The children are grown, so now what? If you’re thinking about going smaller and asking yourself this question, it could be time to begin a new chapter and consider the idea of downsizing. Learn how to remove clutter for seniors with these simple tips:
- Cut costs
- Free of home maintenance and upkeep
- Live closer to family
- Start Now, Not Later
- Plan, Prioritize, and Organize
- Use the Yes-No method
- Eliminate the “Maybe”
When starting the task of cutting the clutter, it’s always a good idea to start as soon as possible. Do not procrastinate. The move to Assisted Living could occur unexpectedly, leaving no time to sort through belongings. To help gradually pare down, mark your calendar for a yearly spring cleaning. It’s important you set a date and stick to it, leaving no room for procrastination.
Plan out your steps before you take them. This will help concentrate your project to one specific task at a time. Next, map out a small area and work your way into larger spaces. A good place to start is in closets, drawers, etc. Strategize a manageable task to accommodate your schedule, i.e. a drawer a day keeps the clutter away. Simply, take 15 minutes each day to address a single drawer. Although slower paced, progress is progress – no matter how small.
Use a priority system to group clutter into three zones: throw away, give away, and put away. Discarded items should be the first and easiest to go. These include things that are worn, damaged, and can be replaced. Disposing of unnecessary clutter around the house can add up to make a great difference in the long run. Be diligent when it comes to utilizing the zones. Set strict ground rules for yourself. If you pick it up, you must assign it a zone. Avoid the indecisive fourth, “maybe” zone. It will only cause uncertainty and limit your productivity.
Because we often feel sentimental in connection to things, we become burdened with guilt when deciding to let go. However, by defining priorities and understanding limited available space, making hard decisions should become much easier. For the most difficult items, use the yes-no method. By asking yourself closed-ended questions, you are forcing yourself make logical decisions. “Do I need this many winter coats?” or “Will I use more than one frying pan?” Tip: Eliminate items in multiples! Donate items to nearby shelters, libraries, or host a yard sale. These can decrease the mess as well as raise some additional spending cash. Also to encourage letting go, inquire about the measurements for your new space and use the square footage as a literal guide for how much to keep. Whenever possible, keep things that take up far less space or reformat larger items into smaller spaces, for example, place loose photographs into scrapbooks to preserve and consolidate.
A senior whose living condition has become unsanitary or even dangerous to live in, might display symptoms of dementia. There’s a distinction between holding on and holding on and never letting go. This type of behavior increases the risk for injury. Those suffering from elderly hoarding condition may feel attacked when prompted to dispose of their personal items, so use caution and sensitivity.
At Regency Retirement Village, our residents are strongly encouraged to spruce up their own spaces with personal belongings. Doing so can take the stress of moving from a home to an Assisted Living center. For more information on Regency Retirement Village, call one of our administrators today at (205) 752-5500.