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Rubbish Clearance and Helping Your Older Family Members Downsize

31st Jan 2018

Helping an older family member with their much needed rubbish clearance isn’t always easy. Wrapped up in all that rubbish are memories and pride. In fact, in many cases, the older family member may not even view their rubbish as such but rather as sentimental objects.

Suggesting these cherished objects go into rubbish clearance bins is something that may actually cause emotional stress which isn’t good for anyone of any age, but it’s especially hard on a person in their seventies or older. Further, no one relishes the idea of offending their older family and telling him he can no longer take care of his place physically unless he downsizes and clears out some “junk” (be careful about using this word to refer to their stuff).

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It may even be the case that the neighbors have complained about an odd odour emanating from something hidden in your older family member’s home. As much as you hate to admit it, you can smell it too but yet you can’t find the source because it’s hidden under so many layers of stuff that really should go into rubbish clearance.

So, in the spirit of making things better, you decide to help your family member downsize and bin some of the clutter he has been collecting for decades. You get some extra rubbish clearance bins ready and head over to his place. However, as you approach Great Uncle Henry’s home, you remember how much he has been like a grandfather to you. You remember him bouncing you on his knee when you were a tot. You remember how he used to captivate your imagination with stories of family lore and how he always seemed to have some of your favorite candy stashed away for you. He was even there at your bedside when you were sick.

You begin to waver on your mission as you approach his house. You love your Great Uncle Henry dearly and you just don’t want to upset him in any way! On the other hand, you know it would be easier for him to remain independent if he downsized and got rid of some of that clutter he’s hanging on to for years.

It’s a quandary! You struggle on what to do.

Many of us have been in your shoes and we can empathize! We also have some advice based on personal experiences on how to make this process go more smoothly for you and your elderly family member.

First, it’s important to ease into the idea of rubbish clearance. Pick a day when you have plenty of time and you can be completely patient without worrying about other things.  Talk to your elderly family member about his or her belongings. Let them tell you the story behind those objects and determine which of them mean more to them than others. Ask your family member if they still use or look at these things. From this conversation, if you’re patient, you’ll begin to get a good sense of what would be easier and what would be harder for your loved one to part with. You’ll also get to spend some good quality time with your family member.

Once the above has been accomplished, it’s time to broach the subject of rubbish clearance. However, you may want to do this on a separate visit because it may be too much for your elderly family member to deal with in a single day. Once you broach the subject, let them know you are only there to help and they are ultimately in charge of what goes and what stays. Explain to them why you think it would be easier on them if they downsized and cleared out some items they no longer use. Try to approach it from a place of caring about them rather than telling them what to do.

In some cases, it helps an elderly person part with certain items if they go to a person they actually know and like. A younger family friend or a relative is always a good place to start. Ask your elderly family member if anyone in particular has admired a particular item and if you’d like them to have it. Alternatively, your elderly family member may have a favorite charity that accepts donations for resale. This way, your family member can appreciate the fact that the proceeds would go for a cause they truly care about.

Always take pictures of sentimental items before you find them a new home. For example, if Great Uncle Henry tells you that’s the couch that he and your aunt bought when they first got married, their very first piece of furniture as a married couple perhaps, be sure to take a picture of it! You can always place these pictures in a special picture album that he can flip through any time he wants to remember the good ol’ days!

Many older people have seen the news accounts of landfills that show pictures of household items discarded and forgotten, rotting in big piles. These pictures may be haunting them and may contribute to why they don’t want to put their old belongings in rubbish clearance. You can help allay these feelings by suggesting they use Clearabee’s rubbish clearance services. Clearabee doesn’t just take junk to landfills. Instead, when at all possible, they take it to places that resale it, repurpose it, reuse it, or recycle it. In fact, they divert more than ninety percent of everything they clear from landfills. Knowing this may help your elderly family member feel better about downsizing and decluttering more.

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