Who amongst us wouldn’t like to feel lighter, freer, less encumbered? I would!

Maybe due to my time dealing with death as a healthcare professional, being an older U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, or because of the “gypsy year” I’m in right now, I am convinced we don’t need most of what we think we do.

How many of us default to storage units when our home becomes too crowded? How old are the condiments we’re not using in our refrigerator? What’s the inside of our car look like?

When will we rid ourselves of all this extra? Or will we? Dump your stuff now, before you die.

So many folks don’t and then it’s their survivors who are stuck dealing with it. Think about it (and, this is usually the toughest part, thinking about it); for many of us, it’s hard enough initially to simply exist after a loved one’s death.

Even when people die well, there’s a lot to do — in addition to grappling with the grief and loss.

I am not necessarily saying you need to sign up with Marie Kondo, join The Minimalists or have your home feng shui’d. All these, though, are great strategies.

Marie Kondo touts there is merit in only keeping what brings us joy. “Living meaningful lives with less” as The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, purport is right on. And, feng shui, with its harmonizing principles of energy and flow, really does change an environment; thereby, its dwellers, too.

However, I do encourage you to consider the following:

Talk to your loved ones about what’s important to you and why you want to leave particular items to them. This might open a wider conversation about what’s of value to them also.

As much as you would like someone to have something, that person may not want it. Remember the adage, “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash?” Once known, you may feel freer to let things go. Take photos, if you must, before releasing. Be sure to document the details regarding what’s left.

Come up with a “clear the clutter” plan of action. If you have storage units, get some help and schedule a blitz. I had one client with five, large, non-climate-controlled units bursting at the brim with expensive antiques rotting away in the Texas heat. We did manage to get the antiques moved and reduce the units by half before her sudden, untimely death.

Maybe start smaller to get the momentum going. Clear out your pantry, your junk drawer or the trunk of your car. Take the drill off the top of the refrigerator and put it back in the garage (true story!).

Then, keep at it. Like the 1906 Story of the Engine That Thought It Could by Charles S. Wing, repeat to yourself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”

Envision the endgame and what it will be like when you’ve accomplished this endeavor. Tap into it with all your senses: see it, feel it, hear it, smell it, taste it.

Imagine living your life unburdened, traveling so much lighter. For me, it’s to only have what’s exquisite and essential around me. I’m keeping this image front and center as I sort through paper piles and discard old baggies.

Don’t wait any longer to reduce your footprint. Relieve your survivors before you can’t. I repeat, “Dump your stuff now, before you die.” Everybody benefits.