Saturday, October 21, 2017

Decluttering and Decorating at Mom's



We've done this before.

If I look too often at old "before" and "after" pictures of my Mom's place, I can easily get discouraged. The evidence suggests that all of the efforts we made this summer to decrapify and pretty up her house will only end in near-chaos again.

We declutter and I decorate: and then she brings home "finds" from Value Village, things she thinks are good for the house, or just things she thinks were good buys. And soon, everything piles up again and chaos overwhelms.

And in fact, with the effort to clear out the trailer as quickly as possible in order to get it rented, Mom's place is currently a cluttered disaster, once again. But I'm hoping it won't stay that way for too long.

Because this time, this time it feels different, even though there are some very old habits that need to be broken.

I realise I risk sounding like I am protesting too much.

But truly.

Sometime in July, Mom was hospitalized for pneumonia. They kept her there for 10 days. While she was in hospital, the person my Mom got to care for Noah, my nine year old nephew who lives with her, let Noah and her own son of the same age just trash the house. There's no other way to put it. Used dishes with dried food lay on every surface. There were toys everywhere. The floors were filthy. Counter tops were sticky. The one around the sink was orange. There was food smeared into her white slipcovered couch. When Mother returned to her home she was compelled to clean. Instead of sleeping, she cleaned through her first night home from the hospital.

We chatted soon after and she declared she was going to use the strength of the steroids she was prescribed to declutter. The prescription would last until the end of August: would I help her?

I jumped. Of course I jumped.

I started with painting her living room--something I promised to do back in January. But to do that, she had to empty out the adjoining study which, at that time, was an overwhelming disaster.

She emptied out the room in record time. I was shocked. Later, I found bags of things she took out to the deck--and I was terribly worried she would just leave everything in the bags--and the stuff inside would either become lost or simply brought back in and nothing would be decluttered.



But, she sorted through it all eventually.

When we moved everything out of the living room, she spent days sorting through her dvds and her vast collection of cds.



That became the pattern, even though it alarmed me. She would empty out a space and then sort, toss and donate. I purchased a book on organizing for people with ADHD for her.

After the living room, we moved on to the area by her back door. I ran to Ikea and bought a kitchen cabinet and hung it with my husband's help. I painted and organized a closet.



I painted the hallway to the stairs. We installed a light. We put up some of her artwork.



We schemed and investigated how to get more lights up in the hall.
We did a quick organizing project in her eating area so that all of her aromatic oils were in one place.
I started revamping the front entry way.



In short order, we moved on to the bathroom. I painted the walls the same colour as the living room and painted a cabinet she'd had bought on sale and buried in the garage. We mounted it. Then Mom installed a new light fixture and I painted the eighties wood vanity navy blue.

I only have a photo of it primed. The doors aren't even back on. 

I was about to move on to the study when The Trailer happened. Now that it is all set to rent, I will be focusing again on Mom's place and picking up where we left off.

This is how things were when The trailer happened. I'll be starting in here with Ikea furniture and storage pieces on Monday.

Stay tuned.

3 comments :

Bonnie Haupt said...

You have been super productive

Anonymous said...

I love stories like this. Did the mess she returned to motivate her to finally deal with all the stuff? I'm assuming she's still in the decluttering mode, even without the steroids?

Alana in Canada said...

Yes, Anonymous! Still in decluttering mode, though it goes glacially without steroids.

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