It’s time for summer projects and your senior loved one’s facing a mountain of clutter. You want to help but you are met with denials that the clutter is that bad or that everything is too important to toss or pass along. Uncontrolled clutter can lead to fall risks, fire hazards and other unsafe conditions.
How do you help your aging parent or other loved one bust the clutter?
Tackle small areas.
Help your loved one clear a small area that tends to catch daily mail, such as the kitchen table or coffee table.
Test the waters.
Does your loved one save pickle jars by the dozens and plastic grocery bags by the hundreds? Simply because they might be needed? Suggest donating a dozen jars to a pre-school asking for project materials and donating twenty plastic bags to the local charity resale shop. Test the reaction and consider making the donations again in a few weeks.
3. Approach safety concerns.
If stacked newspapers are beginning to tumble and slide into walkways, remind your senior that a fall could jeopardize their independence.
. Temporarily box items.
Pack away multiple seldom-used items then store in the garage, basement or attic for the next six months. Then, ask your loved one if any of the items have been missed or if they could be donated to someone who could benefit from the items.
Stay in control.
Remind your senior that they can determine who could benefit from their items by making the decision to gift or pass along. If they delay, someone else may be making those decisions for them.
Fighting clutter a difficult job for most of us and as we age, the ability to make decisions about belongings can become even more difficult. Additional resources for organizing one’s home and belongings may include the National Association of Professional Organizers or the National Association of Senior Move Managers.