Start downsizing, within your home, as soon as your can.

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I am watching what my boss is going through right now, his wife passed on a few weeks ago [14 yrs Alzheimer's] and he had to sell his beautiful home and find an apartment/condo rental to move into.... it has been a mad scramble because he sold his home within a week.

If only he would have started downsizing last year knowing that this would eventually happen. He's overwhelmed and said he's on a verge of a nervous breakdown. Way too much paper work to sort through on such a tight squeeze, so those boxes will find their way to his business office.

Everything that was once part of his life most will need to be sold or donated or tossed out. To wipe that much history out in just a few weeks is too much. If done slowly it is easier to deal with.

Glad I started shredding my own paperwork at my house. Like why on earth do I need Federal income tax forms going back 30 years? Keep 7 years and let the rest go. I have old stamp books and old coin books that I will send to my sig other's two grandchildren for them to take up a new hobby.


ive cleaned up a deceased's crapfest 3 times in my life . wont be doing it to someone else. i have two spoons , the boys should be able to divide at least that well .
Get an industrial size dumpster and start chucking it all in there. At mom's we filled a 14 cu. yd. container TWICE.
Pam, my boss is having the vast majority of his furniture, art work, etc. boxed up and it will be sold at auction, he will get half of the sale.... his stuff is too good to throw out, but I can understand there are homes where there isn't anything worth donating, or just way too much to deal with.

He would have wished his 6 children and the grand-children would have wanted some of the furniture, but at their ages they already have furnished homes. It's not like years ago when a newly married couple would be thrilled to get the grandparent's furniture :)
I firmly believe that for everything there is a season. It is not quite my downsizing season yet, but I see it coming. Enjoy and cherish your possessions while you can. Isn't that what you acquired them for? And divest yourself of them when you are ready to. At least that is my plan.

I saw a beloved aunt start this process in (I think) her 80s. Each time I visited her house appeared less full. One time the dining room table was covered with oilcloth because the lace tablecloth that had been on it for years had been given to her daughter. Next the upstairs hallway was minus a book case. The books went to the local library and the case went to the only son who wanted it. And on and on. She was a great role model. But I'm not in my 80s yet. :)

Captian, my poor kids will have at least 52 spoons to deal with -- having a large family I have a lot of silverware. I won't care if they throw them in a dumpster or someone wants them for family parties. I've gotten (and still am getting) my use out of them. (I really dislike plastic forks and knives for anything but a picnic.)

I'm not ready to start downsizing to save my children trouble when I'm gone. (If I go suddenly, they can work off their grief sorting through my stuff.) But I really do need to declutter, especially the paperwork, for my own mental health.

For everything there is a season. Don't rush it -- but just don't fail to recognize your own downsizing season.
I want to comment on one more thing. "If only he would have started downsizing last year ..." I have berated myself with that kind of "if only" many, many times. I am trying to cure myself of that bad habit. "If only I had done more of the prep work for this party last week!" but I've learned to give that a hard look. "Oh? And which part of last week was less busy than this week? You did what you could when you could." "If only I'd sorted this paperwork out when I got it!" "And what, my dear, was your mental state when you got it? Could you really have dealt with it then? At least now the emotional impact is stale." And so on.

We do what we can when we can. Sure, some of us really need to change some habits and plan ahead a little better. But life is what it is and all the "If onlys" in the world will not change it.

Maybe your boss could have dealt with it a little better if he'd had a year to do it gradually. Or maybe having to do it under a deadline is really the least painful way. Who knows? Spending the final year of your caregiving journey, the final year of your marriage, sorting through material things may or may not have been the best use of his time.

Just sayin' ...
jeannegibbs, you made some good points. Maybe being under the gun was the best way for my boss to make things happen.
My mother has been in the NH for 2 years. Her house sits just as it did the day she left it. Her van is there, her RV is full of stuff, as is the Airstream. I live in AZ and my sister is 76 and lives in WY. The house is in IL. All I will be able to do, is grab the family items and dump most of the rest.

We took some of my MILs items, but at 60, we need nothing. There would be no way to transport it, if we did.
Hmm, a friend of mine wants to start a business to go in and downsize homes for people. Maybe she's on to something. Would you all pay someone to do that for you? Do you think people, such as the boss discussed here would be willing to hire an outside person?
wordy, I know of professional organizers who can be so helpful. Even if they don't have expertise appraising items, they make the work go so much more smoothly. And having someone not emotionally tied to the task can help too.
I think you have a good point, I know I have a lot of stuff like paperwork,toys, and clothes. Im in my 30's but Im tired of all the stuff. Simple for now and the future for me. I agree if its not memories or needed toss it! Every one has good points too! Good luck with all on de -cluttering when the time comes.

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