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  • Writer's pictureRachel Kodanaz

You are home, take advantage of it!

The 24-hour news cycle is urging individuals to stay home: pro-sport games will be played without fans present to cheer them on, students will be taught virtually without physical interaction, companies (those that are fortunate enough to offer work remotely) are forcing people to work from home and as fast as I can type this blog your favorite source of news information is sharing the increased number of virus cases nationwide, community state of emergencies, deployment of national guard to support challenged communities and the abundance of public programming cancellations. Similar to the unknown of how computer systems would react to the shifting of the centuries, known as the Y2K phenomenon, the coronavirus is treading on unfamiliar territory as well. Whether you agree or disagree with the public and private sectors approach to handling the world-wide pandemic, individually we truly do not have a choice. Events are being cancelled and travel has been placed on hold, resulting in many of us spending more time at home. Now what?

You’re home, so take advantage of it. You are saving time on your daily commute to work, you have additional time to work out, and you are readily available to help your children with their homework. While not everyone has the luxury of being paid during these trying times or may feel isolated, all we can do is make the best of the situation since we clearly can’t change it (at least for now). For those of you who are “trapped” at home, I have an idea for you. Rather than streaming endless content on Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV or Amazon Prime, why not use the time in a productive manner by getting your affairs in order, or should I say your house in order.

In October, I released my latest book Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time: What to do with your and a loved one’s possessions. While on a national tour promoting the book to a variety of audiences, I was privileged and honored to hear so many stories of how people are sorting through personal belongings following the death of a loved one, trying to decide what to keep while downsizing their living arrangements or on a quest to tidy up. The audiences left feeling empowered and energized to start the process of organizing their or a loved one’s personal possessions.

Fast forward to this week as I read my correspondence – each day one of my spring programs or conferences has been postponed to later date in the year. While I am disappointed, the postponement is understandable. Therefore, I decided to write a blog to my readers and conference attendees rather than standing at a podium. While an in-person presentation is a more desired approach, why not reach out virtually? My ultimate goal is to encourage those who are “trapped at home” to take the time to sort through a closet, drawer, garage, basement, pile of paper or simply a toy box with the idea of donating or sharing what is no longer of use.

While a live presentation provides interaction and story-telling, here are a few virtual, encouraging tidbits to start the project:

  • Start in a low-traffic area of the house allowing you to start and stop the project without disrupting the flow of the daily household routine. There is no reason to start in a kitchen cabinet cluttering the counter while you are trying to cook dinner.

  • Turn the process into a game: imagine you are looking for treasures. Amazing what you may find – maybe a few dollars, love letter from the past or even the mate to an earring you lost years ago.

  • Think of the process as “thinning” as opposed to cleaning. As I like to share with my audiences, you don’t need 100 t-shirts collected from family vacations. 25 is plenty; besides, the remaining 75 are over-worn, have stains, are too small or you never really liked them.

  • While sorting through belongings, consider sharing the item with a family member or friend. The cliché, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” is so poignant because it is true. I get great joy seeing my sisters wear my once favorite scarf or treasured necklace.

  • Donate. Donate. Donate. If you are not using something, share the item with someone else, especially shoes, coats and clothing. Very little should be thrown in the trash as someone will have use for almost everything you are ready to discard.

  • Share the process with others. Include your family members as you sort through a closet. This can be accomplished in person or virtually using ZOOM, Skype or FaceTime with others as you embark on your journey. Be sure to tell the story of each item, an amazing way to share your memories.

These are just a few ideas. Always look for the connection to others and keep the items that tell your life story. Please reach out to me if you want encouragement to start the sorting and thinning of personal items or if you are in need of ideas of what to do with your belongings. I have an abundance of resources and creative ideas to help donate items, determine what to do with collections, how to avoid conflict with family members and most importantly, stay connected with your loved ones through possessions.

In my book, Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time, I outlined The Ten-Essentials of how to start the process and maintain a cadence by creating a timeline, building a team and following “The Magic of Six Piles” approach. After all it’s March, the start of Spring. So why not embrace Spring Cleaning which clearly will take on a new meaning this year. And be sure to wash your hands and stay healthy.

Rachel Kodanaz is a heart-minded professional helping her audiences to Embrace Life’s Challenges. Rachel has been speaking passionately to national audiences of all sizes for over 20 years, addressing all aspects of change, growth, and acceptance that comes with life’s transitions. Her style inspires, informs and persuades audiences to be self-aware, take action, and continue to thrive.

Rachel has published numerous articles and has appeared on Good Morning America.  Her published books Finding Peace, One Piece at a Time, best-selling Living with Loss One Day at a Time, and Grief in the Workplace have received international acclaim. Learn more at

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