Home Forums Challenges Sentimental Clutter Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

This topic contains 50 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  clutterbug22 6 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #160052

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Helping my mom declutter has been a slow process. If she is involved, she wants to hang on to everything. Her reasons for keeping things are typical. I will leave anything that has precious memories. She’s 86 years old and I don’t want to cause her any more grief.

    There is one issue that drives me nuts. She lives in a building for Seniors. It’s a nice place that has activities on a regular basis. One thing that they do is arrange a Secret Pal exchange every year. There are about 9 special occasions each year. A 5 dollar limit for each gift. Most of the gifts are trinkets from second hand stores or re-gifts. Not that that is a bad thing necessarily, but rarely are these things appealing to mom, so she doesn’t display most of the trinkets. Instead, she stuffs them in her dresser drawers. She now uses what was once dad’s dresser for her clothes, because her dresser is full and the extra dresser is starting to fill up because all her other storage spaces are stuffed with years of indecision.

    She wants to declutter and have better organization, but actually doing it causes her anxiety. I think most of the anxiety comes from the inability to make decisions. A few months ago, when she was in the hospital, I cleaned out her bathroom closet. She was thrilled with the result, and made a comment a few weeks later that she didn’t miss anything and couldn’t remember what was all in there. She definitely has potential.

    Getting her more organized will help her greatly. Even though she is doing surprisingly well since dad died, organizing the closet spaces will help her feel less weighted down.

    She wants me to help her with the main closet now. If I can get most of the stuff out of there, which she doesn’t use anyway, I can take kitchen type items from the bedroom closets and put them in this main closet which is right off the kitchen. She can’t remember where everything is located. That is because there are 3 large closets and 1 small one, so it’s impossible to keep it all straight. Dad always knew where everything was though. She is having some memory problems that are starting to worry her, but I think at least some of it has to do with the chaos. If I can reduce the chaos by getting like items together in the rooms where they belong, she would know where everything is based on where it’s used.

    I’m excited to about doing this for her. However, I’ve been at this point before, which ends up being only a rearrangement with nothing leaving the apartment. Then, of course, it all gets messy again in a short period of time.

    I don’t know how to get past this issue except to take charge and not ask her about every item. I’ll make a piles of everything I think should leave or knows she doesn’t use or want. Rearrange the closets, let her breathe in the serenity of an organized closet, and then hopefully she will realize on her own that the unwanted items can be released.

    I’m hoping that by adjusting my approach based on past failed decluttering sessions with her will help. I think most of us here have experienced how light we feel when our spaces aren’t congested and we can find things without having to think about it. *Fingers crossed it works.*

  • #219434

    rutheverhart
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Hi JuliaJayne, I think it’s great that you’re helping your mom with this. I worked with my parents last fall, so I have a sense for what this can be like. In my mom’s case, it was a sense of frugality, also a sense of “shoulds. As in “I should have finished that project but didn’t so here it is.” I found that I could say: Mom, what if you just forgave yourself for not finishing and let it go? If I said “what if” it seemed like I wasn’t being pushy. Also I tried to put things in the language of being kind to herself and her space. Just to say — I really understand how tricky it can be. Also, my parents were so glad to have a better handle on their space!

    Your suggestion near the end, of making piles might be a good option — many of us find that an “in-between” spot is helpful — where we consider whether something is ready to go. People but things in boxes with a date on them. Or set them in the garage. Maybe you can do some version of these things. Fill a box and go through it with her — pull out items she is sure she wants to keep. Let everything else just sit for a pre-determined length of time (even 24 hours can help) and then you remove it. Good luck and keep us posted!

  • #219435

    rutheverhart
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    whoops double post

  • #219438

    RebeccaL
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Do you think she’d be receptive to getting rid of categories of items?

    Ex: “Mom, would you be okay with me donating the trinkets you don’t have on display?” “Are you okay with getting rid of all the shoes you no longer wear?”, etc. She’s still approving what’s being uncluttered, but you’re not asking her about every item, so the process should go quicker.

  • #219440

    xarcady
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Working on similar issues with my elderly father, two things I found useful where limit-setting and labels.

    Together, we set limits on how much of each thing he needed. He wanted to be able to host the entire family for a meal, so that meant he needed 20 place settings of china and flatware. He used three rolls of toilet paper a week, so he decided he didn’t need more than 10 rolls at any one time. For some things, we set physical limits–a basket to hold magazines. When it got full, he had to empty it out before new magazines came in.

    Then we labeled shelves and drawers. My mother had always maintained the house, so Dad was kind of at a lose when she died. But labeling allowed Dad to put things back where they belonged without having to think about it. Or, if he wasn’t feeling well, he could easily tell get someone else to get him what he needed, because they could find things.

    Dad kept 20 place settings of china, but he didn’t use them every day. We put 5 settings in the kitchen, for daily use and for random drop-in visitors, and stored the rest in a closet in the dining room. We labeled both areas with the number of plates, bowls, etc., that should be stored there.

    Dad resisted when I tried to reduce the number of things like towels–he didn’t want to do laundry every day. But he also didn’t need the same number of sheets and towels and such as were necessary when nine people were living in the house. I ended up boxing some stuff and storing it in the attic. Dad eventually realized that having less stuff to store, clean, and keep track of made his life easier, and let me get rid of it.

    And at some point, I started doing some of his laundry, which also helped. Sometimes, with parents, you just do what works.

  • #219442

    chacha1
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    These stories just make me more determined to continue the practice of Net Loss of Stuff. I’m not going to have any kids or close family to look after me when I’m old … so I’d better make sure my ducks are in a row before then.

  • #219449

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    JJ: sounds like you’ve thought this through and have a plan sensitive to your mother’s needs.

    I’ve been going through this with my MIL for the past 3+ years. Some things I’ve found that helped:

    (1) She seemed to be more open to letting go of things when I could weave a story around how they would be used. So I would start talking about her (long gone) basset hounds and segue into suggesting that she give extra sheets and towels to the shelter. Or clothing to Goodwill, and tell a story about a young mother in nursing school (she was a nurse) who needed just this size sweater because winter was coming. A little boy would love to buy this trinket at the Salvation Army store across the street from my office and give it to his Mommy for her birthday. She seemed more amenable to giving stuff away once she understood that someone else would use it and love it.

    (2) We got rid of a lot of her excess kitchen stuff by giving it to young people setting up their first apartments — including her grandkids. They were free to sort through the box of give-aways and pass on what they didn’t need or want to friends. Or toss it, or give it to Goodwill. The intermediate step helped somehow.

    (3) She had an ENTIRE CLOSET full of Christmas decorations. Last year we put them ALL out for her — it took two days — there wasn’t enough room in the house. Once she saw how much she had she was more open to getting rid of some of it.

    Best of luck to you!

  • #219452

    Netleigh
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    JJ,I feel for you & your mum’s clutter. A technique I’ve found useful with Auntie is to relocate ‘things she’s not really using’ to another difficult to reach storage location ‘so finding the things you use will be easier’. Then in another pass some months later she agrees she didn’t miss the hidden away stuff and it can go.

  • #219453

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Ruth, I like your suggestion of using “what if” questions. I had considered boxing up the trinkets at one point, but forgot all about it. I’ll make sure to bring a box for that. Mom wasn’t ready to declutter today, so I did a few things for her and that’s all that mattered. Maybe tomorrow. She did say that it’s hard for her to let things go, but she’s starting to get over that now. Baby steps.

    I want her to experience the feeling of “having a better handle on her space”.

    Rebecca, I don’t know if I can make the category approach work at this early stage because we would have to go through every closet and drawer for a lot of items. It should become easier as we go through more areas. But now that I think about it, I will get some bankers boxes before going over that, so if she is resistant, I can at least box things up by category to clear some space.

    She is extremely disorganized, stuffing things wherever there is room. There is no logic to her putting things away, and of course she doesn’t know what she has. Last year I tried to get all of her stationary items together, but it was impossible. She wants to get a desk or a table for the spare bedroom now because she thinks that will help her be more organized. All it will do is give her a space for dumping stuff before company comes over.

    Xarcady, Labeling – good reminder to bring my label maker. I can’t believe I forgot it today. How you helped organize your father might be necessary for mom because she can’t remember where the pads of paper are, so she’s writing everything on the back of envelopes now.

    Chacha – getting our ducks in a row is a good thing for all of us to do. Mom’s disorganization caused me a lot of stress when trying to pull together their financial picture shortly before and after dad died. They stopped adding important papers to their safe around 2003, over half of it was irrelevant. I still don’t know if we found everything. Mom seems to think we found everything because she doesn’t get any mail from anyone else. She added that she has enough money coming in every month and doesn’t care if we missed something. (lol)

  • #219454

    luxcat
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    @Julia
    do you think you could talk her into a version of “A Thing A Day?” to keep the ball rolling when you cannot be there? …Especially if she might react well to the sort of story-weaving Susanintexas suggested. I have a MIL with a house chock full of stuff- and a very big heart- and when the time comes I think that sort of story-weaving technique would really help her make decisions, but I know everyone is different.

    @Chacha
    I also will be alone at the end, if statistics are right (sometimes I rather hope they are not) I will likely outlive my same-aged DH and we have no kids. I have no family of younger age other than a nephew from DH’s side of the family, and that couple does not plan more kids. I spend a lot of time and effort making sure I am not going to be a burden to anyone in 30 or 40 years… financially, clutter, or otherwise.

  • #219457

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Susan, weaving stories would definitely work with my mom. Boxing up excess kitchen items for my niece and son to look through would work, but I’m not sure where we would store them. They have locked storage in the basement, but I don’t know if that was cleaned out yet. My brother was in charge of that. It’s probably still full.

    Netleigh, mom has high shelves in the closets; the apartment has huge closets. While I’m leery about boxing up too much, it might be the only way I can get her to stop organized. I know the clutter is overwhelming, and I think the embarrassment more than I thought.

    I have to make notes for myself with all your comments and shift my strategy somewhat. I also need to think about a payoff to entice her… perhaps making her future office space really function for her.

  • #219458

    pkilmain
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    @chacha and @luxcat – I am in same position as both of you, except my DH and I each have one niece who is fairly responsible. However, they both live on the east coast. They will handle the financial aspect of our estates fine from that distance, but the house and belongings will most likely be done by a third-party. Uncluttering now will make that task much less onerous. In addition to clearing stuff out, my goal is to be much more careful with what comes in. Erin’s post on duplicates this morning was very appropriate to me. For instance I have a set of brand new Pampered Chef measuring cups, the nice slanted ones for measuring liquids, and instead still use a battered set of pyrex ones. I have decided I will take out the new ones and if after two week’s test I like them as well or better, then the pryex ones will get donated. If not, the new ones will. I bought them at least 2 years ago…..

  • #219459

    pkilmain
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Oh, and @JJ, my mother also had a penchant for acquiring a lot of little trinkets, knickknacks and costume jewelry. When she moved from Massachusetts to Florida, we got rid of a lot, but in the 20+ years in Florida she managed to acquire a large collection again. It was much easier for me to clean her house out as she was in a nursing home by then and could only have a few things in her room there. I did help my sister declutter this past spring when she was getting ready to move. She is very indecisive about paperwork especially. She had no trouble recognizing she had too much stuff (esp clothing) and donating it. But paperwork, oh boy! My roll was basically to confirm that yes she could throw away receipts for everything that was (a) expensive and (b) needed for a warranty. The worse thing was that in her disorganization she had misplaced severl items needed to do her income tax. I also had to assure her that yes, she could file for an extension (this was early April) and if necessary she could contact the necessary parties to get replacement papers. She did find them in a pile eventually.

  • #219464

    Sky
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    JJ, I know you have your work cut out for you! Maybe putting like with like in piles will show your Mom the excess and make it easier to part with things.

  • #221138

    valanne
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    My heart goes out to all of you with this problem. When my mom passed away, I expected her house to be cluttered, but had no idea how bad it actually was! It took me days and days of backbreaking work to clear out her house.

    My experience with my mom has changed me, because there’s no way I’m going to leave that sort of a mess for my kids to have to clean up when I’m gone! I have even set up my own website related to this topic.
    Here is a link to get a really helpful FREE guide on how to declutter your life..
    http://www.valannehudson.info
    I hope it will be as much help to you as it was for me!

  • #221143

    PaulT00
    Participant

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    I really wish we could have done some gentle decluttering with my FIL after his wife passed away a couple of years ago. Sadly he was in the middling stages of dementia by then, and even suggestions about arranging power of attorney and the like were met with fury and yells of “You’re just after my money!” As a result my partner and I are now having to spend alternate weeks in his house in Penzance, now he too has gone. The house is crammed with 60 years of the in-laws’ lives, plus piles of papers which FIL created and held on to as his memory got worse; he became obsessive and we have thrown out at least a dozen electric shavers (some of them dismantled to “fix” them). It is possible to take half a day clearing one cupboard! We need to get the place cleared and refurbished to be rented out, but At the current rate of progress it is going to take months. We live 170 miles from Penzance so we have to relocate for a week at a time. I will be *so* glad when it is finished!

  • #221146

    Rosa
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Susan, that is GENIUS! Too many times the problem with the stuff is actually with the narrative (that is for … i got that because it was so cute i thought i could make…)

    and JuliaJayne, this isn’t 100% honest but if you boxed up things for the youngsters to look through, could they go to your house, and if nobody’s wanted into them for six months or whatever, you donate them? I used to do that for my grandma and once it was out of her house she just forgot it (never anything important, just stuff she thought someone should use.)

  • #221153

    Anonymous

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    I am dreading the day when we will have to help clear out my FIL’s home. No one lives within 300 miles of him, we’re over 1000 miles away. I have only visited once, but was horrified. He had petrified fruit in the kitchen and refused to get rid of it, nick nacks, furniture, lots of solvents, paints, paper, carpet pieces, tools, dead electronics, aieee!

    I am listening to all of the voices on this thread and storing away ideas for the inevitable conversation we will need to have with him.

  • #221161

    Joless
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    My elderly neighbour had a fall and moved to her daughters house about two and a half years ago. Her house has been empty since. She has now had a stroke and her kids are just getting around to cleaning the house with the aim of renting it out. They have done hours of cleaning, hired vans and skips and still the place is chock full of junk. I feel so bad for them. They won’t have nice memories of the house and are getting to the point where they are about to hire a clearence service to just deal with it all. It’s stressful watching them deal with it, and knowing they are losing maybe Β£1000+ of rent each month which they presumably need for care costs is hard too. Definitely makes me want to clear everything out ASAP!

  • #221162

    irishbell
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    This is somewhat off topic, but i had not given it any thought whatsoever!
    Now that my dad has sold his condo and everything he wanted to keep is now moved into his GFs home,
    I don’t know what will happen with his belongings if he should pass before her? He has no clutter to speak of, only small personal
    items, clothing and furniture.
    I expect that will be the the case as he has some major health issues and she has none.
    I guess this is a conversation to have with him before too long. Jeez.

  • #221173

    chacha1
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    irishbell, take your dad out for coffee and ask if he’s intending to pass his personal things to his new GF. If so, and if they are not planning to marry, he really needs to update his will to be specific. If he has other assets and wants to divide them between blood family and GF, all the more reason to take care of this now while he is healthy and of sound mind.

    It’s tragically common for people to think “oh, nobody will care about this stuff” only to find themselves in a catfight over a hundred bucks’ worth of trivia. Especially in families where, like yours, there are many descendants … some of whom may feel they “deserve” bequests, and others of whom most would agree actually DO deserve ’em.

  • #221184

    pkilmain
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Hmmm, yes. DH’s family ended up totally estranged when his grandmother died. His Dad had two sisters, and one was just nasty about everything, and while she did indeed end up with much of what she insisted she was due, she and her family never again spent any time with DH’s family or that of the other sister. And DH and his siblings lost out on knowing a whole set of cousins.

    While my parents left a fair amount of stuff, it only took a week to deal with it because all 4 of us were on the same page – and of course it helped that there was very little of any value. LOL

  • #221185

    irishbell
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Pkilmain- Isn’t it terrible how families can divide so over things which in normal times they could probably care less about!? My sibs would have to do something pretty awful for that to happen. It would more likely that spousal influence would be the cause of that knd of rift.
    Chacha1- I am my Dads patient advocate and will have durable power of attorney, along with his gf. (I guess to keep me honest? lol.)
    My sibs think they both are as well, but after their behavior and lack of help during both my parents illnesses and following my moms death, he changed his will. They know nothing about this change, yet. (Sorry to restate, I think I’ve posted about this before)
    Hes having his attorney sendxme a copy of the revised will, and he’s told me about his estate planning. I just dont know if hes covered everything that I’m thinking about. I don’t want any surprises when the time comes.
    Which, like chacha says, will require a chat sooner rather than later.

  • #221211

    Rosa
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    there’s a really nice post on 365 less things by a woman who helped her mom declutter. It’s a nice counterpoint to the usual “then they died and here is all this stuff” ones.

    http://www.365lessthings.com/deb-j-and-her-mom-an-amazing-transformation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+365LessThings+%28365+Less+Things%29

  • #221312

    bandicoot
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    that was a great post. thanks for the link, rosa!

  • #221337

    lucy1965
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    On the phone with my mom this morning and she said “Where do you even start with this stuff? I have the domed clock from our 25th anniversary –“

    I did not say “You and Dad divorced 20 years ago, and given the circumstances? I would have taken a sledgehammer to it, dunked the pieces in acid, and set what was left on fire. How do you still have that, never mind having it out where you can see it every day?” Instead I suggested that she might start with cookbooks she hasn’t opened in 20 years — and then pounded my head on the table after we hung up.

    Sweet corpulent Cthulhu, you guys, she’s really going to leave it to me to deal with after she dies.

  • #221371

    Rosa
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Lucy, I am so sorry.

    That said, just remember
    1) you could pay someone else to deal with it. Possibly with a bulldozer.
    2) you CAN just walk away. You really can. If you went undercover or died before her, who would deal with it? You can’t inherit anything if you just let it go to the state to deal with, but you also can avoid inheriting the mess/debts.

    One of my uncles was estranged from his whole family. My stepdad ended up dealing with his stuff because the state tracked him down, but if he’d canceled the landline before that? Someone else would have handled the estate. It happens a lot. It might not be what you want to do, but it is always an option.

  • #221394

    lucy1965
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Rosa, my running joke has been that when they die, I will make sure humans and companion animals are out of the properties and then pray for a lightning strike.

    As they age, it’s feeling less like a joke and more like a plan of action: relations between segments of my family have deteriorated to the point that I’m determined to move without making my new address generally available, and DH and I have already decided we won’t have a landline at the new place.

  • #221464

    chacha1
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    “sweet corpulent Cthulhu” – LOL!

    My parents aren’t likely to be a problem with regard to Stuff. Mom is a dedicated unclutterer. They are almost certainly going to be a problem with regard to some other stuff, though. (No estate plan at 74? Yep, that’s gonna be a problem.)

  • #221492

    Swede
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    There will be MASSIVE problems if something were to happen to my dad. I try not to think about it bc it freaks me out. But I have been talking to him about setting up a will. I told him how my older sister said she would sell his house (!!! I should mention that the house has no loans what so ever + 2 apartments to rent out so it’s not like it would cost us anything to keep it… And he renovated the whole thing himself making it very much his pride and joy.) and that gave him a good kick in the butt to get going sooner rather than later with this.

  • #221497

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Good Luck, Swede. Making a will is something that I have to address with my mother who is also a great hoarder. Sounds like your father needs to write something down officially so that you (and you have a brother as well I think?) have some legal say in what happens to his property otherwise it will probably get nasty eventually. I’ve known this from my dh’s family whereby the aunt managed to work it so that she got her parents house whilst the other 2 siblings just got a bit of money.
    Coincidentally, I’m currently reading ‘The Boomer Burden’ by Julie Hall which suggests ways of how to deal with parents lifetime accumulation of stuff and the importance of making wills due to the fracture between families that not having a will causes. It’s written for the USA market but it’s useful just to make you realize just how much there is to do. She also runs a web-site called ‘The Estate Lady’ where she gives advice on this subject.

  • #221499

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Clutterbug: that book looks good! I skimmed through her blog and much insight in it. They don’t have it in our library (boo) so I might just have to order it. I’m meeting with an “estate lady” tomorrow to see about selling my MIL’s stuff — we’ll see how that goes. I’m almost afraid that I helped he unclutter too much and there’s not enough stuff left to make it worth her while to hold a sale.

  • #221503

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    SIT, glad the book and website might be of use to you, she does seem to write from a very compassionate and common sense point of view.

    Good luck with seeing the estate lady tomorrow. As to being worried that you might have decluttered too much, just think that at least that stuff is gone and dealt with and that you don’t have to make any future decisions on it. You could go crazy worrying over whether you have done the right thing on every little item that she had. You can only do what you think is right at the time.

    And keep us posted on how it went with the estate lady!

  • #221505

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Clutterbug: you are quite right: thanks for reminding me. I DID make the right decisions if, as we thought at the time, she would remain in her own home and I had to clean it πŸ™‚ And, being realistic, the carloads of stuff I took to goodwill would probably only bring a few hundred dollars. It’s not the end of the world.

  • #221523

    Swede
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Thanks Clutterbug! πŸ™‚ I was actually at my dads house tonight and did bring it up. I told him that both me and my brother are worried about major drama in case anything would happen to him. There is actually six siblings in total making it even more prone to drama… Two of them are still under 15 so this isn’t something I would discuss with them. Anyhow. I told him I want to make a will (sort of to encourage him and sort of to make sure my savings wouldn’t go to anything but my brothers debt) so we agreed that I’ll come over at some stage next month and we’ll have witnesses there so he can do up a version of his and I will work on mine until then as well.

    We also agreed that I will help him then to organise a lot of the house papers. There are a lot of sentimental items ([i]like his hand drawn plans for the kitchen done in 1986… and it’s funny bc it looks like the sketch was done looking at the kitchen when it was in fact done a year before the kitchen was built!!) and a lot of important items (like the official drawings/plans of the house[/i]) that need to be compiled in one place. I’m actually looking forward to it! πŸ˜€

  • #221526

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    SIT, yes, just think that the potentially ‘lost’ money from the donated items (if they would have all sold anyway) is probably peanuts compared to your peace of mind in not having to spend more of your time and energy thinking about them.

    Swede, wow, what brilliant progress! Sounds like you handled it in a practical manner. I bet you are relieved that he seems to taking it on board and in a calm way. Plus, it will be so helpful if he can gather all his important documents together.

  • #221551

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    We met with the estate liquidator this morning. Very interesting. Here are the highlights:
    (1) Their fee is 50%. I thought this was high, but they know the value of things that we would have priced way too low and have a network of dealers/collectors who come to their sales and are willing to pay more than yard sale prices, so I think we will actually come out better, financially, than if we tried to do it ourselves. When they are done, the house will be empty and clean. All we have to do is cash the check.
    (2) My MIL’s neighborhood, although safe and friendly, is not “upscale.” The liquidator’s recommendation was to box up everything and sell it along with another sale in a ritzier neighborhood, where it will draw a bigger crowd and command a better price. Sounds good to us!
    (3) She sold two of the items over the phone to dealers while we were there: my 4 mid century modern dining chairs and the Jewel Tea china. That will be commissioned at 35% and we’ll get a check right away.

    We’ll be clearing any last stuff we need/want out of the house and then they will swoop in. ill keep you all posted.

  • #221552

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Sounds as if it will be well organised and quick. Plus, like you say, she has more contacts in the business and more selling experience which should improve the chance of items going at a reasonable price. It must be helpful to have some-one else dealing with MIL’s stuff as well.

  • #221564

    Swede
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    @SIT – Sounds like it will be worth it not only for the possibility of higher prices and all their knowledge, but also for not having to deal with the whole hassle of it! πŸ™‚ I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes well.

  • #221580

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    I can’t believe that we have a check for $845 on the way already! The estate liquidator called. My 4 mid-century modern side chairs sold for $300 and another dealer bought ALL of the MIL’s remaining jewelry for $1,000. The jewelry came as a shock — we had already stripped the pile of all the silver and gold and sold it to a jeweler, and picked trough to take what we wanted, so all that was left was costume jewelry. That’s probably as much as we would have made in total if we had tried to hold the sale ourselves. We are very happy!

  • #221581

    Netleigh
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    SIT, That’s amazing about the jewelery, I hope they make similarly good deals on other things.

  • #221584

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    SIT, What good news!

  • #221588

    rutheverhart
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Susan, that’s fabulous! And how great to get a good price on those chairs!

  • #222628

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Hi all,
    I’m travelling cross-country tomorrow to visit my mother at her overstuffed house, with a view to perhaps clearing the tiniest amount of space there. Boy, I am not looking forward to it, it’s going to be freezing because the heating in the kitchen is broken, you have to walk sideways at a snail’s pace in most rooms, you have to constantly rearrange about 10 decorative bits of lace, head-rests, throws and arm covers on the sofa everytime you get up from sitting there and then you have to continually rearrange piles of junk (I’ll be polite!) that have fallen over everytime you walk past them. Sorry, it’s a bit of a rant, just hoping that any of you can give me a bit of cheer-leading support to keep me going (or a kick up the behind if that’s your opinion!)

  • #222692

    Rosa
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    All cheers, no kicks! Just remember: it’s her house. If you can’t accomplish what you’re trying to do, just go home and enjoy your house that’s not like hers (and if it gets like hers, start undoing it!)

    Seriously: nothing but sympathy over here.

  • #222701

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Thank-you Rosa, just about to head off on the journey there now. It’s just very hard work especially with 2 kids in tow!! We’ll see how it goes, hopefully a little bit of progress will be made!

  • #222704

    djk
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Clutterbug, thinking of you and sending you strength and long slow deep breaths. Be calm, and relaxed. In a situation like you are describing, the merest hint of improvement is a great success.

    It is such a loving and compassionate act to help your mother. I hope she is able to feel that love and be open to the assistance.

  • #223100

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    @ djk, Thank-you so much for your lovely words, they are really appreciated. I’ve been off-line for the past few days whilst helping my mum which is why I haven’t repiled earlier and am back home now.

    It’s been tiring, I’ve been trying to clear out a conservatory which is not only used as a store for junk and so is not being used as a useful living space but is also leaking and letting in the rain and is full of stuff that has become mould ridden. Added to which, years of water running in has made the floor water-logged and it is disintegrating below your feet, literally. The floor surface is lagging more than a foot in some areas, I don’t think it has been concreted and so the wooden beams are just rotting away. This is all due to a bodge-job being done when it was built and now we’re dealing with the consequences.

    Got rid of bags and bags of newspaper cuttings, about a dozen mouldy books into the rubbish, another dozen into recycling and about another 20 odd can be taken to the book bank at the supermarket (I’ve put them in bags, hope mum does this).
    Chucked a lovely, large chinese wool carpet into the bin that has disintegrated due to water damage. Covered a sofa and the remaining bits of half-ruined cupboards with plastic sheeting, whether this will be of any use, I don’t know.

    Also got rid of nearly 20 bottles of wine that have gone off from being too old, I certainly didn’t get through that many myself!!

    All frustrating and tiring, there were times that I felt like I just wasn’t going to carry on with this, it all just seems so futile. There is so much STUFF,
    the vast majority unused and multiple duplicates and there is only me to deal with it, although some of my family who live nearer have helped a bit. The first thing dh said when we drove away was that that house is a mill-stone, he has summed it all up in one phrase.

  • #223101

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    @clutterbug – What a difficult couple of days. It may feel futile, but from your post I can tell you got a MASSIVE amount accomplished – and because of the mold and such, this is really a health issue, and you made critical improvements. I hope your mom was able to accept getting rid of the things without too much difficulty – possibly the fact lots of things were damaged or moldy actually helped in getting rid of them?

  • #223102

    clutterbug22
    Member

    Helping an Elderly Person Declutter

    Thanks sleepykitten! Yes, it did help that much of it was water-damaged, at least I didn’t have to make any decisions over the bad stuff except chuck it out! I think my mum knows that stuff has to go, which is good, I think the problem is that she has SO much stuff which is new and unused, even I would have problems with that, it represents so much money wasted especially when she really could do with some money as well. She did go through a lot of bags and damp boxes of papers which I was quite impressed with, we all know how we hate the Paper Monster!

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