Greater disposable income coincided with the emergence of the late 20th century phenomenon of accumulating trappings of wealth. But there does come a time when we must start to declutter.
However, as Gloria Stafford says so eloquently, we must first face the question what is to be done with unwanted possessions in our compulsively hoarded house. Lest our quality of life suffers while customers queue up thrift charity shops.
The Long Gradual Process Leading to Compulsive Hoarding
Compulsive hoarding does not appear out of nowhere like the big bang theory of creation. We longed for those trappings of wealth when starting out in life and gradually acquired them.
Fast forward the decades and half of us have more possessions than we need. However, research does suggest this process slows for most of us when we reach 50. By then we have enough possessions and may be funding looking after them stressful.
However, compulsive collecting often departs from the main stream at this point. We enter an impulsive phase of ‘collecting for collecting’s sake’ in our main residence. What is anything should we do?
The Challenges of Shedding Our Material Convoy
Shredding our material convoy is not easy even when we relocate to a new home. We can’t dump unwanted items because that would be an offence against society. Moreover, our emotional attachment makes separating traumatic. Even small details can be overwhelming in later life.
Show me any lived-in home and I’ll point out unwanted things hidden in nooks and crannies. Heaven knows I, Jeffrey Avery have cleared more compulsive hoarding than I care to remember. As we age it becomes easier to do nothing and let the accumulation grow.
Confronting the ‘Here and Now of Over Clutter
Almost all parents reach the ‘empty nest phase’ by their fifties. However, once again emotions make it difficult to recover the space. Many older people spend the huge majority of their time at home surrounded by accumulated possessions.
Disposing of them to even close relatives is painful. We are coming closer to the mind-set of compulsive hoarding. Sometimes though, circumstances force our hand. We may face declining health, mental capacity and even mobility. The hands of the next generation may lead us where we do not want to go.
Many of us though prefer to see life through in familiar surroundings, and gradually dispose of things we no longer want. Avery Associates provides a home clearing service whereby we collect unwanted items and dispose of them.
Avoiding the Issue and Finding a Workaround
It’s worth remembering this action can be emotionally strenuous, especially to an older person with attachment to the items. Their children may also find their gradually approaching demise hard to accept.
Many older people only use some rooms in the house. Closing off unused rooms may make a decluttered home more acceptable.
Decluttering involving family heirlooms had add to the tension usually avoided by leaving a confidential will. It may be more palatable to sell the items off and donate the proceeds to a charity. Jeffrey Avery is an experienced valuer with a wealth of connections in the auction world.
Looking Forward and Onward from this Dilemma
I see this drama playout often as I go about my business live. I am inclined to support Gloria Stafford’s suggestion the best way out is to empower elderly people to take control of their compulsively hoarded lives.
It is no easy task ridding ourselves of unwanted clutter, especially a stage where life is increasingly burdensome. However, if we do not, then others will decide for us.
I learned the Swedes have a tradition called ‘dostadning’ while researching this article. Loosely translated, it means ’death cleaning’ and involves systematically ridding one’s home of items seldom used or appreciated in a forward-facing gesture.
This can be an act of positive self-fulfillment in Gloria Stafford’s mind if done willingly. Compulsively hoarded unwanted items may be sold, gifted, or donated after discussion with adult children. All that’s needed is a willing giver and a willing receiver and another possession finds a new home.
Involving family in a decluttering exercise should be on a continuum depending of the wishes / capability of the elderly home owner. Our goal must be to leave them less distressed after the exercise. After all, it is their home, and right to be happy in it.
I Hope You Found This Article Worthwhile
I hope you find this article useful if you find yourself affected by a situation such as I describe. Remember me if you need a home cleared or partly cleared, or a professional valuation of the contents. Be careful of using a rogue service. You are responsible if they a caught dumping, and you could be prosecuted.
Sincerely Jeffrey Avery