Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Cleaning out the in-law's house, Part 1

A couple of months ago my mother-in-law, affectionately known as Honey Bunny by our side of the family, acquiesced and moved into assisted living. This is the story of cleaning out her home of 54 years.

After she was settled I asked her about what to do about the house. We talked. It was decided I would try to thoughtfully distribute her belongings. As an added touch, I asked recipients to send her a thank you note. Some have, many have not, but she appreciates the notes she has received.

As I work through the process friends have asked if I am going to write a book about my experiences. I agreed to a blog post, or two or three. One of my earliest lessons was everyone goes through this at some point in their lives -- some more often than others. What I am doing is by far not unique. We live in a materialistic society and acquire STUFF.

Honey Bunny and her husband, whom our subsection of the family called Pop pop, grew up during the Depression, and met just after WWII. They are from the era of hoarders. The stuff reality TV is made of.

Here are some before shots:

Okay, that was more than a few. Looking at the pictures I do see where I have made progress, so that is encouraging. 

As I started this project I was sad for her. Sad we let her live with this level of hoarding. The main living area did not look bad, though the kitchen table was covered with papers. From what I can tell, once a year she dumped the contents of the kitchen table (donation appeals, paid bills, old coupons) and dumped it into a box. 

How bad could the house be since the living room looked like this?

I will end Part 1 here with the before shots. I'll pick up Part 2 with where things have gone so far.

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