Monday, August 9, 2010

Keeping mom's house as is...are we crazy or sentimental?

I've decided to make some changes at my Mom's house and I'm feeling a wee bit guilty.  Mom moved into assisted living more than a year ago and we've kept her house just as she left it.  My brothers and I never discussed what to do with the contents for several reasons. The two most important were that we knew mom would visit the house and we wanted her to feel it was still "home".  We didn't want to cause family issues because arguments over "who gets what" will surely follow.   

My decision to start making changes is two fold - I want to get rid of the junk no one would want later and I want things better organized.  Mom was a very organized person and she had a place to store everything.  She didn't accumulate a lot of "pretty' stuff or knick knacks - everything had to be useful; it's the art of living well on a limited budget I suppose.   As she got older putting things in their "right" spot became less important as finding the most-used items at arms length.  She couldn't bend over, kneal down or stand on a stool to reach things anymore - everything ended up on counters, shelves and table tops.  When she moved I got rid of half that "stuff" now it's time for the rest to go too.

Since she's 90 I intend to spend more time with her and this means more stays at her home while I'm in town.  I can't stand living around the junk anymore so it's got to go.  As I type this I realize that I'm trying to talk myself into feeling better about tossing, giving and storing her things away.  I know there are practical reasons too which helps make me feel better.  When she needs more of my time and attention I'll worry less about cleaning her home and yard if I get rid of clutter and get it clean now.    When she finally passes away, going through things will be faster and easier if three's less to do and if she's already designated who gets what.   

As I sort things, I can hear her voice telling me where it came from and pointing out that this or that still has some useful purpose.   It's still Mom's house, it will always be Mom's house and I'm sad to have to make changes but it's necessary.   If I must continue to stay here and if my brother continues to live here with his own set of health problems, we've got to make the most of the space with some extra cabinets and clutter removal.   Living at Mom's will always feel like her home but it will just be an improved version.