Over my professional career I have had the privilege of working with thousands of Seniors in transition that are paralyzed by years of collected “stuff.” It is like the weight of the world is holding them down. The overwhelming task of clearing out their home keeps them from moving forward. We spend a lifetime buying and collecting things to fill our lives with happiness, beauty and comfort; then later we have to get rid of it. We get stymied with years of accumulation and inheritance. It is literally a prison of ribbons. It may be beautiful or meaningful to possess, but it also is suffocating with a weight of responsibility. I am not talking about the hoarding phenomena that we hear about on the news. I’m talking about a lifetime of collected “stuff” that ordinary people like you and I have. What in heaven’s name do you do with your great grandmother’s 150-year-old hope chest, when no one in the family wants it? What about a 50-year collection of dolls? “Stuff” is one of the biggest issues that seniors face.
I’ve been in conversations with Seniors that are begging for a solution. The only advice I can give is what my sisters and I did for our mom. I’m not saying it is easy, but it takes an entire family effort to spend time together going through things. The bottom line is; family will go through it with their parents now or without them later. The first choice is the best one. We laughed, cried and argued our way through boxes and boxes! In the end, Mom had all of her favorite things and the rest was taken care of. The relief for all of us was tangible and Mom felt like she participated in passing on her legacy. If there is not family available, there is an entire industry emerging today of companies that do this work. It still takes the initiative of the individual to make the phone call and start the process. Think of it as liberation from “stuff!”