I have been home from my winter vacation for just a few weeks. Already I am frustrated by my lack of progress on my list of things that need to be done. I live in a small house in a retirement community. When dad went into the nursing home last fall I brought home many of his things because I thought I would have to move him permanently from the assisted living facility to the small room in the nursing home.
When dad was able to return to his assisted living facility, I decided to leave many of his belongings at my house. Most of these items had not been used since he arrived last year. I decided I didn’t have the energy to keep moving them if he has to go back to the nursing home so I would store them in my garage.
Of course, the garage was already full from the furniture I brought back last year when I moved dad up from his southern ALF. He and mom had moved from their mobile home and brought what they could with them. I had sent home (to my house) 4 boxes of photographs and mementos that wouldn’t fit into their room at the ALF. Then last year when dad moved from the south, I had to have the movers put his extra dining room chairs, small appliances, small furniture, suitcase and clothing into my garage.
Last month I decided that as soon as the weather warmed up I would clean the garage and make a pile of things to bring to the thrift store. We have had a total of 1 warm day so far when I could find the time to do that. We have had mostly lower than normal temperatures! Then as I began to pull things together, I wondered if my nearby sibling would want some of the extra pieces of furniture. I sent an email to ask but so far have not heard a response.
In addition to the garage, I have some small tables in the house that are covered with boxes and piles of mom and dad’s things. I had boxes of photographs to sort through and memory albums to sift through and scan. There were other things that might have enough value to be sold. I sold a few in the fall before dad ended up in the nursing home.
Dad’s extended family (including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren) was here last spring for a reunion in memory of mom. At that time, I passed around mom’s costume jewelry for each person to choose one piece to remember mom. I still have a lot of pieces to review, pass on, store, etc. I ran out of time by the fall and haven’t found new time since. I also passed along some photographs that those family members had sent to mom and dad. I scanned some others so everyone could have a copy and posted them on Facebook and Shutterfly.
However, the summer had flown by and I never finished sorting through all those boxes. Instead I ended up with more boxes from the northern house that was even more full of photos and memory albums than the mobile home had been. I now had heavy clothing also that was stored in the northern home that might help dad through his first real winter in 25 years.
When dad was hospitalized in the fall, everything came to a stop. I left boxes and boxes unsorted while I tended to dad in the hospital and then the nursing home. My brother brought me even more items from the northern home when he came to visit. It was getting out of hand. I figured I would have to leave it all while going away for the worst winter months. Surely I would come home renewed and refreshed and ready to take on all the work that awaited me.
Thus about 3 weeks ago I walked into the house that remained as I had left it. I made myself a list of all that I needed to do and decided I would just do what I could do – one day at a time.
One day when I came home to the totally full and cluttered garage and walked into the cluttered house, I decided I had to do something right now! My house looked like a hoarder’s house! I can’t live with it any more.
I will keep many of dad’s things while he is alive just in case he needs them. That includes boxes of summer clothing, small radios, video tapes and audio cassettes, etc. However, some things dad will never use again. I am determined to donate the old suitcase, several dining room chairs and other small pieces of furniture and clothing that no longer fits dad or that he refuses to wear. If he needs new things later, I will just buy new things. I just don’t have the space to use my house as a storage locker!
I will call the thrift store just as soon as I have enough warm days to sort and box the donations. They will send a truck if I tell them how many items or boxes will be ready for pick up.
Do you think it is wrong to donate some of dad’s things now? Should I hold onto everything in case he wants something? I guess I feel like I am out of space so I have to select what to keep and what do donate. What would you do?