We are staying with the parents at the moment, Mum had her hip surgery last week and Dads Alzheimers is progressing rather rapidly at the moment so sadly he’s just not capable of looking after her anymore and really he relies heavily on her in general.
Mum is doing really well, she has minimal pain and seems to be healing well, the trouble is she’s on crutches and Dad has a really bad hand tremor and arthritis so carrying things from A to B is hard and Mum isn’t allowed to bend very far because of the surgery and Dad cant because he isn’t steady enough and he now gets extremely frustrated and has angry outbursts when he cant do things.
So they need me to help them with quite a few things and take them to and from places as Mum can’t drive for 6 weeks and Dad really shouldn’t drive anymore but due to a bearocratic oversight hasn’t had his licence officially pulled yet (this will be quietly discussed with his Dr before I take him to his next appointment) and so he still thinks its ok because he legally can – which is becoming tricky.
The goal is to get Mum as independent as possible as soon as possible while i can still be here as back up because I have to think about my own home and the 4 kids, pets, depressed husband I have temporarily abandoned and am also trying to figure out the logistics of closing down a business and job hunt simultaneously and did I mention the random trigger of unexpectedly having to deal with one of the sexual abuse perpetrators from my past? I might have several people living in my head but sadly we cant physically seperate and do different tasks simultaneously (God that would be handy right now!)
My parents are also… um…. sorry, I’m trying to think of a nice word for “hoarders”. That word isn’t really accurate as they certainly aren’t find your way through the stacks of newspapers and old bandaids style of hoarder, more of the kind Marie Kondo would help out, its just a LOT of STUFF and also a pile of canned goods that Doomsday Preppers would be impressed by.
Now lot’s of people have lots of stuff, and that is fine – if it makes them happy. However “The Junk” is a source of anxiety for my mother, it’s become too overwhelming and frankly now that they are getting older and having health problems, I deem it a safety hazard and it’s time for them to hire a skip and let me help them make some big decisions about what they actually need.
So a big goal of mine was to sort out the two spare rooms, my mothers wardrobe and the kitchen and pantry which are all overflowing and everything inside is completely inaccessible – this isn’t helped by the fact that Dad forgets he has things and buys more of them and Mum cant find or get to things she already has amongst the junk and buys more also.
I have started with the food situation, I wanted to get the multiple large storage tubs which were filled with mostly canned goods, soup mixes etc out of the spare room and condense all food stuffs to strictly the kitchen and spares into the large cupboard in the adjoining laundry so they could actually see everything and access it easily.
This was a tougher feat than I expected, there was just SO MUCH of it. For example, over 50 cans of tuna. The response to my comments on this were “but we like tuna”. I explained that its fine to like tuna but these cans had been inaccessible to them for well over two years and had been slowly building in that room prior to that time, I threw away and entire wheelie bin full of canned goods that were several years past their expiry dates (going back to used by 2004!)
This is Mt Continental: (and then I found another couple of bags full after this pic was taken)
Now once again, it’s great that you like soup, it’s great that you want to have flavour options available, HOWEVER… nobody needs 47 packets of Italian Ministroni, I am pretty sure that the shop doesn’t even have that many on display on their shelves!
So I didn’t take a before photo of the laundry cupboard was just full of junk randomly stuffed in and hiding expired and exploded cans of baked beans (around 32 expired back in 2007).
They didn’t want to me to throw stuff out of course so I filled it up neatly and in used by date order, oldest to the front. This is a work in progress photo as I need to fit more things in here and will pop down to Ikea tomorrow for some suitable storage solutions.
(Mum has since said that she is willing to donate some of the canned good
Tackling the four wardrobes and a chest of drawers full of my mums clothes and shoes will probably be one of the hardest things, after moving all that food out of the “spare” room I managed to weave a path to the wardrobe in the back which had not been opened since roughly 2010.
I have at least managed to get mum to agree to donate those clothes, but only because they are 3 sizes too big for her! I am not even going to attempt to talk to her about her books, she could basically start her own thrift shop/ library at this point!
I should go to sleep, its 1am and I have a chest cold and a lot to do tomorrow.
Do you collect “junk” or are you more of a minimalist?
Do you have any tips for reducing the clutter? Let me know in the comments!