FIRST OF THREE PARTS
Organizing is hard work. But it gets even harder when there is death in the mix.
In October of last year my mother died in her home, on her couch asleep, the way most of us want to go. She was 87 and left me a home filled to the brim with stuff. She was a young girl during the depression and living though that made her keep things I would toss.
This lead to me organizing at a young age.—when my mother would travel for her job I would stay home with my father and organize the bathrooms and bookcases. “ I only tossed things in the bathroom drawers that had dust on them” was the excuse I used when my mother would ask.
My mother was one of those very fashionable women: Gloves that matched purses that matched shoes that matched the rest of the outfit. For Christmas dinner she was always in red and for Halloween was in black and orange. She could have been on Bravo’s housewives but my father died in 1976 which took our family into a dark and sad place for a time but slowly we emerged understanding each other. I would ask if I could organize something and she would say yes. But in the last years of her life, when I asked she would say—wait until I die. So when the end was in site, I started going through mom’s stuff and selling lots of items to pay for her health care. Then, she died. It was so easy to sell her stuff before she died—and then I hit a wall. This is the wall I help my clients climb and I knew I would have to hire a professional organizer to help me.
I could have hired someone to run an estate sale-but it would have been too easy to hand over the reins of my mother’s life. I had to do it. I promised her I would. So for the past few months, one of my best friend and her daughter have been my life line to organizing.
It’s still hard. But I have a terrific network of friends. Anne, the mother of a future professional organizer Lia and her boyfriend John who is great with electronics and the heavy lifting part of organizing.
When someone close to you dies, you need to grab your friends and ask them for help. These are the ones you will rely on and who will help you get through all of your parents clutter.
Have an Organized Day!