The Emotional Side of De-Cluttering

Last week on this blog our Director of Housekeeping, Joe Warner shared tips to help a Columbus area family who is helping a senior loved one de-clutter her home. We focused on how to get started and shared tips for making the process go more smoothly.

This week we tackle the emotional side of downsizing.

Listening and Sharing Memories as You De-Clutter a Senior’s Home

Dear Marci:

Joe asked me to share a few suggestions to help you, your mom and your brother as you work your way through her house. I know it can be a tough time, especially because of your father’s passing.

The first reminder we always share with families is that what looks like clutter or “junk” to you, might really be something has special meaning to your mother. An old movie ticket stub might be to her first date with your father. A worn out map could be from the first family vacation you all went on.

As you work your way through each drawer or closet, give your mom time to share the history and meaning behind her treasures. Encourage her to share their stories and take time to really listen to them. You might even want to video some of the conversations you have together so you can maintain precious family history.

Also give some thought to how you can preserve some of the items your mother cherishes most. You might want to create a memory box or two with smaller memorabilia that she can hang on the wall. Or you could put together a few scrapbooks she will be able to look through and enjoy for years to come.

If you aren’t quite sure how to save and store older photos, papers and cards, the National Archives has great resources to help on their website. You can review it to learn more about everything from preserving old letters to repair old photos.

I hope this helps you and your family find ways to enjoy what can sometimes be a difficult time.

Best Regards,

Jennifer Romeo