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How to Help Your Parents Clean Out Before You Have to

help your parents clean out

This week I had a gentleman come into our sales trailer in Lowry and tell me that he and his wife were thinking of moving. They have lived in their current home for 48 years. We talked about many things, but a few thoughts struck me so I felt the need to share.

·  He was at least my parent’s age and his kids were in their 40s.

·  He was telling me the kids bedrooms were still intact and they now have grandkids and want to have a room or two for the grandkids to stay.

We lived in our last house for about 15 years, most of my son’s life and for me, it was an emotional move. I can only imagine, that if the adult kids’ rooms are still their rooms, this will be an emotional move for the wife and potentially him. At some point, he mentioned that he just wanted to get a dumpster and throw everything away and start over.

Without going into the details of our conversation it occurred to me:

·  Sometimes we forget to tell our parents it’s okay to let go of our tangible childhood things. In some cases, it would be good to help our parents figure out what is the nice memory and what is junk. It’s okay to let go of the junk. Some parents move on; you know if you need to help your parents clean out. A friend’s mom is in her late 80s and is getting to the point that she is too paranoid to get rid of anything. To start this process and disrupt her everyday life would be a terrible thing to do, so pay attention to your parent.

·  At some point, you, the child, will need to go through everything in your parent’s house. Will you know what and where the treasures are? The cookbook with mom’s handwriting in it, the picture frames dad made mom; or whatever, you and your family have your own narrative. As a parent, I don’t want to hurt my son’s feelings by putting away one of his masterpieces from the 3rd grade.  As a daughter I think, put that thing away.

As winter comes, I encourage you to help your parents clean out and think about a couple things:

·  Before you put anything away for the winter ask yourself and your parents two questions: Are you/they going to use it in the spring? Would you/they take it to a new house? If the answer is no, get rid of it now. This includes clothes, tools, furniture, anything that takes up any space in your/their house or on the property.

·  If you are not good at decluttering it’s good to ask a daughter, son, friend to help you. If they are not any better than you at throwing things away, there are people who do this for a living and can help. I have resources.

Cleaning out is liberating, mentally, physically, and spiritually. You don’t need a dumpster and you don’t need to completely start over, you just need to clear out what isn’t important.

Even if you are not thinking of moving, life and death happen. Help your parents clean out and help yourself, maybe even your sister, brother or a friend.

Will your family know what and where the “important” things are: the papers, the treasures?

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you (or your parents).

Amy Cesario

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