Understanding why overwhelmed Seniors and elderly relatives are disorganised or surrounded by clutter.

A few months back a client, John, called to ask for assistance with his elderly mom. He was moving her to a lovely studio flat in a retirement home. I visited them both in her home to organise the downsizing process.

Every surface, every corner, every cupboard was jam packed with a lifetime’s accumulation of stuff. It was difficult to negotiate the spaces and even harder to see what we would be dealing with.

We cleared and sorted for days. Furniture and prized possessions were redistributed among family and friends. A huge amount was donated to her favourite charities, and quite a lot was simply recycled or tossed.

John was taken aback at how disorganised his mom was, how much stuff there was and how difficult it was for her to let go once we started the process. But his mom is not unique! We see this time and again when assisting Seniors with a move or simple declutter.

It’s important for the family to understand why their overwhelmed parents or elderly relatives are disorganised or surrounded by clutter. Here are 6 reasons to consider:

  • Seniors invariably do not move often, and so there is usually alifetime’s accumulation of memories and possessions.
  • They worry about memory loss, and feel that having things around them will remind them of the happy times associated with the items.
  • Often Seniors have physical limitations. They might tire easily. They might struggle to move furniture or reach high shelves.
  • They more than likely grew up in a time where saving and holding onto things washow they managed. Things were kept “just in case”. Items were fixed, rather than discarded.
  • Seniors are living for longer, and there could be a fear they will run out of money.And so they hold onto things that could possibly be used at some point.
  • They may not know where to donate items they no longer want.

John’s mom is happily settled in her new downsized home. She has a few key treasures, her favourite artwork and her special armchair. We took a lot of digital photos of memorable items that she let go, which were downloaded onto a digital frame for her.

She has everything she needs and everything she holds dear, without all the stuff!

His mom was overwhelmed and emotional at the thought of downsizing and letting go most of her possessions

For more see the following article by Alejandra Roca: The Senior’s Guide for Decluttering and Feeling at Home

 

Published in News
  • “I don’t know where to start organising!”
  • “I don’t have the time to declutter!”
  • “I take one look at the mess and give up!”

Comments I hear over and over again, when talking to people about decluttering and organising. And thinking about clearing out the chaotic garage, the guest room filled with junk or a playroom overflowing with toys can be overwhelming. ..

So don’t try and tackle it all at once!  Start small, start with five minutes, take one box, one drawer, one counter and sort that. Then take another five minutes tomorrow. And five minutes the next day. Before you know it, you’ll see the difference. You’ll love the clear counter, the organised drawer, the uncluttered bookshelf!

Here are six quick decluttering projects to get you going:

  1. Clear one space. This is your no-clutter zone. It can be a counter, your kitchen table, or the area inside your front door. Wherever you start, make a rule: nothing can be placed there that doesnt belong there. Once you have that clutter-free zone, keep it that way!
  2. Clear off a counter. Clear everything off the counter, and only put back one or two essential items. Touch everything else and decide if it needs to stay and if it does find a home for it. Everything else goes out to recycling, charities, or returned to rightful owners!
  3. Pick a shelf. Now that you’ve done a counter, try a shelf. It doesn’t matter what shelf. Could be a shelf in a closet, or on a bookshelf. Don’t tackle the whole bookshelf or cupboard — just one shelf. Tomorrow you can start on another shelf!
  4. Pick up 5 things, and find places for them. Easy peasy! Start with things you can see, and think about where it belongs, and where you would look for it. NOW put it away.
  5. Pull out some clothes you don’t wear. As you’re getting ready for work, and going through your closet for something to wear, spend a few minutes pulling out ones you haven’t worn in a long time. Let them go.
  6. Clear out your medicine cabinet. Go through all your medical supplies and medicines. Get rid of all out dated medicines, stuff you’ll never use again, dirty-looking bandages, the creams and ointments that you had forgotten. Now find one spot for all things medical..
    Learn to love the uncluttered look. Once you have decluttered a space, enjoy it! Get used to the light, airy feel of an uncluttered space. Learn to hate clutter! 

LOVE the space!

Published in Organizing
Thursday, 13 October 2016 07:25

When Collections Become Clutter

The All Sorted team recently packed up for a client who had lived in her home for 35 years. Lots of treasures, but also lots and lots of stuff. And every single surface (and I mean EVERY surface!) had at least one frog. Ceramic frogs, glass frogs, pottery frogs, wooden frogs, paper mache frogs, all kinds of frogs…they were everywhere!

I chatted to her about her collection and how it came about. It turns out she had never meant to collect frogs at all. Her first frog was a glass ornament that she liked. A while later she bought another frog, a friend bought her a frog, and then it snowballed from there. Friends and family bought her frogs for special occasions and so the collection grew. Over the years she acquired nearly 300 frogs!

Published in Organizing
Thursday, 15 September 2016 07:56

Clutter Caused by Guilt & Nostalgia

Let go of clutter caused by guilt and nostalgia

Last week we helped a client clear out a room full of stuff, so that she could have a space for her painting and photography. She mentioned she had not been in the room for ages, and did not have a clue what was in the room.

We cleared the room, sorted everything into categories and then called our client to come and make decisions.

This is where it gets interesting! Most of what was there either belonged to other members of the family (grown up children, and parents who had died) or stuff from the children’s school years long past. Tons of stuff.

Published in Organizing
Thursday, 14 January 2016 05:57

Gooi Dit Weg!

Meer as net ‘n ‘spring clean’ is nodig om iemand te help wat goed opgaar en niks weggooi nie.

Artikel in Kuier, deur Saafia February

Kuier Jan 2012 Chronic hoarding

 

Published in News

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Telephone: +27 (0)82 926 3531
Email: judith@allsortednow.co.za 

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