Change Is Hard

Change is Hard – but Why?

As a Home and Office Organizer, I help people make changes all the time. Most of the time the main reason that we are working together is because my clients are ready and willing to make a change.

moms-stoveBut why is Change so Hard?

  1. We are emotionally attached to our stuff
  2. We feel as if we are defined by our items and (stuff)
  3. We are afraid of what others will say if we get rid of the stuff that they gave us
  4. We are afraid that we will need it in the future
  5. We are fearful of how change will feel

I just spent the weekend in NJ with my parents, helping them celebrate their 61st Wedding Anniversary. How exciting is that? Right!!

My parents raised me to appreciate the value of things. We didn’t have a lot of extra anything growing up (because there just wasn’t any extra money) and we rarely had anything new – and when we did, it was very much appreciated.

My dad never replaced anything unless it was 100% broken and had no chance of being fixed (or had been fixed multiple times already). I guess clothes, costume jewelry and purses are the only things that my mom has ever gotten that were “new”. Everything else in the household had to last “forever”. And she took such good care of everything that the idea of things lasting forever was not unreasonable.

And, of course, a lot of the items in their home are vintage and heirlooms  from relatives that have passed. So mom does have a lot of nice things – they just aren’t new…they hold memories and are sentimental.


So, as a surprise gift to my mom, my cousin and I decided to give her a brand new Anniversary stove. Her old stove was purchased 60 years ago and it was 10 years old back when dad bought it. Parts of the burners worked, the door didn’t close properly and over the last 8 years she has cooked less and less because it just too much effort. I remember the days when she loved to bake cookies and other homemade goodies.


Wow…how was I to know that my dad would be so attached to the old stove?

Mom was so, so happy to have something new in the house! She was smiling from ear to ear when I told her that within the hour a delivery truck would be in the driveway with a brand new stove just for her.

Dad, on the other hand, was ticked, irritated, mad, angry (and any and every other adjective that you can imagine). I couldn’t believe and never imagined that he had such a huge attachment to the stove! In 61 years he had probably only used the stove a handful of times!

While I think that the surprise of the stove was the best way to handle everything, I was totally not prepared for my dad’s reaction. It really took me back when he just sat there and shook his head, telling me, “no, you can’t get rid of that stove. It still works. I can never get another stove like it. A new stove won’t be the same. It won’t last as long.”

While I expected to get a little attitude about the new stove, I didn’t expect him to be so emotionally attached to an appliance!

After about 2 hours of talking through why mom needed a new stove, he agreed that we could have the new one delivered and that if he wanted to blame anyone, he could (and should) blame myself and my cousin.

Since my parents are older, I am slightly concerned about how my dad will react when he experiences what I consider to be the biggest change in his life…the loss of my mom. I guess that maybe this whole experience with the stove was the beginning to prepare me for that time.

In the meantime, my mom is enjoying her new stove. She has used it as an opportunity to downsize her pots and pans even more (since the new stove is 6 inches smaller in width). Of course, dad doesn’t want to get rid of anything. So, she will be doing it when he isn’t around.

After all is said and done….

My words of wisdom to my dad: “Your stove does not define your marriage, it does not define you.” What a new stove does do is “make mom and I feel safe that she can make you awesome meals without worry.”

Change is Hard….Dealing with Change is Difficult

Your material things do not and should not define your life….the life that you create should define your life. Time with family, memories and enjoying every day are the best definite of the word “life”.