What should you do when asked to clear someone else’s hoard?
~Asking For A Friend
Dear “Asking For A Friend,”
So, you’ve been asked to help a relative or friend, clear their clutter. You honestly want to help but you’re afraid you’ll end up being banned from Thanksgiving or the next outing with the girls. There are ways to help if you stay within some boundaries. Here are some things I’ve found helpful when asked to help with this task.
- Ask what your job will be. Will it be opening the boxes and setting it in front of the person so that they can decide what to do? Will it be opening boxes and sorting? Will you be given free rein and you’ll both be doing the same job, which means it will go twice as fast?
- Ask what the expected outcome will be. Is this a deep cleaning where the room will be emptied? Is this more like sorting unwanted items.
- Will items be donated? This is important. You need to know which place you will be donating to. What are their regulations and limitations on donations? Last, a clear definition of what you both feel would be a donation or should be thrown away.
- Will items only be thrown away if not kept? This is not optimal. If the person is against donating, you need to agree on clear rules of what is considered no longer wanted and goes to the trash.
- Try very hard not to accept “gifts,” of items no longer needed. It sounds tempting and you probably believe you could use it. If you’re dealing with clutter of your own, this will just make it worse.
- Have a plan for heavy items. Do not try lifting these items on your own or with your friend. Call for back up. If one or both of you gets hurt, the job will never be finished.
- How much time does your friend need to clean up? Will you be firm in limiting your time to a few hours, a day, a week, until it’s done? This is so much better than the two of you assuming something different and hurt feelings in the end.
This is just a basic list. I am sure you can come up with many more questions, inquiries and limitations. What is so important is that there is a discussion and there is an agreement.
Without either, you could lose your place at the Thanksgiving table or the next girls only outing.