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Practical decluttering tips for seniors

Two older adults exchanging practical decluttering tips for seniors while sitting on a bench

 

Two older adults exchanging practical decluttering tips for seniors while sitting on a bench

Reaching a certain age means you’ve likely accumulated many possessions over the years. You’ve bought many clothes, read many books and maybe even raised a few children that required some items as well. As a result of a long and eventful life, your home might be feeling a bit congested. And for seniors, getting rid of unnecessary belongings is not only a matter of aesthetics. Decluttering plays an essential role in keeping your home safe and your mind sharp. With that said, it’s important to remember that downsizing, for older adults, can be highly tiring both physically and emotionally. Because of this, we have compiled a list of a few practical decluttering tips for seniors that should make this challenging task a bit easier to overcome.

Being well-prepared will make decluttering easier for seniors

The first step to tackling any demanding project is preparation. If you pay attention to a few details before you start decluttering, you are more likely to avoid any setbacks and feelings of discouragement.

Make sure you are in good health

Feeling well both physically and emotionally is vital for a successful decluttering experience. Downsizing on your possessions requires a bit of elbow grease and, unless you feel strong enough, it can leave some severe consequences on your health. Additionally, getting rid of items that hold sentimental value can be somewhat emotionally draining, so make sure you are in the right state of mind for the task.

A healthy and happy older woman enjoying her day on a balcony.
Your safety and health should be your top priority, so make sure you’re feeling good before decluttering.

Caption: Your safety and health should be your top priority, so make sure you’re feeling good before decluttering.

Alt-tag: A healthy and happy older woman enjoying her day on a balcony.

Gather supplies

Gathering everything you need before you start decluttering will significantly facilitate the process. Different types of boxes, bags, and storage bins will keep everything organized, while cleaning tools and supplies will make it easier to keep your home spotless.

Ask for help

Let’s face it, decluttering can be not only extremely tiring but boring and maybe even lonely as well. An easy way to make it less so is to get some company. Your children, grandchildren, or other family members can help take some weight off of your shoulders. They will likely be willing to take some of the items you no longer wish to keep, as well. Lastly, your helpers’ support and objective point of view will ensure things go smoothly.

Declutter one room at a time

Once you’ve taken your time to prepare and plan everything out, it’s time to get to work. When dealing with large amounts of clutter, it’s easy to end up with an even bigger mess than when you started. To avoid this, make sure to tackle one room at a time. You can set aside a day or two for each area. By doing this, you will ensure the rest of your house is in order which will help if you start to feel overwhelmed and in need of rest.

A clutter-free room.
Decluttering one room at a time will ensure your home stays organized during the process

Caption: Decluttering one room at a time will ensure your home stays organized during the process.

Alt-tag: A clutter-free room.

Sort your belongings into piles

To keep everything organized along the way, you will want to sort your belongings into piles:

  • A donation pile for things you want to gift to friends, family, or charity
  • A sell pile for items you want to pass on to others via online marketplaces, for example
  • A keep pile for things you use, need, or don’t want to get rid of
  • A discard pile for damaged, broken, or otherwise unusable items

Additionally, it would be a good idea to set aside a box for things you are unsure whether you want to keep. Certain belongings might be useless or simply unnecessary from an objective point of view, but they have sentimental value in your eyes. Forcing yourself to get rid of these items won’t make the experience of decluttering too pleasant. Because of this, it is better to give yourself some time to think. And if you find it too hard to discard some of your possessions, you can still keep your home clutter-free by renting a storage unit. Keep in mind that temperature control is sometimes crucial depending on where you live and what you want to store. A climate controlled storage unit will keep your valuable belongings safe and give you some much-needed peace of mind.

Bring some fun into decluttering

If, as a senior, you’ve held on to some things for many years, it‘s easy to understand why you might not look forward to letting them go. Therefore, one of the essential decluttering tips for seniors is to keep it positive. Whether you want to listen to your favorite tunes while working or treat yourself to delectable dessert after a long day, make sure you have something to cheer you up. Rewarding yourself during the process will help avoid any negative emotions and ensure you stay on track.

And if you don’t feel like this is enough, try to focus on the positive changes decluttering will bring into your life. A clutter-free home will keep you safe as you won’t have to lift heavy boxes or dig through messy closets to get to what you need. Tripping hazards are less likely to come across in well-organized homes as well. You can even use the newly empty space as a nook for practicing your hobbies, or you can create a playroom for your grandchildren!

A senior woman reading a book in her organized home.
A decluttered space will make you want to enjoy your hobbies more often

Caption: A decluttered space will make you want to enjoy your hobbies more often.

Alt-tag: A senior woman reading a book in her organized home.

Maintain an organized home

Once you’re done decluttering, it’s time for some well-deserved rest in your neat home. However, remember that rest doesn’t mean you should forget about everything you’ve been working on in the past few days. Even the best decluttering tips for seniors will be futile unless you stay on top of decluttering and organizing in the future. Before you decide to store a specific item, ask yourself whether you need it or is it just going to collect dust. Being more mindful of the things you keep in your home will help you maintain order in the long run.

These practical decluttering tips for seniors will make the process of downsizing significantly easier. If you prioritize your physical and emotional wellbeing, you are bound to end up with a positive experience. Keep in mind that a clutter-free home will improve your life quality, but you should never force yourself to get rid of things that are dear to your heart. Balancing between being organized and being sentimental is vital for a successful decluttering session.

Meta description: Getting rid of clutter can be physically and emotionally draining, especially for older adults. Because of this, we have compiled a list of a few practical decluttering tips for seniors that should make this challenging task a bit easier to overcome.

Author: Lindsay Denton

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