Honey...the kid's don't want our stuff!


I'll be on Fox 4 in Kansas City the morning of November 8th around 9:00 am to address one of the conundrums I hear regularly..."my parents want to give me their stuff, but I don't want it." 

The early Baby Boomers have entered 70s and are downsizing or moving to assisted living which means there is stuff to get rid of. So what are they doing with the house-full of possessions they’ve curated over the past 50 years?

Many of these folks want to give their things to their adult children who often don’t want it or have space for it. These Items include oak dining room sets, china, crystal, silver, and collectables, none of which are highly valued by the next generation. 

What accounts for this generational difference in values?

In the past these items signaled to friends and family that you had arrived…which was heavily promoted by increased sophistication in marketing and new ways to access credit beginning in the late 1940s. Sometime In the 2000s we started on a more minimalist trend.

Although we still consume plenty, we're not interested in the kinds of furniture and household goods our parents have collected. With easy and cheap access to manufactured goods, we buy what we want without waiting to get the dining room set from our parents. 

Additionally, with many more women in the workforce "homemaking" no longer includes using dishes that can't be put in the dishwasher, silver that needs to be polished or collectable plates that must be dusted. Our priorities have shifted...what we value has shifted. 

What kinds of problems are caused by these shifts?

Because this is the first time in our history there is a kink in this chain of passing down stuff, both parents and adult children are struggling. Aging parents may feel hurt when kids don’t want the items and children may feel a sense of obligation to take things they don’t want and won’t use.

What are some ideas to make this process easier for both parties?

Start the conversation now, before a health or financial crises forces a quick resolution. For many, sorting through possessions feels like a life review; you don’t want to rush this process if you don’t have to.

Consider getting outside support from someone like me. Tomorrow I am meeting with an elderly couple and their adult daughter to have this very conversation.

Or borrow and idea from my own creative mother...a table in the garage with things she is ready to pass on. When we are home to visit, we take what we want and leave the rest, guilt free. 

Please reach out with questions, thanks! Nikki

Bats, Boxes and Bits of the Berlin Wall

 Four of the six boxes I donated for a client.

Four of the six boxes I donated for a client.

This has been a beautifully busy week.

  • I've been in several homes helping to dig through boxes and choose what to keep, and what to pass on.

  • I've been on Zoom coaching with my people to figure out the next, few easy steps to expand and clarify their lives.

  • We shot the second half of the special segment for channel 5's Better Kansas City which will air sometime in November.

  • I've been happily supporting those signed up for the 14 Day Clutter Cleanse...they're sorting their accessories (hats, bags, scarves, etc.) for the next few days.

This week I got to see bits of the Berlin Wall, a dried up bat, the joy of stuff being hauled away and be present to the sadness as I confirmed a daughter's suspicions of her elderly parents hoarding.

It has been a beautiful rollercoaster

I witnessed tears, deep sadness and hope, renewed confidence and big shifts in perspective.

Being there while life changes for someone else is an honor... sometimes it's raw and sometimes, just good fun. 

Feeling stuck is normal...staying stuck is optional


Let me say it again...staying stuck is optional.

Bold statement...maybe. I am in this world to help you create an amazing life, sometimes that requires bold statements

For those of you who have struggled with clutter for a long time, another magazine, book or workshop that doesn't offer support for practice is probably not going to get you unstuck. 

The key is supported implementation...not more information. 

If you're serious about moving forward, creating a life you love, here are 3 easy ways to begin. 

1. Register here for the 14 Day Clutter CleanseI am offering along with Tina Sprinkle owner of Pilates 1901...an amazing woman focused on helping the rest of us feel amazing. This Cleanse will give you an opportunity to actually put in action the strategies I teach. I will support you during this Cleanse via email, text and a private Facebook group, so open to you no matter where in the world you live. This decluttering festival runs from Oct. 22-Nov. 4th.

Save $20 and sign up by Oct. 21st to get the early bird rate of $79.

2. Click here to send me an email to reserve a spot for the Cost of Clutter workshop on Oct. 20th from noon-1:00 at Pilates 1901, 1901 West 43rd Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66103. (This will be good fun, but remember, if you've been stuck in your clutter for a long time, it's likely you'll need more than this workshop to actually create change.)

3. Click on this link to schedule a complimentary chat so we can discover how to get you unstuck and even unstoppable!

You get to choose...stay stuck or take a small but bold step forward. Let me know what I can do to help.

Much love,

If someone you love is hoarding...


Recently I consulted with therapists and social workers at a mental health agency to offer ways they can better support clients who hoard. The interesting thing was that several staff shared examples of their own family members who hoard. Researchers estimate that around 6% of the U.S. population struggle with hoarding, but it sure seems higher to me.

Your grandmother may have lots of things in her home, but how do you know if it's actually hoarding? How can you best support her? What's the long term outlook?

Signs that someone is hoarding:

  • Excessively acquiring items that are not needed or for which there's no space. An extra coffee maker for which is no room on the counter or another vacuum cleaner even though there is little open floor space. 

  • Persistent difficulty throwing out or parting with things, regardless of actual value. Perhaps years of junk mail or empty boxes. 

  • Feeling a need to save these items, and being upset by the thought of discarding them. She may feel anxious at the idea of throwing out expired food. 

  • Building up of clutter to the point where rooms become unusable. Her stovetop is covered in groceries that won't fit in the cupboards or bathtub full of clothes. 

  • Having a tendency toward indecisiveness, perfectionism, avoidance, procrastination, and problems with planning and organizing. "I might need this someday." 

Why do people hoard? 

  • Primary causes seem to be genetics (there is a specific gene correlated with hoarding behaviors) or very stressful events such as a house fire, or extreme poverty as a child. 

How can you help?

  • Help your grandmother create an interesting and engaging life...don't just focus on the problem.

  • Gain her trust by listening to understand, and refrain from sharing your personal judgments. Shame and criticism are not helpful.

  • Don't expect her to make logical decisions about what to keep and what to give away.  

  • Start with most helpful area, such as the stovetop, or bathtub or bed. 

  • Work in small chunks and celebrate small wins and negotiate limits.

How likely is it that someone totally stop hoarding?

  • Not great, the research I’ve read reports less than 50% have significant improvement; hoarding is actually more of a management situation.

  • It’s most helpful if they can get coaching or therapy early and stick with it.





I plan to share a summary of this information on Fox 4's Therapy Thursday segment, (Sept. 13th around 9:15 am), please tune in if you can!

Feel stuck? Maybe it's your thinking.

Grab a cup of tea and watch the Seven Myths That Keep Us Stuck. We talk about the thoughts that keeps us stuck and what we can do to start moving again.

Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle a Greek philosopher from the 300s BC is basically saying, just because you think it, doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

We limit ourselves through believing our unhelpful and fearful thoughts. We create stories or myths from these thoughts, myths that can keep us stuck and overwhelmed, too afraid to take the next easy, small step. Here are the most common myths I see that keep us stuck:

Common Myths

#1). I just need more “how to” knowledge. If I read another article, I’ll finally be able to start.  

#2). I don’t have time! I need a big opening in my schedule to tackle this project.

#3). I need to be harder on myself! If get more serious then I’ll be able to get this thing done. 

#4). After I get _______ under control, then I can move on with my life. 

#5). I am just not the kind of person who could accomplish________. 

#6). It’s not worth doing if I can’t do it perfectly

#7). Once I get clear on my life’s purpose, then I can move forward

My personal favorites are #1 & #3...

Which one's feel true for you? 

Let me know what you think!

A few precious items


If your house was burning, what would you take with you? What does our stuff say about us...if anything?

Here's what I would take:
1. Billfold, practical and beautiful.
2. Passport.
3. Brooch from my wedding dress.
4. Phone.
5. Laptop.
6. Handkerchief from my great grandmother Fern.
7. Earrings found in New Orleans while I was knee-deep in my dissertation.
8. Keychain from my sweet Grace.
9. Quilt my sister Natalie made for me.
Check out what other's included... http://theburninghouse.com

What's the problem with focusing on the problem?


Complaining…we all do it. But sometimes, do you wish your could back off the bellyaching?

My husband and noticed we had gotten in to a bit of a rut...a running commentary on how we thought the world should be. So we decided to go on a "complaining cleanse". About a week into this little experiment, we noticed that we generally felt better when we appreciated something about a situation instead of complained about it.

I realized that in almost every situation the glass is both half empty and half full! There are both good and bad in nearly every situation and I get to choose which I focused on. I am not suggesting you ignore the stuff that feels yucky, but just acknowledge that there is ALSO good in each situation. 

Noticing that I felt better when I focused on the "half full" inspired me to dig into the research to see what was actually happening up there in my brain.

First, it’s good to know that when we notice and appreciate the good things today, it actually makes it more likely we will notice the good things tomorrow…but the same happens with complaining…the more we complain today, the more we will complain tomorrow. This happens due to the chemicals released in our brains when we notice the good stuff or when we complain. 

Researchers have found that when we focus on what's good in our life, not just what's bad, the following things happen:

  • More happiness, optimism and self worth; less anxiety, depression, and envy. 
  • We even sleep better when we focus more on the good stuff!

If you're interested in playing around with this idea:

Notice the good stuff and then let yourself actually feel the experience of the goodness. Try this with your first cup of coffee or tea, hold it in your hand, breath in the aroma and be with that nice feeling for several seconds...rather that complaining that you have to get out of bed early. 

The more you pause to appreciate and experience these good feelings, the more likely you will do it again in the future. 

Bottom line: the more your complain, the more you will complain. The more you notice the good stuff, the more you will notice the good stuff. You choose!  

If you're interested in learning more about this topic, check out Rick Hanson PhD's latest book, Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

A few words about fearful thinking...

live...what are you waiting for?.png

Seems to me that once we get a little practice doing stuff that feels scary, it gets easier! 

You see there’s really nothing to be afraid of, most of the time fear isn't a good reason to wait or stop. Often, a choice only feels scary for a short time and then it looks like an amazing idea!

Here’s a short list of decisions that looked scary to me in the moment...

  • Start a PhD in my 40s. 
  • Attend graduate school at Stanford for a semester leaving a husband and 14 year old daughter in Kansas. (Next time we meet, ask me about the room I rented).
  • Give away 80% of my belongings, sell the house in the suburbs and move to a 715 sq. ft. condo in the city. 
  • Leave my career in educational coaching and research to start Your Peaceful Space

Why am I sharing these examples?? Because this amazing life is full of moments when we can choose to move forward inspite of our fearful thinking! This, my friends is how we make our dreams come true, and it's available to you.

What dreams do you carry....but too afraid to set into motion? 

Float this statement in your mind, "I carry a dream that..." then just let the words and images come to you, see what arrises. I would LOVE to hear what you notice!