Your mom’s home needs decluttering, and she’s ready to get started. While it can seem simple, her emotional attachment to some items may start impacting her willingness to part with many items. If her anxiety is increasing as you start sorting items, how can you help her?
Don’t expect to do everything in one day. Your mom may not have the energy to clean her entire house in one day. Take time and work at her pace. If she can go faster, let her lead the way.
Tackle One Room at a Time
Work through one room at a time. Start with the least cluttered room. Once she sees how good it looks when it’s done, tackle another room. She may want to keep going as she starts seeing exactly what her hard work can lead to.
Sort Into Piles
-Have three piles going. One should be trash or recyclables that your mom doesn’t need. Throw out anything that is trash and put the recyclables in the recycling bin or boxes to bring to a recycling center.
-The second pile should be items that still can be used but aren’t anything she wants to keep. Don’t get rid of those items. Give her a day to see if her feelings change. She may suddenly realize that the old dresser she doesn’t want could be the answer to her need for additional storage in the kitchen.
-Finally, the third pile is for items she knows she has a place for. If it’s an item she wants and has a need for, it shouldn’t be given away or sold.
Bring in an Expert
Hoarding often has psychological roots that require careful management. You can’t force her to part with things if it’s causing her to panic. You may need to bring in an expert to help counsel her as she attempts to part with items.
Listen carefully to what the counselor says. If you’re told to back off or take a break and leave for a while, do so. Also, be ready to abandon the project if it is too much for your mom to manage. Instead, focus on keeping up with the current housework.
Caregivers are key to helping an older parent keep up with housework. The caregivers you hire can vacuum, sweep, or mop floors, do the dishes, and keep up with laundry. The rest of the clutter can be tackled a little bit at a time when your mom is calm and ready to start sorting.