Vintage Rummage Pile Storage Area Mess

My siblings and I have recently had to face some of the harsh realities in life. Our parents aren’t as spry as they used to be. In fact, after a recent health scare with BOTH of my parents, all within a week’s time, the three kids have had to think of eventualities. Luckily my parents are back on the mend, but considering the “what ifs” wasn’t any fun.

One of the biggest concerns, which many children of baby boomers face, is what to do with all their parents’ stuff when either they move to a retirement home or, sadly, they pass away. A difficult conversation and an even more difficult process, so I researched a few ways to help parents downsize. Here are three techniques and approaches. For more ideas, visit our Ultimate Organizing board on Pinterest.

Swedish death cleaning

If you haven’t heard of this technique, it isn’t as morbid as it sounds. The crux of this cleaning and decluttering method is based on the idea of lessening the burden of your loved ones when you pass on. While those baby boomers are still healthy they should take the time to go through all those boxes, cupboards, closets and garages and do some decisive dejunking.

Based on a book by Margareta Magnusson, this concept suggests that people who are nearing retirement age begin embarking on their own personal property purge. As children of boomers, we should help them understand the benefits and possible positive outcomes. Long-forgotten treasures found in a garage that are no longer wanted, can be sold, that money going toward extended vacations with family for example.

‘KonMari Method’

Marie Kondo’s “KonMari Method” and “sparking joy” are the hottest buzz words around when it comes to home organization. I happily jumped on this bandwagon at the first of the year and have plowed my way through many rooms in my home. On one of my visits with my parents recently, my mom and I sat down and watched an episode of Kondo’s Netflix series “Tidying Up.”

This TV viewing moment not only prompted some great discussion about the why’s and how’s of decluttering, but hopefully planted a seed in my mom to embark on her own KonMari journey. With dozens of tips and tricks on Pinterest, there are great, healthy ways for the children of boomers to help their parents declutter in a new, completely trendy way.

Declutter by personality type

Many of us have taken some sort of personality test, right? There’s the Myers-Briggs, Color Code, DISC assessment and others. I have loved learning more about my personality nuances when it comes to the workplace and at home, but I never realized that my personality could also influence the way I best organize and declutter my home.

Believe it or not, there are different methods of decluttering a home that might best fit with someone identified as an “architect,” “logician,” “campaigner” and other Myers-Briggs-identified personalities. For instance, the “advocate” is creative and decisive, so execution is not a problem when it comes to organizing. The trick? Just don’t get bogged down in what “perfect” should look like.

— Jennifer Durrant