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« V-Day Organizing Giveaway | Noticing Change »
Tuesday
Feb072012

4 Tips for Navigating Change

@2012 Photo by Linda SamuelsHow do slippers relate to navigating change? Let me explain. I have various collections of things, including slippers. Like most collectors, I have my favorite among favorites. In this case, my purple velvet beaded slippers are the pair I use and enjoy most because they are cozy, sparkly, beautiful, and purple.

Most wearable objects don't last forever and my slippers are no exception. They have brought me simple comfort and delight on the coldest of nights. They are now worn to the point of no longer being comfortable because of the tattered interiors. The time had come to change my slippers.

As a professional organizer, one of the things I do is help people edit and let go of those “things” that have overstayed their welcome. What I found so interesting was how resistant I was to releasing and replacing this particular pair of slippers. Isn't that how it often is with change? When we have to let go of something we actually love be it a person, place, thing or concept, it becomes even more challenging.

I did a few things to prepare for the inevitable. Yes, I know we’re talking about slippers, but the concepts are applicable to use for more significant changes. Maybe one of these ideas will help you the next time you are struggling with change.

1. Indulge in Procrastinating- I allowed my resistant thoughts about not doing anything to be present for as long as I needed. Procrastination is often looked upon as something negative. But for me, it gave me the time to process that change was going to happen.

2. Research Possibilities- I hunted for slippers that might be even better than what I had. To my disappointment, they didn't exist. In the process of searching it allowed me to appreciate just how great these slippers had been, and also opened the door for something else. Just engaging in the research process, mentally prepared me and opened my mind to other possibilities.

3. Test Something Different- As I mentioned, I have a collection of slippers. I looked them over and picked out another pair to start wearing instead of the worn ones. Happily, I discovered that it actually wasn't so bad. In fact, they were much more comfortable with their smooth interiors. It reinforced the positive aspect that change brings with it some nice surprises and a dash of hope.

4. Use Photos or Words- It helped me to take photos and write about the slippers. Sometimes the memories of our lives can be captured as visuals or words to commemorate objects with meanings or special moments with loved ones. Having these other references allows us to process, honor, and then let go of the physical. This paves the path for embracing change.

So where am I now? My velvet slippers will be exiting shortly. I'm still indulging a bit in procrastination-land. I have, however, ordered two new pairs of slippers from Pearl River in turquoise and purple and am awaiting their arrival.

Is it time to change your slippers or something else? Join in the conversation about letting go, change, and the gifts to come.

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Reader Comments (10)

I completely agree. Generally I'm the one that finishes something well beforehand but as I'm getting older I'm starting to see myself holding off a bit more and sometimes things just fall into place more quickly if you just LET them fall into place rather than MAKING them do so.

My blog on my organizing website speaks to a lot of your topics too (www.LNMOrganizing.com), we're building up my content on the new site as we can. I'm bookmarking your site right now :) but I'm expecting it will be similar.

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie Meek

Linda - right on!!! I have a coat sweater that is going through the same process, but haven't found a replacement yet. Never thought of it, though, as what our clients go through all the time - thanks for a great article.

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Fulks

Karen- Your coat sweater and my slippers! Thank you for stopping by to share your insightful comment and for joining in the conversation. I love that you appreciated the connection made in this post to what our clients experience. Bringing empathy in our "tool kit" is great to have.

My new slippers just arrived. I've tried them on and am enjoying the purple satin with turquoise embroidered dragonflies. They will do. I've released the velvet ones.

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Laurie-
Always great to meet another organizer! Thank you for stopping by to share your thoughts. I relate to what you're saying about doing things ahead of time and how there's been a shift over time. An interesting observation.

I look forward to reading your posts. I write about a different theme each month. This month is about "Embracing Change." If you have any posts that relate, let me know and I'll be happy to share them on Twitter or Facebook.

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

So, did the new slippers come? Are we going to get a picture of them (with the author modeling them I hope?). I am on the extreme other side of organized. I do not even have slippers. That way I can't lose them...

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Weglein

Stacey- You are so funny. I love that you stopped by to share your wonderful humor with all of us. Thank you. Well as far as the new slippers go, I'm enjoying them. No photos yet, but you never know. Maybe there's a part 2 to this blog. It's true that the less you have, the easier it is to manage the stuff of life. So NOT having slippers is certainly a good solution to that. My feet just prefer a little coverage unless I'm walking along the beach....then love the feeling of the sand. But I'm digressing now. Thanks again for joining in the conversation. Come back again soon.

February 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

This post really resonated with me. In my case, it's an old comfy tattered and torn flannel shirt, but "oh so" mushy and cozy. I think it beats out any other like it. It is my authentic vintage...It has travelled with me throughout high school and has survived college, marriage, and children. I have cuddled on a couch with it, cooked and marinated holiday meals wearing it, cleaned out playrooms and closets, shoveled snow, drove car pools, and have run out for an emergencies countless times. Indeed, it has become my uniform and my family recognizes it as my "go to" shirt. I honestly will probably never retire it, until it shreds. I have purchased others, and tried to love them the same, but they always pale in comparison. Nothing seems to measure up to "old school" comfort. Although, I struggle with change, I am learning that sometimes it can be liberating. But in this regard...not just yet. I think this baby's taking the journey to the bitter end.

February 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

Nancy- This is a lovely reflection about change and those things we hold dear. Your special flannel shirt has given you comfort and support. That's great. It sounds like your shirt has a lot of life in it still and it's just not time for a change. This is another important part about change. We can't force things if we just aren't ready. We need to give ourselves and others the time they need to decide. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation.

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

What a lovely post on slippers! I detested slippers all my life until I moved up here to the Berkshires and i have a pair that is fast becoming tattered. Shoes represent walking into the future, and so important to make sure our shoes and slippers don't fall apart or need new soles, etc. You hit the spot on about embracing change, even for myself who helps clients change their homes, it is really sometimes easier said than done.
I'm gonna hunt for new slippers now! lol!!
Cheers,
Elisa

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElisa

Hi Elisa - Thanks so much for stopping by to share your thoughts about slippers, change, and challenges. I'd never thought about the idea that "shoes represent walking into the future..." I love that!

And as you also expressed, embracing change isn't necessarily an easy thing to do. It takes time to discover what we need to help us move forward.

May 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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