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This week I have a conversation with a professional cleaner and home organizer on how to start the process of getting the family home decluttered so our loved one can age in place safely. Facing a lifetime of memories in one household is overwhelming so Patty's tips should come in handy.
Patty suggests that you approach the conversation with grace and understanding. It's also important to forget about the past and focus on right now and moving forward. This process is for the health and safety of aging loved ones which is helpful to keep in mind when emotions start to run high. In our conversation I suggest that you tackle the decluttering process one drawer or cupboard at a time.
START NOW FOR FUTURE PEACE OF MIND
Starting sooner rather than later will allow you to go slowly which should keep the emotions from getting out of control. Patty has suggestions for how to make a suggestion sound like a completely natural thought. One thing we didn't cover is where to start. That's obviously a personal choice, I would start in the room they spend the most time in or a room that presents challenges to their mobility or daily functioning.
A decluttered family home is calming & peaceful, exactly what you want for aging in place.
As you declutter, consider donating as much as possible to women's shelters, charity thrift stores, you can even get creative with some things. I donated a huge bag of old, faded towels to a friend who does cat rescue and she shared many of them with the dog rescue people. She was as thrilled to receive these items as I was to get rid of them.
You can use old CDs as a way to help scare off the birds who eat your garden plants or you can Google what to do with old CDs. You'll find a lot of ways to reuse them in fun and creative ways. Maybe give them to a school with directions for a project, a teacher would love that.
However you go about decluttering the family home remind yourself that the end result is for safety and peace of mind for the entire family. If you have a home that needs decluttering know this; it's a gift to your children and grandchildren not to leave the entire project to them after your gone. Call a professional organizer to help you stay on task. It's hard because we attach so many emotions and memories to items, a neutral person will help you navigate them all.
Useful Links & Information on Decluttering The Family Home
Home Safety Tips for Loved Ones With Alzheimer's
ReniRenaissance Cleaning and Staging Services
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Book)