Every time we have tried to help her clean or organize, my MIL has a major panic attack. She's actually ended up in the ER before. Now we need to downsize her from a 2 bedroom condo to a 1 bedroom apartment at an assisted living facility and she is already freaking out about all the things she'll have to leave behind. I keep telling her that we are going to take as much as we can fit into this apt. She is so attached to EVERYTHING, even things I would consider garbage. Last time I went down to help her out, we cleaned her bathroom which was a disaster area and I told her to just sort out the stuff that was obviously garbage. I held up a soiled empty ziploc bag and said, "like this". She got a panicked look on her face and said, "I could put something in that!!" This is going to be a major challenge as you can see.
I've been told that the less involved she is in the moving process, the better it will be. I'm torn, because it's her stuff. I don't want to make decisions for her on what to take and what to leave behind, yet there is the distinct possibility that she will end up hyperventilating on the couch clutching her nitro whether I involve her or not. I don't want that either, of course.
My current thinking is that we will move as much furniture as we can fit in, pack the things she picks out to take (like heirlooms and special items, the few dishes she wants and clothes) take her and her boxes over to her new apt. and put her to work unpacking the boxes while I go back and take care of the stuff that there just won't be room for. Hopefully, the staff at the assisted living can help keep her busy while we do what we need to do.
By the way, my MIL is a hoarder. A few years back we had to clean out her 3 floor house that was packed from top to bottom. It took several huge dumpsters to get the job done. Her current place is nowhere near that and we have cleaned up most of the worst messes, but she still has the hoarder's mentality. She doesn't want to give anything up. Not even garbage. Any suggestions?