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How can I offer to declutter mother-in-laws house without offending her?

I am over there a lot and I notice over the past couple of years the clutter has gotten worse. I'm not talking about just messy, I'm talking about the house is too small for ALL the things she buys and collects and it is extremely unorganized. The kids are always grabbing something they shouldn't have access to and sometimes its dangerous. I am good at organizing and would like to offer to help clean the place up. I do the kitchen, living room, and play room every once in a while but with nowhere to put stuff the pile I end up making just gets scattered again. Should I offer at all and how should I present this to her?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 12:56 PM on Dec. 9, 2012 in Home & Garden

Answers (4)
  • If she's a collector and always has been, ask hubs, she may be a hoarder. And from watching the shows, just cleaning up isn't going to do anything but cause her stress. She may need to help of professionals (mental).


    Answer by feralxat at 1:01 PM on Dec. 9, 2012

  • Iam not good with trying to change how someone keeps their home, and would just leave her to her collecting and try to plan activities when visiting her outside the home.

    Answer by virginiamama71 at 1:04 PM on Dec. 9, 2012

  • I don't think you can without offending her. My mother claims to be a super neat freak and that any and all clutter annoys her. She flat refuses to visit me because my house is in a constant state of "clutter" (I have a 5 year old and a 9 year old). If she were EVER to offer to declutter my house I'd tell her to take a flying leap.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 2:10 PM on Dec. 9, 2012

  • I was an in home care giver for a couple different elderly people who as well liked clutter. I thought I was doing them a favor by decluttering, but BAD idea! Every time they couldn't find something, they automatically acused me of throwing it away or taking it. Even though I asked about everything before I threw it away. I got frantic phone calls from them all the time even in the middle of the night because they couldn't find a piece of mail or a cassette tape! People like this, especially elderly, are not going to get better just by decluttering. They need proffesional help. And once stuck in their ways, probably won't except it. It's a very sore subject.

    Answer by RubyBlue82 at 2:35 PM on Dec. 9, 2012

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