Spring is here! The grass is green, the flowers are beginning to bloom, and at last, the warm weather has arrived. Spring means renewal – it’s the perfect time to start your decluttering project.
Decluttering can be a daunting task. But with a few decluttering tips, the results can feel truly uplifting — like a breath of fresh spring air.
Why Should You Declutter?
We’re all consumers, so it’s normal to accumulate possessions once deemed necessary or fashionable but that no longer offer us value or pleasure. These items crowd us and disrupt what should be a serene living space. Often, drawers, closets, or even rooms become crowded storage spaces for little-used or unwanted bric-a-brac. In addition to being unsightly, clutter can create anxiety – mess equals stress. Decluttering can contribute to more open space in your home and more “zen” in your life.
Decluttering is good to do at any age, but if you’re considering a move to a senior living apartment, downsizing your clutter and unwanted possessions is an important step before moving. Most senior-living communities offer a variety of residential options, right-sized for a low maintenance and easier lifestyle, and likely smaller than your current home. Clearing the clutter now means less to clean now and less to pack later.
Get Organized to Stay Organized
Every successful project starts with a plan. Here are six tried-and-true steps* to make your task easier:
- Before you start, stock up on garbage bags, empty boxes, tape, markers, paper towels, and cleaning products.
- Choose one room to tackle at a time. The garage or a closet is often a good place to start. Don’t move on to another room until you’ve finished the first. And know that it will take days or even weeks to sort through each room.
- Sort. Put everything in the room into four categories: Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash. A good rule of thumb: With few exceptions, if you haven’t opened a box or used an item in a year, it probably is not a necessity.
- Take your time – and set a timer. If you’re unsure about an item, place it in the Keep box for now, but plan to revisit items in that box again in a month. At some point, you’ll need to decide whether you can live without it. Decide on a block of time each day – say, 30 minutes – for your sorting sessions. “Marathon” decluttering sessions will leave you feeling overwhelmed and burned out.
- Make it fun. Put on some of your favorite music. Invite a friend to help. Plan on a treat at the end of the day: maybe ice cream, a favorite cocktail, or special dinner.
- Give family a say. Consider inviting adult children or other family members to assist in the sorting process. They will surely claim some of the items placed in the Sell or Donate boxes.
Clothes, Kitchens, and Books
- Reduce closet clutter. Promise yourself that in order to keep an item of clothing, it must meet two criteria: 1. It must fit. 2 It should be in style. A good rule is, if you haven’t worn it in two years, donate or discard it.
- Clear the kitchen. Match lids to every container, then toss anything without a mate. It’s worth noting that if you’re considering a move to a senior living community, they’ll probably offer a meal plan. So, you may be able to significantly pare down kitchen/cooking items.
- Find a new home for books. It can be hard to part with our favorite literature. But books take up space, they’re heavy – and those stories are almost always available if you want to read them again. What should you do with books you decide not to keep? Some libraries accept book donations, or you may have friends or family members who might be interested in some of your titles. Outdated reference books and the like may need to be discarded.
Make a Start!
Take a deep breath of fresh spring air, and make a plan to start to tame the clutter. Remember, you don’t have to do it all in a short period of time. But with each reduction in clutter, you’ll probably find that you’ve alleviated some of the stress in your life. There’s no time like the present to get started!
And if you don’t feel up to the project, you can always find help. Specialized senior move managers are experts who address the specific needs of older adults. It’s often a hassle-free way to declutter your house – and especially valuable if you are preparing for a rightsizing move. If you’d like to know more about downsizing and decluttering for seniors, and residential options available at McLean,
we’d love to help. Contact us here.
* Resource: https://mylifesite.net/