As I mentioned yesterday, Tom and I went back to Ohio over our weekend so we could help Mom and Dad with cleaning out the family home. Mom and Dad have lived in the same house in Lexington Ohio for 55 years. They recently decided to put down a deposit on a condo in a retirement complex in Mansfield. Dad said he wanted them to do it while they were still able to make decisions for themselves. He also didn’t want Mom to have to do it on her own after he is gone.
At first I was surprised they were moving. Mom and Dad live in a one story ranch and they could easily make the house handicapped accessible. They could hire someone for yard help or even for home help if they needed. But, I realized that, as they drive less, they are increasingly isolated in this home, especially in the winter. Because both of them are energetic and outgoing, a retirement center where they can participate in daily activities seems like a good fit.
They put the deposit down in March and anticipated moving sometime this fall. The first three-bedroom condo came open within weeks of them putting down the deposit. They turned it down. The second three-bedroom came open about a month later – also too soon. Most people live in these condos for years before they have to move to assisted living, so this was pretty unusual. Mom was sure the next condo wouldn’t be open for months. But they got the call that another three-bedroom would be open in July and Dad didn’t want to pass this one by.
So, when we went to Ohio, instead of leisurely sorting and packing, we were suddenly under a deadline. Mom and Dad’s new condo is beautiful and nice sized. It is similar to the main floor of their house. The problem is they currently have a full basement packed with storage space. The storage space is packed with stuff. And they now have a month to sort it, get rid of it, or figure out where to put it in the new place.
Fortunately, their church has a big rummage sale the third week of June. So Tom and I were determined to help Mom and Dad get as much stuff transported over to the rummage sale as possible. Cleaning out the house is a lot of work and we wanted to help as much as we could over the two days we were there.
At first Mom moved slowly. She loves the house in Lexington and has filled it with stuff that has lots of memories. So we tackled the closets in the basement with me pushing her a little. Although I know it was hard for her, she started to make some tough decisions. We carried boxes of stuff over to the rummage sale, ending up with five minivan packed loads. All four of us worked all day long.
By the evening, the basement was looking much better, although there is still a lot of stuff down there. Too much to ever fit in the condo. Mom and Dad were exhausted physically and emotionally. We sat down for a game of dominoes, but I think the dots were swimming in front of our tired eyes. Our first day working and really cleaning out the house was a big success.