Seniors De-clutter Your Place!

Senior living at some point entails the need to de-clutter your environment. Whether it’s because of an accumulation driven by piling things up or from years of acquiring; eventually it interferes with your living space. Even if you know where everything is, there are some people who live in organized clutter.  Eventually those persons find that all that stuff creates stress from looking at it, or it is suffocating them because of the space it takes up. Some are even hesitant to have friends and family over because it has gotten out of hand. The big question is why are you holding on to things you no longer use or plan to use?

Family heirlooms or keepsakes are a big issue for some. “I am saving this to give to my ……..”, do you really know whether that person wants these things. If so then why not go ahead at an appointed time and just give the things to that person so that they may enjoy them while you are still here and release yourself from the clutter. As we age we possess less energy and strength to do lifting, climbing, standing for long periods of time and our focus is not what it used to be. Decluttering for whatever reason takes time and energy. Conquering small projects or a little at a time serves to keep things moving. Large projects tend to be overwhelming in which you tire easily or interest is lost. As seniors we want to be able to live in a safe and comfortable environment. Not one in which we have to be concerned with stuff in the way, you can’t fully enjoy your surroundings this way. More seniors experience falls, scrapes and bruises for this very reason; “stuff in the way”. Try keeping your surroundings in a tidy condition with a limited amount of things, so should you have to move or relocate, you won’t have to worry about a lot of things you left behind. Too often seniors are married to their stuff, which emotionally we all will have to let go of one day.

De-cluttering your living space requires some thought and planning. Make plans to begin before you have to. For instance, attempt to work and de-clutter before an appointed time such as a hospital stay, visit from family and life’s happenings.  A fall or injury is not the time to be trying to get your surroundings organized, even though things happen.  So where do we begin? Set a specific date to start in a small area, preferably one in which your personal things are involved. Doing so gives you the momentum you need to keep going, once you see the progress you’ve made. Space and orderliness brings about a certain amount of tranquility and helps you to feel good about yourself. Even small areas can look spacious when they are not cluttered and are organized. Be careful to set realistic goals, so you can continue to progress. Take your time in completing your tasks so that your overall project will turn out well. This is your home and you set the standards. Should you tire, take a few minutes break, but return to your task and complete the goal you set. Stay focused!!!!

What strategy do you have for deciding where things go? Some people I talked with about this issue said, anything that has not been used or worn within the year, warrants getting rid of. Others have a sorting scheme.

Be sure to clearly label your boxes.      
Sell-yard/garage sale or consignment
Give away-to family, friends,thrift store or other organizations that ask for donations
Retain-have a place to put these and maintain order
Toss-might look into recycling items before trashing
Uncertain- sentimental things you feel unable to part with
Below find an assortment of questions which may help you in making decisions:
Do you really need it
Does it have a specific use
When was the last time you used it and when will you use it again
What action is needed to keep it
Does it have a tax, legal or insurance requirement
Can it be stored digitally
Can I get info somewhere else

One consultant suggested these tips to help de-clutter:
Stash Things: Baskets & Bins
Hang Things: Wall Pockets
Hook Things: Doors or Walls
Hide Things:  Ottomans, window seats and decorative boxes

After you have completed your task to de-clutter; whether it’s your closet, room or house, give it a few days, then go back and look at your results to determine if you might need to do more. Now the hard part, develop a plan to maintain this order by placing things in designated spots or containers daily:
Focus on high trafficked areas to keep them free of clutter because they pose safety issues
Focus on not buying more than you need
After having guests in, peruse the area and collect items that may need proper placement.
Go back and look at those sentimental articles you’re holding on to, place them in an outside storage area. Once they are out of site you may find it easier to let go of them later
Now don’t you feel better having gotten an idea of how to tackle the task of de-cluttering? Go back through this page and make the steps your own. There is no correct way to handle this. Should you one day have to completely downsize, remember the steps are basically the same, but on a larger scale and more permanent.