If you thought cleaning out your kids’ rooms was bad, cleaning out your parent’s home takes things to a new level. Because your parent has been around for many decades, they’ve had time to accumulate massive amounts of “stuff.” What many people find when they go to clean out Mom’s or Dad’s house is that they are quickly met with objection. What may be stuff to you is important pieces of the past to your parent.

Why Decluttering is Important

It’s important to declutter your parent’s home for a number of reasons. First, it helps you, your parent’s caregiver and your parent have a better sense of control. Having a neat and organized system in the home can also reduce stress and anxiety.

Second, cleaning out your parent’s home will have to be done eventually, so now is as good as time as any to sort through things and have your parent tell you what’s worth keeping, who to pass things down to and more.

Finally, it’s smart to make sure that expensive things like jewelry and coins are accounted for in your parent’s insurance policy and will. If something happened to them tomorrow, would the right heirlooms be going to the right people?

Tips for Hassle-Free Decluttering

Let’s go over a few tips for making a decluttering session at your parent’s home as successful and stress free as possible.

  • Make a game plan. You likely won’t be able to do everything in one day. Create a list with all the areas in the home that need decluttering, and tackle smaller projects (closets, dresser drawers, etc.) on days when you have less time.
  • Arrange by bins. Before you get started, set out three containers, bags or bins: keep, donate and trash. This helps you get things into the right places very quickly.
  • Take breaks. Getting rid of things isn’t just physically demanding; it’s emotionally hard. Let your parent take breaks as needed so they can tackle this project with a clear mind.
  • Give gifts. There will probably be things that your parent will want to give to others. Rather than keeping them around, place them into gift bags with the name of the recipient.

Decluttering your parent’s home is a lot of work, but it’s something that you’ll thank yourself for later. Not only can you and your parent benefit today, but you’ll be glad that you had the chance to talk to Mom or Dad about what mementos are important and why.