How to help someone else see the light?

I got home last night, and my mom wanted to make a long distance phone call to the Philippines or something. She takes the cordless phone and goes into the room – only to become frustrated trying to find the phone card she thought she had bought. She couldn’t find it. The looked through lots of unopened (or rather, opened and unprocessed) envelopes, weekly ad papers, and coupons, to no avail.

The night before, she wanted me to rub some hydrocortisone on her back. She handed me the tube, only to see that it expired in 2002. She found another, and that expired a month ago. Whatever.

My attributes now stand where I’m willing to throw things away (or donate them) if I don’t use them anymore. I won’t buy things just because they’re on sale.

Example: “Ooh, that hard drive is cheap! No, I don’t need it. Nevermind. Phew! That was a close one!”

I’m also getting better at processing items in my inbox.

My mom is opposite of me with these areas. If she wants to get rid of that stress she has, she needs to get rid of a lot out stuff she’s accumulated. She’s always saying, “I have things to do.” There’s a discontented air about her. I think if she can get the apartment cleared up, she’ll feel much better. Then we could her own desk area, where she can take care of paperwork-type stuff, file, and so on.

Why can’t you help her? I can only do so much, because it’s more of her stuff. I only have clothes, my desk area (computer and stuff), a bike (that’s surrounded by a lot of her things so I don’t use it), and some electronics. Her belongings take over, I’d say, 70% of the apartment. Nice pots and pans we probably won’t use, too much plasticware, dishes, etc. (in the kitchen), and enough clothes for 4 people. It’s brutal.

She won’t read any book that’ll give her suggestions on how to go about all this. She works long hours, but there’s the few days (like today) where she doesn’t go to work until the afternoon. Every bit of time helps if it’s towards something good in the end, right?

I’m getting desperate, so I need some suggestions, preferably from a mother who can understand what my mom might be going through.

I’ll bring up Public Storage again, so we can clear up the stuff now and she can sort through the stuff there at her own pace. We never followed through the first time, because she was going to Europe for a couple weeks.

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. He's also a cat whisperer. Sometimes…a photographer, and card magician.

Talk to me, Goose

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