Clearing Clutter: Only Keep Parents’ Belongings That You Love

I love this glass bottle. It was in my mother’s home for as long as I can IMG_3750remember. It is one item I chose to keep when clearing items from Mom’s apartment in an attempt to create a simpler, safer environment.

I’ve been clearing out my mother’s belongings since the day she went into assisted living in 2013. First I cleared out her house to prepare it for sale. Over the last two years I’ve taken clothing items from her apartment that she no longer uses or is not likely to use given her changing needs due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s.

More recently in her Alzheimer’s-induced agitation Mom began to pull things from drawers and closets and cabinets, creating visual chaos and obstacles that increased her fall risk. To help calm Mom and eliminate the volume of items that she could move around, I began clearing decorative items, photos, cards plus more clothing in an attempt to simplify her living space.

Each time I take a bag out of Mom’s apartment I sort the items into: trash, donate, give to another family member, and keep for myself. The items I choose for myself have to be “love it” items or items I will use.

The purple vase is a “love it” item. I love the color. I love the quality of the glass. I love the shape. I love that it’s small and fits nicely into our small house. I especially love it because it was Mom’s treasure, a permanent fixture in her home. It holds in place her energy and her love of beautiful colored glass items. When I look at it, I think of Mom and her love for me. Her treasure has become my treasure.

There were many other glass bottles in Mom’s collection. I kept only two. I kept the two that I loved most for their aesthetic qualities. Both hold Mom’s memory and love in place.

When doing the sad task of dismantling a parent’s home, instead of keeping boxes of items to go through at a later date, look for items that you love. Keep those and let go of the rest. Keep items that you love for their aesthetics, the memories they hold in place, and for their association with your parent. 

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