In October of 2011, my mother died. She was 87, and died in her home, on her couch in her sleep. Due to the economy and my mothers constant wish of me moving from my condo to the family homestead-I have decided to rent my condo and move into my mother’s home. But, before that can be done, clutter from my parents life filled the house, so with the help of my friend Anne and her daughter Lia and her boyfriend (for the ucky things such as cleaning the attic and garage) have agreed to lead the way. I, as the organizer needed to hire some one else to get me through all of the decisions I normally would do, but since every decision comes with grief–I needed help. This is part 2 of a three part series on organizing through grief. PART 1
My friends give me certain tasks: go through these photos, separate the red glass from the green glass, go order pizza. They know what to do—sell everything except this-and this—and this and this. Yes, I have become my clients and I am fascinated by my moods as I help my friends de-clutter my mother’s home. There is the mood joy as I realized I am moving from a condo into my dream home to sadness knowing that my mother is dead.
But I have questions, do I keep the newspaper articles my mother was in-what about the photos of people I do not know, as I am the last of my family. What about my mother’s trophy’s? If I box up all of these, then I leave the problem to my cousins who will have the same problem I do now.
No one answers these questions for you and you do not know the answer—but it is the guilt that we anticipate and with that guilt comes regret and that breeds clutter. Will my mother be happy if I keep this? What about my dad—will he be sad if I toss this out? When I have this question, I picture my mother saying –it’s your home—enjoy it. It is mine and I am responsible for it—so it is my opinion and only mine that counts. My opinion says give the memborilia to anyone who asks: your relatives, the clubs the member belonged, and maybe a historical society and make money with the rest.
Sell all you do not love, donate the clothes you can’t sell, and invest the money—in yourself, in your home, in your passions. Keep items you love, what makes a great memory for you and items to give to your friends and family (I used a few as Christmas presents last year.)
This process is hard and crying is encouraged, but also enjoy looking at your family heirlooms and non-treasures in a new way. I will be learning to cook in my new home so my mother’s bake ware will be used again. Some of the furniture I will paint a funky color and use it for storage in my office and some of the furniture I will use just as it was intended and some will be sold.
Have an Organized Day!