Get your kids to take their “stuff”! Set a deadline date (3 – 4 weeks down the road) for them to come and take their “stuff” that you have very nicely sorted and put to one side for them. You may need to use tough love! Tell them if they don’t come or don’t want the items you will arrange to dispose of the items. If they don’t come by this date (you can give them gentle reminders during this time period) schedule the trash person to come in as soon as possible after the deadline.
Give your special items now to your family. If there are special items that you know you are not going to need or use again, why not consider giving them to that special person now while you can enjoy giving the gift and the person receiving the gift will appreciate and can thank you in person.
Only keep the items you truly treasure! Remember, you cannot keep everything, and you need to be ruthless in your decisions. You may change your mind several times. Until you are really sure or have any doubts, don’t throw or give anything away. Make lists, add and subtract from the lists and make sure this is what you truly want. Once you give them away or throw them out, they are gone forever.
Donate to charity. If you have three sets of dishes, be realistic. Do you really need them? Anything that you don’t need, cannot use, and don’t want (but is good and serviceable) donate to your favorite charity. There are so many good charities that can use these items. Donate clothing to homeless shelters, books to the local library, furniture to Goodwill and any number of places are looking for good serviceable items. Most are happy to give receipts for tax purposes.
Whatever you do, do something! Just don’t sit there and let stuff pile up around you until you cannot walk safely in your own home. It is better to be in control with where and how to dispose of your stuff than have someone come in and take control and give you no say in the matter. There is plenty of help out there, ask at the Senior Center or your clergy person for recommendations on how to proceed.
You will feel so much better when you start the process.