Cleaning up your parents home can be more difficult and exhausting when compared to cleaning your own. For starters, you dont even know how their belongings are organized. This means you have zero idea about the hidden clutter spots in their rooms. And since its their belongings, you may also need a long and serious conversation with them about whether you should keep those rusty old bakeware (even if they dont really bake!).
This can be more problematic if your parents love putting sentimental value on everything they own, whether its broken or not. But even though it is a tough job, someone needs to do it for their sake. Downsizing is vital if you are moving them to a retirement home or just simply making it safe for them. To help you with this exhausting task, here are useful steps that you can follow for cleaning your folks home in a hassle-free manner.
Make sure that your parents are involved. Because of the labor-intensive nature of this task, it is understandable if you feel like moving your folks belongings behind their backs. After all, you are already physically exhausted from lifting boxes of broken Christmas lights. The last thing you want is your parents telling you not to touch their stuff. However, moving their belongings in secret is not a good idea in the long run.
Talking to the whole family about the benefits of downsizing is more effective at preventing emotional flare-ups and internal disputes. Discussing these matters will give all parties a chance to air their concerns and create a plan that suits everyone. Talking face-to-face is highly recommended, but if that is not possible, talk on the phone or through online messenger apps.
The important thing here is that you connect with each other, and to allow your parents to choose the stuff they want to keep to make them feel comfortable with the idea of moving out. Remember many of these items are part of their life stories and not including them would be wrong.
Work slowly. Keep in mind that you should not rush in cleaning your folks home. Even though you are so eager to throw away their junk in just one go, you should give them ample time to sort through the stacks of postcards, fridge magnets, kitchen tools, and other trinkets they have.
The cleaning process should not just take days to complete. It should take around three to four months so that your parents can learn to let go of their belongings. Once you know what they want to leave behind consider an estate sale to sell the items and make some money for the next step.
Organize one room at a time. If you want, you can even start with one drawer at a time, depending on your schedule. The important thing to remember here is that you must focus on cleaning a specific area first before moving on to the next one. This is to ensure that you can separate trash from treasure efficiently.
Respect your parents choices. Sometimes, it can be difficult for a child to understand why his father wants to keep his old golf club, even if he cant play anymore. This just means that the item holds sentimental value, and he should be allowed to keep it. While organizing your folks belongings, you will be making a lot of hard decisions about what to keep or throw away. If they want to keep an item, but you firmly believe it is trash, find another way to store it to reduce their anxiety.