Overwhelmed by clutter

images 1A friend of mine had the sad, but necessary task, of helping an elderly relative move into some sheltered accommodation. Her relative needed to downsize so she asked me to give her a hand.

I was quite excited – a de-cluttering project!! Right up my street.

However, when I got to the house, I felt both mentally and physically overwhelmed. The poor woman had not been mobile for some time and just couldn’t cope with keeping the house tidy or sorting out her belongings.

There was literally no surface visible. Everything was crowded onto table tops, worktops, window sills and especially the floor. There were mats on top of rugs on top of carpet. Ornaments and mementoes balanced precariously on every available shelf. The walls were filled with photographs and pictures. Bookshelves held candles, torn-out recipes, wrapping paper, all sorts of odds and ends – never mind books. Newspapers were in piles in corners.

I think it was probably symptomatic of a happy, full life but one which had got a bit crowded out by the clutter.

I was amazed at how easily my friend’s relative let go of the ‘stuff’. I thought most of it may have had sentimental value and would be hard to part with – but besides some cherished photo albums, in the end it was just seen as ‘stuff’.

Yet, I felt very overwhelmed and oppressed by it all. I thought, even if I could have whatever I wanted, I know for certain now that I wouldn’t have it. Light, space and clear surfaces have become very important to me and far outweigh most material items. I couldn’t go back to my old ways now if I tried. And I don’t want to even try.

My friend’s relative had a smooth move. She seems contented in her new surroundings and pores over the photo albums every day. Every photo has a story to go with it! In the end, this was what mattered – just a few small items to trigger memories and re-live happy times.

Have a great week 😊

  11 comments for “Overwhelmed by clutter

  1. April 22, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    That’s a good way to approach de-cluttering… don’t be so materialistic. Thank you for that approach!

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 22, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Hi there, thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂 Yes, it was a bit sad but also inspiring to see that, in the end, the materialistic approach just doesn’t last the distance. Lxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. December 15, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Well done for helping out. Interesting, real life post and quite moving too. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 15, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Hi there, such a kind comment – thank you so much, Lxx


  3. December 10, 2018 at 3:51 am

    This is actually one of the reasons it is very hard for me to visit my parents. Their clutter has built up so much, and it’s really hard for me to see and for me to be relaxed there. My Dad is suffering from dementia and my Mom is not very mobile these days. I would love to help but they get defensive if I suggest recycling or donating stuff. What it usually means is that I come home and start decluttering my own space immediately again.


    • December 10, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Cristy, it’s so difficult, isn’t it? Your parents sound as though the fear of losing anything creates such upset for them. It must be awful to see them and know that you can help but of course, they wouldn’t see it like that. But at least you’re there for them, supporting them in a way that’s meaningful for them, even if it makes it even more difficult for you. Good on you, Lxx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. December 9, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    This Is so Timely for Me. I am dealing with my mom and aunt being sick. I have the same overwhelm when I am at their house. The clutter is overwhelming and there are materials everywhere. They are very attached to house. It has been a real challenge. This was a timely reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 9, 2018 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Kathy, thanks so much for your comment and it’s good to know that this week’s post has resonated with you. Good luck with your ongoing support of your mum and aunt, it can be such a difficult time, Lxx


  5. December 9, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    This is such a valuable post! Our design firm suggests to all of our clients, who wish to know where to start to make life lighter, to take a photo of the cherished item. A few hours looking at photos is something everyone enjoys. Either digitally, or hard copy, organized….our lives can be fuller with fewer tangible items. My personal goal, and a gift to our children is not to over burden them with “stuff” but to leave them as many memories as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • December 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      What a beautiful plan, Laurel – and one which your children will surely appreciate deeply. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lxx

      Liked by 1 person

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