We didn’t touch a single turtleneck or even venture into closets, but let’s talk Christmas decorations. Forty years’ worth. And flowers. Lots and lots of silk flowers. The thing about being an organizer is that you have to be adaptable, flexible and quick thinking. You go in thinking you’ll do one thing, but quickly learn that’s not the direction the day will take you. When mom said she wanted to tackle Christmas, I thought she meant putting away current Christmas decorations, but she meant putting away current decorations AND sorting and downsizing forty plus years of decorations. Who am I to argue? I won’t stand in the way of progress, any progress. We hadn’t planned on tackling silk flowers, but it had to be done. They were stored in bags piled on the old ping pong table.
My dad laid low most of the time, but he chipped in to help carry 10+ trash bags to the deck for my brother to haul away. He didn’t object to much that went out the door. I told him I respect his space and we talked about my intentions and concerns. I reminded him that not only are he and Mom getting older, but my brothers and I are getting older, too…that we need to do this while we have the physical stamina to help. We didn’t get too deep into the weeds on this visit, but Mom showed me items that she thinks have value. Dad and I even talked about his obituary. Yep, that’s a big one.
Three days and 20+ labor hours. That time included sorting, reviewing, and bagging up items for trash or donation. It included organizing the “keep” items, sweeping up as we went along, donation deliveries, plus trash and recycling drop offs. That’s twenty plus hours for one corner of a huge basement that consisted primarily of Christmas and any innocent bystanders that landed in the wrong “department”. I found my high school jacket and letter sweater and even brought home some Christmas garland for my mantle.
I love working hard to help my parents. I was pretty spoiled growing up. My “hard work” as a kid consisted of leisurely mowing the lawn on the riding mower. I don’t really think my parents are used to seeing me work physically hard, but when I am in downsizing mode, I am like a machine you can’t turn off.
I can’t end this post without extending special thanks to my niece, Sydney, who served as my organizing assistant for the weekend (Syd, you’re hired!), and my brother, Todd and his wife Jennifer, who provided trash management, moral support, and a good sip of bourbon at the end of a long day.
We’re just getting started. And yes, I’ve already scheduled my next trip home.
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