I was touched by how Holly Whiteside dealt with her mother’s treasured possessions after she died of Alzheimer’s. She describes it in The Caregiver’s Compass. Since clutter is a problem to varying degrees for nearly all of us and since the media has also jumped on the bandwagon with shows on and interviews with family members of hoarders, I invited Holly to write a couple articles for The Caregiver’s Voice. In between her two articles, I’ve added my own experience below based on a recent media interview and what has been written in “Where’s my shoes?” My Father’s Walk through Alzheimer’s.
My parents were hoarders…
For four decades they accumulated things in their Wisconsin home until my mother died and we moved my father (diagnosed with dementia and then Alzheimer’s) into our California home.
My mother used to advise:
If someone wants to give you something, say, ‘Yes.’ Later you can decide, ‘No.’
I often wondered about her advice…that was, until I was tasked with getting rid of all her “yeses” because she rarely said, “no.”
- 30 pairs of scissors made in Germany and Italy.
What was she thinking?
- Yards and yards of fabrics from the sixties and seventies.
- $100,000 in US Savings Bonds on a bookshelf in the living room.
This was my father’s doing.
- Old toilet paper that had dried out and felt more like corrugated cardboard.
- Multiple power tools because my father didn’t remember having one; so, he had to buy another.
So that my home remains less cluttered than my parents, I apply the following three tips:
- Say “No” when someone offers me something; unless I need it and am ready to give something else away.
- Don’t hide stuff. Criminals will find our valuables despite how well we hide them. Besides, like my father, I may forget where I hid something.
- Consolidate my library of books and paperwork.
It is painfully slow because I have a strong need to review everything once more. At least, I’m willing to give it away or toss it, afterward!
For more information read:
What do I do with all this STUFF?
What are your experiences with clutter? Please share your experiences below. The best story shared in our comments section by July 27th will be posted to our blog on July 30th. You will also receive an AUTOGRAPHED COPY of “Where’s my shoes?” My Father’s Walk through Alzheimer’s.
Brenda Avadian, MA