This summer, I returned to Michigan for 2 weeks for our annual family trip. As I looked around the home that my Mom has lived in for over 39 years, I realized how much a person can accumulate in a lifetime. If you are lucky enough to have living parents and/or grandparents, you likely have a family home filled with stuff too.
Between my husband and I, we have one living parent. If I can offer any advice as a daughter or organizer, take a little bit of time each time you go home to learn your family history. Go through the photos, china, tools and scrapbooks. Find out who the people are, listen to the stories and identify what in the home really has special meaning. Chances are there is a lot of stuff that is only there because no one knew what to do with it!
Here are a few tips for getting through the sentimental clutter:
- Identify what is really sentimental and what is just clutter. Make plans to donate and toss what is simply old junk.
- Make a date and get other siblings involved if possible. You would be surprised what you can accomplish in 3 – 4 hours.
- Sort items for future projects. Containerize all photos and create a pile of items to be repaired or donated.
- Display uncovered treasures where you can enjoy them. Put pencils in sentimental mugs, cotton balls in crystal jars and use your grandma’s china.
- Continue to chip away at the piles of projects whether it is annually or monthly.
- Don’t wait until your relative wants or needs to move to get started.
- Enjoy the time spent going over memories and memoribilia. Your parents or relatives might really appreciate your time, interest and help.