Seniors often have a multitude of “treasures” throughout their homes. Some are of monetary value while most are of sentimental value: souvenirs from a holiday, something a child or grandchild has made, pictures, calendars, clocks, collections of shells, stones, ceramic animals, and used containers that might be handy some day.
I tell a senior that when someone comes to look at your home they will be here 10 or 15 minutes. Then I ask them, “Would you prefer that they look at all your treasures or would you prefer that they see your new windows, hardwood floors, great fireplace, large dining room….?” They usually say , “I want them to see MY HOUSE so put those things away.” With the senior staying in control and making the decision the process has begun.
We often sort as we pack and put things that will go to their new home in specific marked boxes and things for family members or charity in other boxes. Frequently the seniors now take the initiative and say, “Shouldn’t we put that away too?”
Seniors don’t like change and are often offended if they are told to declutter, yet when they understand why they need to put some things away they actually get involved.
At times I will take them by the hand and ask them to come to a doorway with me and ask them, “What is the first thing you see?” One gentleman stood at the front door, looked at the hallway and said “I see wrinkled carpet.” He knew there was hardwood under the old stained carpet and realized it should be removed. He could SEE that the first impression was important and the necessity to show the floors in order to sell the home for the best price as quickly as possible.