How to downsize your mum without burning your relationship

There is nothing like having an argument with your elderly mum to make you feel about two foot tall.

It often happens when a son or daughter tries to talk with mum about the elephant in the room. Such as where she might need to live when she can’t look after herself. Or suggesting she needs to declutter in preparation for a move to a smaller home.

You may start out with good intentions and clear rationale, but the conversation can head south if she doesn’t want to engage, which is absolutely her prerogative.

It is a space where logic can collide with emotion, sometimes causing irreparable damage.

It can leave both parties frustrated and hurt, and halt progress on a job that desperately needs doing – downsizing.

I have worked on jobs where the son is tearing his hair out because of a looming deadline for his mum to be moved out of her three-bedroom home, into a studio apartment, retirement village or nursing home. At the same time, mum was feeling extremely pressured into throwing out her much-loved belongings.

Sometimes getting an independent person to help is the best solution.

You need a third party who can balance the physical realities of fitting three bedrooms into one by the end of the month, while also having the time, patience and empathy required to help someone let go of things that carry a lot of history, memories and love.

It gives mum a sounding board to explain why her sewing machine means so much to her, even though she knows she hasn’t used it in three years and it won’t fit in her new apartment. Just explaining this to someone neutral can help them let go of it mentally, which is an important part of the process.

A family friend or neighbour can play the part, but it can be a big commitment.

Calling in a professional obviously doesn’t come for free but it can certainly cease the hostilities and salvage your relationship with your mum.

If you would like to have a chat over a cuppa to discuss your needs (at no cost), give me a call on 0410 691 990.

Or to order a free copy of my Guide to Downsizing Your Home, scroll to the bottom of my home page.

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