Today we will continue the topic of cleaning and organizing. However, before actual cleaning, let us do some clearing. We cannot clean effectively when so many things are in our way. Let us consult with Mom and Dad and get rid of anything that stands in a way. It should come as no surprise that many Homes of our aging parents are filled with “goodies” they might have collected over the last 50-plus years.
On a personal note, we have to admit that we are no angels ourselves. Our own Homes are overflowing with stuff, and we ourselves are in a process of clearing them.
Over the years we have seen our share of Homes with boxes upon boxes of stuff. Those boxes often block hallways, entry doors, garages, sheds and attics — even emergency exit doors. Those obstructions pose a grave risk of falling or injury to Seniors.
It is important to note that when we say “get rid,” we do not mean trash it. Let us keep in mind that many of our Seniors grew up in tough economic conditions, and they have a difficult time parting with things. However, the key here is utility. It is not so much that they do not want to part with things — they simply hate waste, and they do not want to trash things. They are often happy when someone else is able to utilize their stuff. If Mom and Dad know that their items will be given to a family in need, a family that is struggling to make ends meet and would very much appreciate an item of clothing or a pair of shoes, they would love to see that take place. If Mom or Dad are particularly stubborn, you may have to negotiate a bit more. In addition to the aforementioned safety, mentioning the proverb, ”Cleanliness is next to Godliness” works well and often. If all fails, the economic argument may close that deal. There might be a way to monetize at least some of the “stuff” in one of the following ways:
• yard sale or garage sale
• listing items on eBay or craigslist
• offering the items on consignment to local store
Many items may need preparation for self-administered sale. Yard or garage sales require lots of time to set up. Even items offered to a consignment store need to be refreshed. Clothing may have to be dry-cleaned. Shoes may have to be polished. Household items may have to be cleaned. If the above options do not present sufficient return on investment of time and resources, consider donating the “stuff” to local charity and obtaining a tax-deductible receipt. If Mom and Dad do not need the tax-deductible receipt, someone in the family or neighborhood will. Click on the links below to find a local donation center:
• Salvation Army Donation locations https://satruck.org/DropOff
• Goodwill Store http://www.goodwill.org/locator/
• Local shelters and churches, which often accept clothing donations
We promise you that without all the stuff and boxes blocking the hallways and doors, not only will Mom’s Home be safer and ready for cleaning, but the items will serve a family in need.
With love for the Elderly…
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