Downsizing Parents

How to Help Your Aging Parents Declutter and Downsize

Whether you need to help your elderly parents declutter their home – or inherited their estate and need to clean it out – you need a plan to get the job done fast. Otherwise, you could end up knee deep in your loved ones’ belongings without a way to move forward on your project. Ready to tackle this monumental task with purpose? Just use these tips for cleaning out your elderly parents’ house.

Locate All Important Documents

As you go through your parent’s home, you must keep an eye out for important documents, like:

  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • State IDs or driver’s licenses
  • Insurance paperwork
  • Marriage certificates
  • House deeds

Put all the vital paperwork in a secure file folder as you come across each item. By placing these items in a secure area, you’ll have whatever you need on hand to handle your parent’s affairs whenever the need arises.

Also, look for photos, memorabilia, and other items with sentimental value while decluttering or downsizing your mom and dad’s home. If you have any questions about the sentimental value of any item, put it aside so you can ask before getting rid of it.  

Create a Great Plan for Decluttering

Decluttering starts with an understanding of the 80/20 rule: Most people only use 20 percent of their belongings 80 percent of the time. The rest of the stuff just sits on the shelf gathering dust and adding to the clutter.

With that in mind, you can plan how you will separate the junk from the rest while watching for items with sentimental value. Decide which rooms to start with first, if you’ll work from side to side or top to bottom, and how you’ll sort all the items to speed through the decluttering process.

Also, remember that you can work through the process much faster if you divide and conquer. So, enlist any family members you can and give them a list of jobs to complete in each room.

Sort Items to Keep, Sell, and Donate

As you sort through your aging parents’ belongings, separate items into piles to keep, sell, and donate. Send all the unusable items straight to the dumpster to avoid having to handle them multiple times.

Don’t forget to clearly mark any antique, collectible, or rare items with a potentially high monetary value. That way, you can take them to the appraiser to see what they’re worth before selling.

Think About Having an Estate Sale

An estate sale allows you to sell all the items you want to get rid of without having to shuttle them all to the consignment shop. You just have to get high-value items, like artwork and jewelry, evaluated by an appraiser, and then set the price for the remainder. Put your loved ones’ belongings you want to keep in a storage unit as well. After that, you just have to get estate sale companies to run the event for you or do it yourself.

Organize All the Items You’ve Kept

If your parents haven’t passed away and just need help with their clutter, you will need to finish this process by organizing all the items you’ve kept. Use bookcases, shelving, and other storage containers to keep things neat and tidy for your loved ones. The extra effort put into this step will serve you well when your parents decide to move into a new residence and need help cleaning out their home once again.

Whether your parents chose to downsize, moved into assisted living, or passed away, it’s up to you to clean out their home. Fortunately, with this guide in hand, you can make quick work of the process without losing any of your loved ones’ precious mementos.

If you’re looking for storage options to help your loved ones through this transition, search for facilities near you. 

Categories Moving Organization