Many adult caregivers and family members have experienced the “junk wars” with elderly loved ones.
Christmas lights that don’t work, Tupperware lids without matching containers, clothes that no longer fit, enough yarn to make a sweater for a house…. the list could go on and on.
Chances are you will find items in your parent’s house that are older than you! The key to cutting the clutter is to start immediately. There will be no right or convenient time.
Snap It, Then Dump It
We don’t mean break it “by accident”, no matter how tempting it is. We suggest snapping a picture for your parents and then throwing the item away.
Box It And “Forget” It
Choose sturdy and elegant boxes for those items your loved one is unwilling to throw away, but that will never be used.
Develop Some Questions to Sort By
Asking your parent questions about the items can help them feel involved in the process. It’s important your loved one doesn’t feel ambushed. Questions like, “When was the last time you wore this?” or “Would you like to pass this down to someone?” can create a positive experience.
Distinguish Between Collecting and Hoarding
It may look like junk to you, but some items may hold sentimental value. Hoarders are often ill, whereas those born during the Depression era were raised with the “you might need this someday” mentality. Other items might be collected as souvenirs from important experiences.
Enlist Professional Help
Senior Move Managers help plan and manage a move of any distance. They hire and supervise movers, help sort, and pack belongings. They will even unpack a new home. They are experts in navigating the tricky emotional terrain involved in this process.
Sorting through years of personal items can be exhausting and even a nightmare. Remember, this is an emotional process for everyone involved. A plan and a strategy can help reduce stress.
If you have tips that have worked for your family, please let us know. We’d love to add them to our list of tips.