My organization in 2013 kick has now extended beyond our home and into my aunt's house. My aunt and uncle have lived in their home for thirty-five years and the junk has accumulated. My uncle is a complete pack-rat who used to love to hit garage sales and their house is a reflection of years of mild hoarding (lots and lots of books).
My uncle's health has declined and my aunt is getting older, so in the last year, she has been slowly donating and trashing unnecessary stuff. Really, my uncle's poor health is the only way that she has been able to get any of this done, as she secrets it out during his naps. If he realized how much she has cleared out of their house, he would not be pleased. Of course, the house is greatly improved by her actions.
On Tuesday, my aunt and I tackled the top half of her hall linen closet. The top three shelves have been a catch-all for junk. It's one of those that you don't open, unless you are prepared to catch everything that it about to tumble out. We had a rouge lightbulb fall and smash on the wood floor. Not a good situation.
As with all organization tasks, we started by removing everything and sorting it into appropriate piles. My aunt had tons of expired medicine, dating back to 2002, tons. There were loose light bulbs everywhere and a lifetime supply of hair spray. As we went through the cupboard, she lamented on all of the wasted money with unused prescriptions and items that she bought not realizing that she already had a ton. Organization is good for your wallet!
I do have a bit of an ulterior motive, that my aunt was quick to point out. One day, I will either inherit the house or have to help my family move out of it. One way or the other, I will have to clean it and it's just easier to chip away at it a little each time I visit. Plus, it makes it easier for them living in it now. I would urge anyone in a similar situation to do the same.
Having lost my mom, I can assure you that cleaning out a relatives house is far more difficult when under stress. Do it while they are alive and can help. Plus, it's a great idea if they can tell you about important mementos, it's a bonding experience. My mom went through her jewelry box with me and then took it a step further and labeled all of the important pieces. I would never have known which ones were my Grandparent's Wedding rings or sentimental pieces that my father gave to her. It means a lot now.
I went to the adult toy store (Bed, Bath and Beyond) with my coupon and spent twelve dollars on three plastic storage containers. One container has all of the floating light bulbs, safe where they won't break. Another has travel sized items and the third contains first aid items. The boxes are labeled and clear for easy access. I may go back and get a few more to further organize the space, but at this point it's a million times better than it was before.
Please don't tell my uncle that we got rid of about 80% of the stuff! I really scored with a find that was hidden deep back in the cupboard.
I have used this style Bobbi Brown make-up case for years and my current one wore out last summer. I wanted to ask for a new one for Christmas, but found out that it had be discontinued, which is crazy, since it's so perfect. My aunt had this and it had never been used, so she gave it to me. A huge score. Cleaning can lead to hidden treasures.