Organizing And Downsizing With Seniors – A Case Study Part 3

Organized_office_roundedIn my last post being Part 2 of this case study, I talked about how the organizing projects I do with my clients are like Disneyland for me.  I get quite excited going through the various spaces with my clients knowing that the changes we make will be transformational.

Continuing with the tour

Moving along with our tour of the issues of concern for my clients, the third room was a spare bedroom that had been taken over with a variety of household items. This room had become a dumping zone.  It’s not so unusual that, after getting home from busy day you drop items off wherever you happen to be and then forget about them.  The issue is that if this is done repeatedly over a long period of time, a space can slowly fill up to the point that you cannot even clean the room, dust or vacuum.  This then becomes a health issue.  This is especially true if you suffer from asthma or other respiratory issues. My clients wanted this room to be able to be used for grand children when they visited however it was absolutely impossible at the moment.  Clutter and dust littered every surface.

Safety issues are a real concern

Next up on the tour was the basement.  Going down the stairs we had to be careful because items had been placed on the sides of the stairs.  This is a real safety issue, particularly for older couples that may be challenged with mobility issues.  Tripping and slipping on items is a real concern.  Mrs. X. stayed upstairs while I toured the space with Mr. X.  There were pathways in which to make your way around the congested finished basement area however it was often necessary to step over items and manoeuvre.  It was evident that the basement project alone was a large undertaking, one that I was excited to dig into.

So the tour of the spaces was completed and we settled back up on the living room to talk about time estimates, costs and next steps.

Next steps

The scheduled session to begin the project focused on the closet space with the overflow pantry items.  During the consultation, in my mind I had estimated 3 hours to complete the organization of this space.  However when I returned for the actual session and opened the closet it seemed to me that there was at least another foot of items piled on top of what had already been there.  Either that or I had forgotten exactly what it looked like, which is entirely possible.  Often times I take photos of the space we are working on, not only for my own reminder purposes but also for education and training for my staff.  In this instance our client had asked that photos not be taken so we of course honored and respected that request.

Fast and furious to sort and categorize

I knew I had to work fast to completely empty the closet, sort and categorize all the contents and then work with the client to make decisions on what was to stay and what was to go. I worked crazy fast that day wanted to ensure I was out and finished in 3 hours as scheduled, but as I plowed through more and more items I discovered there was a bevy of alcohol bottles hidden on shelving so I had to move carefully.  When I reached the bottom of the closet several pop bottles and cans had leaked and burst so there was quite a sticky mess on the floor.

I’ll carry on with this case study in my next post and will talk about the final stages of the closet project and where we went from there. Stay tuned!

I wonder if any of you reading this post have every discovered a wet mess on the bottom of your closets?  Write in and let me know how you handled it.


2 replies
  1. Maggie
    Maggie says:

    Cleaning issues in small places that need very deep reorganizing and moving can be very dangerous for big people, let alone children. I’m trying not to reach that moment in my house 🙂

  2. Linda Vanderkolk
    Linda Vanderkolk says:

    Thanks for your message Maggie. I agree with you completely. De-cluttering and removing safety and trip hazards such as small scatter rugs and items in hallways and stairways is a good first step.

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