Thursday, November 21, 2013
Cleaning house will not only tidy up the place; it can also serve to inventory possessions. If you have elderly parents, help them inventory their possessions through the “four boxes” system. Here’s how it works:
Place four boxes in each room of your parent’s house.
Box 1: Keep until I Die. For sentimental items such as photo albums, personal letters, wedding china, etc.
Box 2: Keep with Me. For unsentimental items your parents would still like to have around such as furniture and art.
Box 3: Appraise and Sell. For unwanted item that still have value.
Box 4: Garage Sale or Donate. For unwanted items with little to no value.
For items that don’t fit in a box, consider putting a picture of it on an index card.
If your parents question your motives, assure them this measure is about ascertaining what’s valuable to them, emotionally and financially. You might also hear a few good stories along the way.
See Holly Kylen, The ‘4 Boxes’ Approach to Helping Elderly Parents, Forbes, Nov. 13, 2013.