”

But it is possible to find common ground, and to work together both productively and peacefully. We’ll talk about some of the ways the process can be made sweeter, more harmonious, and more efficient in coming posts. It could even provide moments of laughter and fun. Believe it or not!

We’d love to hear stories about how you found ways to work with the “keepers” or the “throwers” in your lives too. Please consider sharing them with us.

Janet Hulstrand is a writer/editor,  writing coachtravel blogger, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home.

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