You know that I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s? I love her idea that decluttering isn’t about what you let go of, but of what you keep, and that what you keep should spark joy. However, as much as I love her work, the one thing that Marie may lack is life experience.
Personally, I’ve been decluttering my home, bit by bit for the last few months. I’ve been able to let go of more and more, enjoying a sense of light in my home that wasn’t there. However, as the title suggests, my home is utterly, totally cluttered again. So what happened?
Well. My Dad happened. When my Mum passed away 2 years ago, I inherited my Dad. My sister passed away 8 years ago, so there’s just us left. About 3 months after Mum passed away, Dad decided to up sticks from sunny Devon, to come and live near us in lovely Leitrim. He bought a bungalow 2 minutes from where I live and moved in. However, he’s not in the best of health and that health has been deteriorating increasingly in the last 6 months, three of which were spent in hospital. It soon became apparent that Dad needed more support that could be provided, and that he was at risk if he stayed in his home alone, especially at night.
So, after the last hospital admission, he agreed to move in with us. We cleared a downstairs room, moving all the existing furniture and personal belonging out, and brought his own bed over from his house. In the last few weeks, we packed up all his things, and rented out his home as a furnished let.
The problem is that he had so much stuff.
My kitchen now contains lots of boxes to be sorted through with him. His bedroom is becoming tidier as we find places to put things. His most treasured items are the years of photographs he and my mum took, and his railway collection. There are loads of albums and packets of photos taken, and they can’t be stored anywhere else.
So now what?
So, my mission is now to work with Dad and start afresh, reclaiming rooms in my home as we unpack boxes and make decisions on what to keep and what to let go. It’s hard for an older person to downsize. The things that matter most are those belongings with strong memories attached, and for anyone else, the aim of the decluttering would be to make space for the new. But, when you’re coming to the end of your life, you don’t need space for new. You want to hang onto the things that are important. The cherished memories of happy times gone by. And that’s how I’m going to be approaching this task. I’ve done it before, and when we’ve finished, my Dad will have a room that he can call home, surrounded by the things and the memories that he cherishes most. What else can you do?