Two of the most common phrases I hear when I tell people what I do for a living are, 1. “You should see my house,” and, 2. “My parents need you.” We have put ourselves into storage units with all the stuff we collect and keep in our homes. And sometimes it’s not even our own stuff!
I’d like to give you a few practical ways that you can help whether you are the parent of an adult child or the adult child. Let me first remind you to think of others more highly than yourself.
For the Adult Child
1. Offer to take your items from their home. I can’t tell you how many homes I go into in which the parents of grown children tell me, “the kids just won’t take their things.” To which I ask, have you asked them? Most of the time the response is, “yes.” Adult children, take responsibility for your belongings. The first step is to get it out of your parents’ home. What you do with it after that is up to you. May I suggest only keeping what you love and want to keep up with and perhaps pass along?
2. Offer to invest in hiring a professional organizer to help your parents. Some parents of adult children don’t have the means to invest or aren’t aware that there is someone that can come help. Having a third party come in is often a relief and just the encouragement they need to start finding peace and freedom in their home again.
For the Parent of an Adult Child
1. Offer to make their belongings available to them. Use your words to let them know that you would like them to take their things. This may also involve having the attic stairs easy to access on a specific day or it may mean taking their belongings to them. Remember, you are taking them their belongings. They can then do with those things as they wish. If there is anything that you just can’t bear to get tossed in the trash, then you might consider keeping that item at your house as your memory.
2. Be open to having some help decluttering your home. Your children want what is best for you. As they get older they see your importance more and more. They want you to be around and healthy and enjoying life. If your home is draining your joy, it may be time to actively tackle it. There is also the safety of your home for both you and your loved ones. If your home is a safety hazard because of the sheer amount or untidiness of things in your homes, it is time to make it safe.
Here’s to finding peace and freedom together!