No, no I’m not talking smack about your mama. I’m here to talk about some tough stuff and bring you some helpful tips about helping aging parents and grandparents with downsizing. We have worked a lot lately with helping families clear out whole apartments and houses as parents or grandparents get moved to assisted living or even sadly, pass away.
Here are some tips when you need to help your loved one downsize or do some purging.
First things first, keep in mind that they grew up in a different era than us. They didn’t just throw things away or replace things as quickly as we do in this day and age. They were more careful with their spending and they may worry about needing the items later on or “just in case.”
Second, have patience with them. Maybe that should have been first, either way have patience! Sometimes I think we are all guilty of saying “Omg just throw the shit away already!” You don’t want to overwhelm them either. It’s okay for the projects to take time or do a room each week or whatever you find comfortable for them.
Lastly, let them be the final decision makers! Items have different meanings to different people. Let’s take my hubby for example, I have no clue why he needs that piece of wood but he may need it for a project later. But I’m guilty of thinking I need every piece of Pyrex I come across. Even though that silly piece of paper or that butt ugly scarf seems ridiculous to keep, it may be important to them. So it is totally fine to just let them hold onto those things. You can always circle back to the keep pile at another time.
Another trick to reason with them is to suggest donating. Let them know it won’t end up in a landfill and that someone may be able to use it and give it new life. That might spark something in them to let go easier.
If you are overwhelmed with what to do in any of these situations, reach out to us! I have had lots of experience with families and these types of cleanouts. We reassure you that we will never throw anything that isn’t supposed to go, only what you tell us. Lots of times at assisted living facilities we find pictures or items that we think may be sentimental. We communicate with the family and set those items aside. We donate any items possible and only what is not able to be donated will end up in the landfill. We can have years to decades of clutter cleared in no time so you can breathe!