Don’t Wait to Declutter: The Time is Now


I’ve written about this several times, initially from a style/trend perspective and then, much more importantly, to share the lessons I learned from moving my mother into a nursing home (she has since passed away).

  • My mother and stepfather lived on the second floor of a 3-story apartment building, without an elevator.
  • Every year, for at least ten years, my mother would tell me they wanted to sell their apartment and move into an assisted living facility. They even had me visit several with them.

The holdup: what to do with all the stuff they had in the attic and in the basement? Two household’s worth of junk.

  • Ultimately time moved on.
  • They became increasingly paralyzed by their junk and eventually became too old and disabled to make any decisions about what kind of home they should move to.
  • They ended up installing an elevator in their building so that he could get up and down the stairs
  • Herbert passed away. My mom was diagnosed with alzheimer’s.

Finally: a beautiful nursing home. Her guardian and I moved her into a top-notch nursing home that she could have been enjoying for years before she had alzheimer’s.

  • When we took her to her suite at the nursing home she could not believe how gorgeous her light-filled bedroom was with its view over the historic village square.
  • Definitely a step-up from her dark, cluttered apartment.

It kills me that the last years of her life were literally stolen from her by “stuff” that she couldn’t force herself to toss.

  • After she was moved into the home and had settled in for a few months, the guardian arranged to sell her apartment and all that stuff and clutter that had so paralyzed them, was picked up by a dump truck.

I’ve always been anti-clutter but that experience was so powerful for me that it motivated me to double down on my declutter schedule: room by room, once a year.

  • Don’t hold on to anything that you no longer use, wear, need. And believe me, your kids are in all likelihood not going to want it either.
  • Time sneaks up on all of us and you don’t want to suddenly figure out how to deal with closets filled with junk, storage units filled to the brim, basements and garages filled with items you’ve not looked at in years.
  • Make a schedule for yourself – or hire someone – but don’t let it get out of hand.
  • Don’t ever let your “stuff” define you or impede any important moves you need to make.

Read on below for a very interesting article on how millennials don’t want their parents old furniture and what’s happened to the antique market as a result.

Per David Lackey, an appraiser on the PBS series “Antiques Roadshow:”

  • Traditional English and American furniture, has fallen 50%-75%
  • Art Market Research reports a 40% drop in the value of English antique furniture in the past decade.
  • There are half as many antique fairs as there were 20 years ago.
  • The younger generation is not interested in formal candlelight suppers. They don’t want silver, china, crystal, because they don’t intend to entertain that way.

Link to full article from here.


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