The storage container outside the house tells the tale of a family in motion. They are cleaning out, moving, re-organizing.

You can feel like you have a storage container outside your house, visible to only you. But, it's not because of any cleaning out or moving or re-organizing. It's because your life is on hold--the storage container keeps your hobbies, interests, relationships, dreams. It even feels like your future and good health are held captive in that white container, that dratted pod.

You go on with your life during caregiving except without your life. You are waiting, waffling, worrying.

The storage container outside your life tells the tale of an individual in limbo.

How do you unpack your storage container? How do you fit your old life into this new one?

Clean out, move, re-organize.

Clean out what now feels frivolous and a waste of time. Move what you love into places so you can easily see and use them. Re-organize the schedule of your time to incorporate a few minutes of what you love when you can.

Perhaps caregiving forced you into a clean up. Use the time to do just that--clean up so you keep what's most important. Know that you can give yourself the flexibility to move and re-organize as appropriate as your caregiving day changes.

Most important: Your priorities and values will always fit.


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Oh, Donna, I wish I knew you in real life! It seems like you have given up a lot for love, but without resentment toward your mother-in-law. You seem to have such a gentle spirit. I hope I can be the same.\r\n\r\nI feel like I'm in the stage of just beginning to put things in (in my case, metaphorical) storage. I'm giving up a volunteer job I've had for the last few years and a once-a-month book club, just trying to pare away the extras and protect my time for the things I need to hang on to - taking care of my mom and my son and keeping my part-time job. Although I was sad to give up both, I also felt a big sense of relief to have the time open up.

Donna Bates

My life is in storage boxes, literally. I moved in with my mother-in-law who has dementia the day of our wedding in her living room. My things are in clear tubs stacked neatly in the garage, waiting. Anything new or different confuses her. She is not being mean, but because of her condition, not as much a my cell phone can be left on the counter to charge. It confuses her. Your article was very accurate and well put.