STYLE Savvy: Some Seasons of Life are Just That Way


My house is a mess.

That’s probably not the sentence I should lead off with in a blog post about organizing, but there you have it. At the end of last month, the movers brought my dad’s furniture to his apartment about three miles from our house. The following weekend, my husband, my dad and I sorted through the rest of the stuff at his condo in New Jersey. Some of the things got tossed, many got donated and/or left behind and way too much made the trip back to Pennsylvania with us. Now, in addition to the regular day-to-day clutter in our mostly empty nest, we have boxes and piles of things to deal with — things that were not trash and almost treasure. Some will be donated, some we will keep. All need to be sorted and everything needs a home besides the place where it is currently taking up space.

It’s a process, right?

I’m not sorry we erred on the side of caution in bringing things here; I’d rather sort more slowly and carefully to make sure nothing we valued for physical or emotional reasons gets tossed. I am, however, a little overwhelmed by all that has to be done on top of the regular stuff that has to be done.

Some seasons of life are like that. When my husband and I moved into our first apartment, there were about five boxes that took me forever to unpack (much to his dismay). When we got ready to send my daughter off to college, our house looked like a storage facility for much of August. Some seasons of life, by their very nature, seem to attract “stuff” that isn’t dealt with in a simple fashion. Maybe it’s there only temporarily, like my daughter’s dorm supplies. Maybe it needs a home. Maybe we need time to adjust to getting rid of it. Whatever the reason, it rents space in our homes and our heads until we deal with it.

I’m trying to remind myself that if I do this right, I’ll actually have an opportunity to divest myself of a few things here that need new homes. I’ve already gotten rid of one piece of furniture that I haven’t liked for a long time, replacing it with a smaller piece that was at my parents’ house. In the process, the contents of the discarded piece found new homes, were tossed out, or were stuck in a box for me to sort through as time permits. That last strategy was less than ideal, but was the consequence of removing the old piece from the house as soon as possible.

I’m trying to come at this a little at a time, and though my head and heart know that’s the best strategy, my toes are tired of running into boxes.

Tune in next week for some ideas I’m using to stay sane as I work through this temporary state of affairs.

Copyright 2018 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.


  1. I loved this article! It is real and it brings freedom! I thought to myself I have to meet this gal.
    I am a women who has moved through all seasons of life. I went from being, “ free as a bird” as a stewardess when single, to marriage to being the mom of eight than grandparent to 12. I have enjoyed every season of life! I have moved with my husband more times than I want to mention. So I appreciate your wisdom temporary clutter to long term benefits. I was just wondering how an OCD personality can do that, seriously the freedom appeals to me, I am ready to make the quantum leap. I will stay tune for more wisdom and wit!

  2. Ellen, thank you for your kind comment! We are so hard on ourselves sometimes — I don’t know about you, but I sometimes forget I don’t have to do it all at once! Shortly after I wrote this post, we got rid of the boxes, but more await as my dad continues his unpacking.

    I’m not sure how to advise regarding the OCD except to tell you to trust your limits. Do what you can, as you can and delegate or delay what you can’t. Sometimes small steps empower us to take bigger ones, and sometimes small steps are all we can manage. Over time, I’ve learned that every small step is a good one.

    Good luck! And I hope to hear from you again as you make progress!

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