There are numerous reasons why your elderly parent would benefit from simplifying their wardrobe. They may be moving to a retirement home with smaller wardrobe space, or it could be that they just want to declutter their living environment.
Whatever the reason, it’s a healthy practice to get rid of useless clutter. This results in a more organized space and simplified living. After all, needing to find what to wear from a wardrobe with plenty of un-wearable items takes up valuable time and energy.
However, even though this process is highly beneficial for seniors, it’s not always an easy one. Some people enlist the help of professional decluttering services to get the job done faster—especially for cases when time is scarce and clutter is plentiful.
In this article, we will focus on helpful tips as you assist your elderly parent in simplifying their wardrobe.
Establishing teamwork is beneficial in most cases—as long as your parent is willing and able to help.
It’s not advisable to declutter the clothes of your elderly parent all by yourself. Clothes are really personal belongings and sorting through them without permission could trigger feelings of anger and loss of control for them.
On the other hand, leaving your elderly parent to do this task alone may also not be advisable regardless of how healthy and active they are. Decluttering takes a lot of mental and physical energy. Since you are less attached to the clothes, you are better fit to be the gentle voice of reason regarding what to keep and what it’s time to say goodbye to.
Define Your Goal
What is the reason behind your parent’s decision to declutter their wardrobe? Is it to make their current closet more organized? Is it to make the clothes fit into a smaller closet? Is it to discard useless items to make daily tasks easier? Or maybe it’s more than one of these reasons.
Defining what the goal of decluttering their clothes is, and agreeing on this at the beginning of the process, will set expectations properly for your elderly parent.
Choosing Your Workspace
Depending on the amount of clutter, the entire process can take a few days. It can be tempting to pile all of the clothes on the bed for sorting but this may not be advisable as you’ll be compelled to move the pile if the day ends and the task isn’t done. It’s also not advisable to use the bed as a workspace because of the dust that could be clinging to old clothes.
Choose a workspace that has good lighting, ventilation, and a place to comfortably sit for your elderly parent if you’ll be working as a team. Mainly, your workspace should have three divisions: a spot for the to-be sorted pile, a spot for the to-be-kept pile, and a spot for the to-discard/donate pile.
Be Prepared For Sentimental Attachments & Hoarding Tendencies
It’s important to not be too abrasive during the declutter process that you force your parent to part with an item of clothing that, while may no longer be practical to wear, but holds sentimental significance. It’s important to still show respect for wishes like this.
But this doesn’t mean all items with any sentimental/perceived value should be kept, as this can lead to hoarding. It’s a delicate balance to strike. You can allow for some items to be kept or you can present the alternative of just taking pictures of the item. This is where you will calmly explain the goal that the two of you agreed to at the beginning of this process.
For really difficult situations, having third-party experts onboard, like senior decluttering and downsizing services, can be very helpful. They’ll keep the peace between you and your parent while finding the best solution for everyone.
As we mentioned earlier, there are some cases where you might benefit from expert help. Our decluttering service here at Your Next Steps can help you navigate the complex process of senior decluttering and downsizing, especially when it comes to clothes.
Our years of experience have garnered us unmatched expertise when it comes to assisting with decluttering and all other aspects of senior living transitions.