Usually when you ask a mom what they want for a gift they respond with what they really want is some time with you. While that is a wonderful thing to give, you want to give something a little more meaningful. Something you can provide. How about gifting mom with time spent helping her with a project that now may be difficult for her like organizing her closet?
As we get older, and I know this firsthand, it gets more and more difficult to reach up high or low. If possible, we older adults may just ignore these areas.
For your Mother’s Day gift, offer her a day organizing her closet.
Learn Mom’s Preferences:
Over coffee or tea ask your mom how she likes to organize her closet. Does she use it only for clothes and accessories or does she also store gifts to give in it? Is her clothes hamper in the closet or would she like it to be there? If she stores her suitcase there on a top shelf, can she reach it easily?
After your coffee or tea chat you are ready to begin.
Start Low and High:
Gather 3 labeled boxes (going elsewhere, trash, donate) and some cleaning supplies like a dust pan and broom and a few cleaning cloths.
Start with the floor of the closet. Bring everything out from the floor of the closet and clean the floor.
Spread the items out and ask your mom to make decisions about what to keep, toss, and/or donate.
Ask if some of these items can be moved to a place other than the floor?
For example, if she has shoes on the floor can they go on a rack or in a hanging over the door bag?
Would she like to bring down the suitcase from the top shelf and place it on the floor? Replace items back in the closet so that the plan works for her.
Now move to the top shelf of the closet. Take everything off the shelf and clean it. Sweep away any cobwebs that you might find.
Are there items that have been stored here that she no longer needs? Can they be donated? The only things that go back to this shelf should be those things that she rarely needs. This might be a place to store an extra pillow or blanket for a guest with the idea that the guest could pull it down if needed. Out of season clothes could be stored up here too provided someone help get them down when needed.
Gifting mom with an organized closet is a big job so this might be all that you can accomplish the first visit. But if you are on a roll, carry on!
Continue with the Plan:
Follow through with the remaining areas of the closet. Clean as you go. Ask your mom to think about the clothing and accessories that she is keeping.
Take the clothes out of the closet a little bit at a time and evaluate each article of clothing.
Do the clothes still fit?
Are there some stained, torn, or items that need to be repaired?
Do they fit her current lifestyle?
The fewer outfits in the closet the easier it is to put together good looking and good feeling ensembles. If there is something she truly loves but no longer wears, could it go into a memorabilia box?
Return all items mom is keeping to her newly reorganized closet.
Have mom put on one of her newly put together outfits and go shopping for any closet accessories she might now want (hello, Container Store) or out to eat.
Enjoy your time together!
If you are struggling with developing an organizational plan or just want some help or accountability in following through with the plan, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space for You virtual support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.
Reading this post made me think about the times I organized with my mom. She was always so fun to organize with because she was decisive and loved getting things done. Plus she was enthusiastic about the results. However, as she aged and had cognitive decline, making decisions became excruciatingly painful. So instead, I would organize for her in non-obtrusive ways. But ultimately, I waited until she passed away to do the major house edit. If I had done it while she was still alive, it would have been too upsetting and disruptive for her.
Thank you for sharing your story. It’s all about what is best for the loved ones we try to help.
Great “clutter-free” gift idea! When I would visit my mom in California, I would organize her closet or pantry. She loved it and always appreciated the time I took to do them.
Thank you for sharing that. Her love of the help was probably a mixture of the result and the time together.
I did this with my Mom and we really had a lot of fun. She has a couple of closets, and there is still one more to do. I’m hoping to get to where she lives this summer and finish the job. This is a wonderful treat for Mom!
Yes, it is. Enjoy the process and all the time you have together.
Great step-by-step process. My mom has been asking for help in her closet, although it’s very organized. I think you are right, she may not be able to do the simple things like move things around and clean.