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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« How to Joyfully Embrace the Human Side of Organizing | What Are The Possibilities When You Clear Your "Space?" »

What Treasures Will Be Discovered When You Are Organizing?

Connecting with the human side of organizing brings the process to an entirely different place. One of the ways we can do this is by focusing our efforts on the treasures instead of loss. As you organize, if you hunt for treasures, you can experience unexpected joy, laughter and an array of other emotions. We can learn things about ourselves, understand connections we never realized, or find humor to lighten up our mood.

As some of you may know, I’ve been sorting through and organizing our family home of 56+ years. In recent blog posts, I’ve written more about this experience. If you want to read more, check out these posts including What Are The Possibilities When You Clear Your “Space?,” What Does Organizing Success Look Life For You?, and How to Be Successful With Your Projects and Purpose.

Now back to the wonderfully human aspect of organizing and discovering family treasures. The treasures I found were not gold or jewels, but instead photos, documents, and other things. Today and in the coming weeks, I’ll share some of these discoveries with you. I hope this will inspire you to embrace the human side of organizing and allow you to focus on positive discoveries, learning, and the aspects that are joyful.

There were many things that I found, especially among the photos. They were stored in various places in the house and in no particular order. So they presented me with a sort of treasure hunt on steroids. The treasures I’m sharing this week speak to the rich history of love that was part of my family. Finding them supported me as I sorted, edited, and let go.


My Grandmothers

One of the things that I had forgotten was that over time my grandmothers while from different family backgrounds and corners of the world became very good friends. As a matter of fact, I remember at one point one of my grandmothers went to live with the other for a while. They took care of each other and had a unique friendship. In this photo, which I’d never seen, it shows my Nana Stell and Nana Roe casually sitting together on what looks like a picnic table. It’s probably from the late 1940’s or early 1950's. I can see how comfortable they were together and how much they were enjoying each other’s company.


My Parents

My folks were married over 61 years before my Dad passed away. They were soul mates and deeply in love. They faced life’s challenges together, were strong individually, and an amazing team together. In this photo, their closeness and support of one another is obvious. They loved the sea. I can imagine them standing there together feeling grateful for each other, their family, and the view in front of them. While the waves can knock down even the strongest of us, their love endured all of life’s challenges with grace, generosity, and kindness. They were a positive force in the world.


My Daddy and Me

What can I say? Being the youngest of three, I definitely felt like Daddy’s little girl, or “Squirt,” as he sometimes called me. I can remember the feeling of comfort and love just sitting in my Dad’s lap. All felt right in the world. I loved spending time with him, especially on Saturday mornings when we’d run errands together. It didn’t matter where we went- to the cleaners, the hardware store, or the bakery. It was fun going around with him, just the two of us. He always made me laugh.



As you’ve organized, what treasures have you or your clients discovered? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (12)

Wow - I'm struck by how blessed you are to have had these loving and connected relationships in your family tree. To have had grandmothers who were friends is so rare these days. I've been having fun going through things with a client who is not married and has no children. She is ready to let go of things, but wants to "relive" the moments before doing so. She is teaching me things I don't know as we go through her treasures, and we are having a lot of laughs. Friday we were giggling because neither of us could figure out what a beautiful silver object could possibly have been used for. It was in with her silver serving pieces, but even though we were fairly well versed in all of the different pieces, this one stumped us. I love how organizing connects inanimate objects with emotion!

November 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Finding treasures when clearing out clutter is just one of the benefits of clearing clutter. It's fun to watch my clients light up and say "I have been looking for this for years!" It makes my day. It shows them first hand, how clearing the clutter benefits them. And, when they find photos and other things, it can benefit their whole family. Thanks for sharing.

November 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

These really are treasures. Even though I don't know your family, seeing those photos is very heart-warming. I recently gathered with some distant cousins and the hostess showed us some old photos and documents she'd gathered. It was wonderful!

November 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Seana- How lucky that your client has you to share and "relive" her life's history. That's so special. Being able to listen to her stories and participate in honoring the treasures AND enjoying some laughter along the way is priceless. That letting go is easier when we've had time to process our thoughts and feelings around the stuff. And being able to do that with someone makes all the difference.

November 6, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Sabrina- Don't you just love that when the missing "thing" is found! It is a wonderful organizing perk to watch our clients "light up" with those discoveries. And you're these types of discoveries are one of the benefits of clearing clutter and space.

November 6, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet- Thank you so much. I'm glad you felt the warmth from the photos. How fun that you recently got to enjoy seeing some of your family history. It IS fun to share. One of the next projects will be digitizing many of the slides, photos, and film so that the entire family (along with future generations) can have access to everything.

November 6, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

You have found some gems! I know that these precious pieces will be at your home to see every day.

Years ago when my siblings and I cleared my parents' home it was a treasure hunt too. Photo sorting is something we did recently. It is a blessing to have these items.

November 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- Ahhh. Thank you so much. There were thousands of photos, slides, films and more to sort through. And so many are "gems." The sorting process sounds VERY familiar to you too as you had your own treasure hunt with your family. I can imagine what it was like for you recently doing the sorting of the family collection. And they couldn't have a better person to do it! I totally agree with you that it is a blessing to have these moments of time. It brings compassion, perspective and deep love to the surface.

November 11, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Seeing my organizing clients find treasures and unlock memories is so enjoyable. It is amazing what can be unearthed during the organizing process. Photos are one of the most important pieces of memorabilia. Thank you for sharing a few of your family's photos & memories with your readers. The photo of you on your father's lap is so adorable!

February 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Haworth

@Nancy- What a great phrase, "unlocking memories." I'm with you that it is one of the beautiful parts of helping our clients organize their treasures. And photos are so powerful. Thank you for stopping by and sharing. I'm glad you liked the post and photos...especially the one of my dad and me. I miss him.

February 23, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Such an endearing photo of your grandmothers! I recently received an 8 x 10 photo of myself when I was about 5 or 6 that had been tucked away somewhere in my aunt's house. I had never seen it before, but it is truly my favorite childhood picture because it captures my personality perfectly!! I'm glad my cousins who were cleaning out the house realized that it would be special to me.

March 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOlive Wagar

@Olive- Thank you. I love this photo of my grandmothers too. It's one of the beautiful discoveries I made while clearing out my parents' home. I'm happy for you that you discovered one of your family treasures- a photo of young Olive! It's an incredible feeling to get some insight into our younger self and the traits that were present at such an early age.

March 5, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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