Lessons from a Pandemic: The Great Reevaluation

I’ve been talking about this a lot lately, and I bet you have, too. Reevaluating EVERYTHING. Home. Career. Life Choices. Relationships. Whether I’m talking to Virtual Organizing clients, Career Coaching/Resumé Writing clients, or hanging out with friends in the real world, it is on everyone’s mind. It’s one of the biggest *positive* psychological and emotional side effects of having come through the last 18 months.

You’ve heard of “The Great Resignation” where people are leaving their jobs, and “The Great Migration,” where people moved out the cities, and even “The Great Separation” with divorces and breakups. These moves come AFTER we’ve embarked on the “Great Reevaluation” where we take stock in where we are, what we want, and what we need to change in our lives to get there. Your STUFF can be a big part of those questions.

Are YOU going through a Great Reevaluation of what you own and why you own it

You’re not alone. 

The Great Reevaluation with direction signs


I’ve been having this conversation over and over with my Virtual Organizing clients, looking for help as they venture on small and massive decluttering sprees! What are people looking at and editing the most?



This one is a humbling one, because we now can say, “Gee, I was at home for a year with nothing to do, and I *still* didn’t make time and space for that [hobby, activity, game, etc.].” If you didn’t start that craft project or the start that family game of Risk during a pandemic, what exactly are you holding onto these items for? What does holding onto them after that mean to you? People are reevaluating what they’re making space in their home for, and what they’re holding onto, emotionally and psychologically, about what the future holds for them, and determining that what they thought they’d love to have fill their time, they just didn’t choose.


This one is a little different to think about. I’m talking about the things we collect, things like figurines, sports cards/memorabilia, books, comic books, vintage items, records, refrigerator magnets, etc. Some items you’ve acquired things on your own and some you’ve been gifted. Why is it part of the Great Reevaluation? First, maybe our acquisition habits have changed, and we’re less energized by the hunt for another item to add. Second, we’ve been in our homes, living with these collections without a break, and maybe we’ve had some time to question why this particular collection is important in our life, what meaning it truly represents for us today. It may not mean letting go of the whole collection, but rather editing and curating for the *most* meaningful, the *most* special items you’re proud to own and display. Maybe we’re realizing that more isn’t necessarily *more*. Reevaluate what the collection means to you today, and what would feel like a great one, even if it were smaller? What would it mean to let go of the items that just aren’t the stars anymore?

Decor and Furniture:

You’ve been looking around the same walls and surrounded by the same stuff, day in and day out, for more than a year. Some people are saying that they’re decluttering their decor – everything from artwork to furniture to throw pillows – just to create an airier, lighter space at home. You might be realizing that you’re looking at the same stuff every day, and you’re getting bored of it. Or maybe the extra visual clutter is causing you to be unfocused and distracted from the important work you need to be doing at home. Whether it is year-round stuff or things you only use for holidays or entertaining (what’s that, again?), whatever the reason, people are taking a step back to reevaluate what surrounds them and why, and making big changes.


Isn’t *everyone* talking about their clothes these days? Everything from “I don’t think any of those things fit me anymore” to “I can’t imagine going back to ‘hard pants’ ” to “Will I ever wear dress shoes again?” is driving people to think about the role that the clothes they own play in their current and foreseeable future. Whether you’re someone who has transitioned indefinitely to working from home or you’ve gone through a meaningful weight change or your just don’t need to dress up to go out like you used to, your closet doesn’t need to remain a museum exhibit of “Life in 2019”. (And that’s assuming your closet was well curated and up-to-date BEFORE the pandemic.) People are taking a fresh look at what they own in their wardrobe, how many CHOICES they just wouldn’t choose anymore, and letting things go. (And yes, they may be investing in more of the things that ARE working for their life now, which is great. Your wardrobe is a tool that should serve you and your life, not the other way around.)

The “Someday, Maybe” Projects:

We’ve had so many “Someday” opportunities since the beginning of the pandemic, those days where you might have had the time and energy to tackle some of those projects on your list that you thought or hoped you’d get to “someday”. The furniture restoration project. The photo albums you were going to digitize. The stereo system you were going to rewire. The Italian CDs  you were going to learn. The bridal gown you were going to turn into…. something. These aspirational projects not only often take up space, in basements, attics, garages, closets, or even more intrusive spots, they also take up space in our minds and set up camp and play at our guilt while they’re in there. Letting go of these projects, the ones you didn’t even seem to make time for when you couldn’t go anywhere else, is decluttering of both your space AND your guilt.


What have you been reevaluating in your stuff and space?

What decisions have you been making and what actions have you been taking?

What are you ready to look at with a fresh set of eyes? 






1 Comment

  1. Ellen Delap

    I’m hearing lots of transition in spaces. There’s a element of simplicity percolating. I’m empowering intentional editing.


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