Wednesday, January 21, 2009

30 Years of Paper

The "Miller" family struggled for years with their father's need to save paper. Not just utility bills and bank statments, He pretty much collected all papers he came across. Beside themselves with frustration, the Millers recognized they needed help.

Prior to seeing the areas in need, we sat down at the dining room table for a chat. As the daughter introduced me to Mr. Miller, you could sense the resentment in him.

"Before we get going, what would you like to know about me?" I asked Mr. Miller.

He proceeded to proudly tell me about his work he used to do. It was pretty cool listening to Mr. Miller go on about his career working in the automotive industry.

"Well, that's where I came from and what I've done," he stated firmly. "So, what creditials do you have to work with me?"

Imagine his surprise when I told him I, too, once worked in the auto industry as an engineer (little smirk on his face, big grin on his daughter's). After a bit more chatting about college, design projects and how things have changed, we were ready to see the project at hand.

Mr. Miller did like his paper. He and I sat down and began sorting through the bags and boxes one by one. Mr. Miller left me to do most of the sorting, while he continued to tell me about stories about his career. About an hour or so, he stated he trusted my judgement and it looked like I could handle this on my own. Mr. Miller then headed downstairs for lunch.

The floor and bed was cleared up in one day, then I came back and finished the second bed and the papers underneath each one. Mr. Miller kinda chuckled thinking I would not look under them. Ended up finding about $700 or so in cash. We chatted a bit about taking a week off to see how things go before moving on to the next area.

When I returned, Mrs. Miller had moved some bags and boxes of papers into the bedroom for me to sort through. Guess, Mr. Miller was moving these bags and boxes to other areas of the home. Most of these items were old maps and pamplets which made sorting go quite quick.

The onto a closet to work on clearing the floor and file cabinet. This area cleared up pretty quickly too.

Time to load up my vehicle. As I worked I sorted into three areas: Shred, Recycle and Trash. Everything was taken from home - trash included. So far, there has been three loads like this removed from Mr. Miller's home.

The majority of papers were dropped off at a local school for their recycling fundraiser (not my boy's school which does not have this program). This dumpster was pretty much filled after my third deposit.

Mr. Miller is not overly excited about removing all the papers, though he does admit it feels and looks much better. Most importantly he says his wife is happier, so that makes him feel good.

I'm hoping that PaperRetriever comes and picks up the load before I return next week or I'll be looking for a new paper recycling dumpster.

What personal connection have you made with an elder?

1 comment:

Phyllis said...

I SOOO need to send you over to the home of the clutter king and queen!

My 14-year old is the champ at bonding with seniors. He has more adopted grandparents that I can count. The 17 year old is the pied piper of the under 5 set, but the younger one has the seniors wrapped around his fingers.