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Old 10-06-22, 09:00 PM  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Georgia
Sugar Rose, what is your older relatives goal of this house cleaning? Is she moving or does she just need less clutter so she functions better in the house she is in. Is the change her idea or someone else's?

If she is moving somewhere smaller you can try to approach the task by having her identify her most charished belongings - favorite chair, bric-a-brac and clothing. Reinforcing that not everything will fit in the new home.

If you are trying to help her reduce clutter then organizing shelves and boxing up extras to be stored in a closet may be easier than facing letting go of stuff. Some elders feel so much stress in this process that sometimes its better to let them be and when the time comes to move them you take care of it then.

Their stuff represents their life to them. Good Luck! I know it is hard.
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Old 10-07-22, 07:01 PM  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: S. Illinois
My siblings and I are in the (slow) process of clearing out our parents' house, so I understand how difficult it can be. Deciding what to keep for its usefulness or monetary value versus what to keep (or let go of) that has sentimental value has been difficult for us (for some of us more than others!). We've been taking a categorical approach. We did dishes and kitchenware and recipes before my mom even died. (Dad died last year and Mom died this year.) Another day, we went through my mom's clothes. (Dad's clothes were dealt with last year.) Another day we went through holiday decorations and her sewing and crafts stuff. Another day, it was books, games, puzzles, etc. We've still got a bunch of categories of stuff to go through.

Be patient. This may be a long process.

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Old 10-08-22, 01:13 PM  
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Sugar Rose, it's very nice of you to help your relative to clear out her house.

I went through the same experience with an elderly relative. Getting rid of things made him so upset that I ended up waiting until he was out of town for a few days, and then got rid of all of the junk and clutter. When he came back, he liked that his place was so clean and organized. He never missed a single thing that I got rid of.

Now if I could just get rid of my own junk and clutter!
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Old 10-09-22, 10:11 PM  
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Modify City, State of Fierce
From Camember in VF Tapatalk group

Camember has tried unsuccessfully to join VF. She asked to have her response posted. I'm happy to oblige...

Hi, Sugar Rose! I'm Camember in VF, but I don't have writing permission yet in the forums. I've written this in Tapatalk VF Group.

I don't know if I can be of help, but I will try.

There are some principles that I follow whenever I try to declutter my home or help a friend declutter theirs.

1) Have I used it in the last year?
2) Do I really like it?
3) Do I really need it?
4) Have I got more units of it than necessary?
5) Does it have sentimental value?
6) Will it be expensive to repurchase if I throw it away?

More or less, that's it.
With clothes, for example, I write in a notebook a list of how many units of every item (trousers, bags, pullovers...) I need. I take all clothes out of the wardrobe and classify them by category.

After that, I note down in my list my favourites, and return them to my wardrobe. I discard those that have lived better days. From the rest, I see those that I like most to keep and donate the rest. One idea, being for another person, is to tell them how many of each they really need and help that person chose the ones they really want to keep. If they're unable to do so for themselves, as there are people that really suffer when confronted with the idea of throwing things away, I will ask simply for those clothes that are of really sentimental value to keep them and scan the rest to keep rhe best of them up to the number of pieces necessary.
With books I do really have a hoarding problem. Nowadays I oblige myself to discard every book that I read and don't like or that are so so, and keep my favorites. As I do not want to donate unread books (if I've purchased it, I have to read it), I pick one and, if in 14 days I haven't made rhe effort of finishing it, I donate it. Longer books, like Gone with the wind' s, length, are granted 30 days instead. It is a veeeery slow process, but it is the only one I can follow with books.

Decluttering, cleaning and rearanging a hoarded house is overwhelming. One does not know where to start. Or how.
Marie Kondo suggests an all or nothing approach. You have to declutter by categories and do them one by one, no matter how long they take, till you complete it.

Flylady and Azucena Caballero suggest a 15 minute declutter by zones. For example, week one can be rhe kitchen. You will declutter 15 minutes every day that week the kitchen. Next week, there's another room to follow. I tend to prefer to declutter 15 minutes everyday, it is rhe method I follow, but I don't change room weekly. I keep in the same room till I finish wirh it.

A year ago I was overwhelmed with boxes everywhere (I moved from a new flat after it started raining INSIDE my previous one. It was an emergency to move and move fast). I didn't know where to start, I couldn't even walk to rhe window of my living room, full of boxes, bags and piles of books and random miscellanea. I decided to pick up clothes and the things that were impossible to live without. But the rest of millionscof things were there, and I was so afraid of starting that for a few weeks I was unable to do so, even being some kind of cleaning freak as I am. But the task was so daunting...

I promised myself to declutter and put everything in its new place, just 15 minutes everyday. If I did 15 minutes of decluttering, I considered the work of the day done. If I wanted to do another 15, I did them, and added more blocks of 15 minutes till I was tired. But if I only did 15 minutes, the objective for the day was achieved.

It took me some time to finish it, but as every single day I saw a little progress, and 15 minutes had no dread factor, my levels of anxiety with the process were reduced.

Regarding the issue of where to start, I will link Marie Kondo's suggested order in a screen capture. I don't like her method but cannot deny that is good.

This web has a 365 day decluttering plan. I haven't followed it yet, but it is very good, as it tells you exactly where to start and what to do everyday:https://www.home-storage-solutions-1...declutter.html

On the other hand, Karyn L. Beach suggests this order cleaning, decluttering and reordering everything listed: fridge, pantry, cupboard under sink, Tupperware, junk drawers, medicines, make up and self care products, nightstand, clothes wardrobes, clothes drawers, top of cupboards and wardrobes, shoes, papers, desk, filing documents... It's only a start, but not a bad one.

The Slob Sisters' books are very dated, but very funny and full of useful info as well.

People that accumulate a lot tend to be sensitive about their possessions. It is going to be a veey hard task, but if this person sees that they're not going to lose s lot of things everyday, just a few, and rearrange the rest, may be relieved of the stress it produces to lose things.
I don't know if anything I've written can be of help. I hope so.

Edit : the image I was to add was impossible to read. But Marie Kondo's order of decluttering can be found in Google
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Old 10-10-22, 01:30 AM  
Join Date: Aug 2011
Does she want to clear her house? I tried helping my parent with clutter and it took weeks to clear a corner of a room. I had to walk on eggshells and every step of the way elicited an emotional response from my parent while I tried to be compassionate yet encouraging to let some things go. I finally realized I was wasting my time. The first sign I knew she wasnt ready was she wasnt physically putting anythiing in the donation boxes. I had to do it. If they arent ready to try, then anything removed will likely be replaced with newly purchased things very soon to fill the empty spot, which happened in my case.

Sometimes professional psychological services are needed long before the cluttered belongings can be addressed.
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Old 10-11-22, 01:08 PM  
Join Date: Oct 2004
I'm not the OP, but still want to thank those who've contributed ideas. Big thanks to Linda for sharing Camember's post here. (waves to Camember ) I like the 365 15 minutes a day plan and will share that with my MIL who's a bit of a .... uh... hoarder. She and her SIL have been cleaning up little by little but I don't know how well it's working. Also, my MIL has health issues and spends so much time and effort trying to get an area taken care of, but the next day she's exhausted, so 15 minutes at a time seems doable. I'm not much of a hoarder or collector, I hate *stuff* but I've been inspired to get things in order so I've been moving things out of the guest closet that shouldn't be in there and donating/tossing/making room elsewhere.

Thanks for starting this thread, sugar rose, and I hope you can put some of these ideas to use.
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Old 10-11-22, 01:16 PM  
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Camember and fanofladyvols, thanks for that great bit of wisdom. Having lived in the same house with a bit of a hoarder husband, and thinking about saddling my kids with all of this stuff (or not), I like the way it's boiled down to something I can (probably) do. Fifteen minutes a day!
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Old 10-11-22, 01:24 PM  
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we have a great decluttering check-in with lots of posts. please join us!

2022 Decluttering Support and Motivation

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Old 10-12-22, 07:43 PM  
sugar rose
Join Date: Apr 2014
Many thanks to everyone who took the time, energy and organizational wherewithal to answer and share your ideas and experiences.

mimikz, thanks for your kind words of hope.

Dena, thanks for your kind & caring ideas, I love the idea of calming music and tea.

Annette, you have an intense leadership style! (I mean that in a good way...)

toaster, thank you, I will look into this.

bzar, thank you for sharing your personal experience about your dear dad. So interesting that he repaired musical instruments. I'm sorry for your loss.

kat999 - thanks for sharing. Between you and your husband, which one of you has more tolerance for clutter? How do you differ in your ideas of what constitutes clutter?

Karla25 - thanks for your helpful ideas & good wishes.

hdw - I thought it was very astute of you to make this point, which seems so obvious to me, but I never hear anyone say it. You summarized this perfectly. You're right, you are what you experience. (& it seems most of the books promoting minimalism are written by people with comfortable incomes. So if they get rid of something and need it later on, it's not painful for them to buy it again.)

Carly, you asked what her goal is - she doesn't have a move coming up but wants to be able to function better with less clutter, and she has tried to make some inroads on her own, with limited success. I like your ideas - yes, their stuff represents their life to them.

Donna, thanks for sharing your experience. I'm sorry for the loss of your parents.

FitBoop - that story had a happy ending! (I've always heard the opposite - people say, "Don't try to get rid of things behind the person's back, because it will be too traumatic and cause the person to start accumulating things again.") I'm glad it worked out well in your elderly relative's case! So even though getting rid of things made him upset, did he really not miss anything that you got rid of? But wait a second, how were you able to make decisions about individual items without his being there so you could ask him what he wanted? This is part of what I struggle with.

fanofladyvols - Many thanks for posting the long post by Camember.

Camember - I adored all the nuts and bolts detail in your post - so great! It was really helpful to read all of the steps you followed and all of your personal experiences. Especially about books. I drank in every detail (kind of like the way Virginia Woolf wanted all of the details...)

jusca - Yes, she wants to clear things out and has tried many times on her own without success, so she thinks it's an intractable problem. And it is, because of the psychological aspect that you mentioned. It is a psychological illness. Also - I was sad to read your story about the difficulties your parent had - I hope she can start to feel better about letting things go...

CharM - I'm sorry that your MIL has health problems; that makes things so much harder. Sending blessings and prayers her way. You're lucky to have that non-collector personality type.

bee - Yes, it's disquieting to think of dying and leaving so much stuff behind...

Thanks again to everyone for your thoughtful and helpful replies. Blessings to all of you.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

William Shakespeare, Hamlet
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Old 10-15-22, 03:55 PM  
sugar rose
Join Date: Apr 2014
I am bumping this thread to give people a chance to read my Oct. 12 post with my thanks, feedback, questions and comments. Many thanks to everyone who was kind enough to reply.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

William Shakespeare, Hamlet
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