I know, you think I’ve lost my mind. Why would your children want to do that? After all, they are often so wrapped up in their own lives, why would they want to help you? I’ve heard so many stories about children, both those still living at home and those who have moved out, who are described as a challenge for parents in their clutter clearing efforts. They either create more clutter than they every clear out, have left behind many personal items in a state of utter chaos, or have left personal items until they are settled into a home that can accommodate them and then drag their heels about claiming them upon their parent’s request.
This week I heard a story that blew my socks off. One of my clients who has struggled with clutter forever sent her children an email to inform them that she’d decided to take steps to address her clutter challenges by hiring me to help her. In the letter she shared her excitement about the process and asked for their help. She asked them to come by and make decisions about items that might be important to them.
Within days two of her sons came by and got to work. Following a family vacation her daughter returned home and worked with her mother to make decisions about family games, family toys and things that belonged to her. The daughter’s presence really helped my client focus on clearing out some of her own papers. And, one son called on the spur of the moment one day and said, “Mom, would it be OK for me to come by today to go through some of my things? I don’t want to hold you back.”
I’ve been doing this work for over eleven years, and I can honestly say I have NEVER heard a child, much less a male child, offer to clear out their belongings because they wanted to help their parent. Never! I was blown away! And, I was impressed at the love that those children expressed for their mother when she asked for their help with a task that can be difficult and unpleasant. They all showed up without coercion. In fact, they rallied around her. What a refreshing change!
So, if you want to express your love for your mother, lighten her load by clearing your clutter, especially when she asks for help. By the way, doing that is VERY different from forcing your mother to get help when she’s not ready for it. That’s the subject for another blog article!