Downsizing and decluttering as a senior


Ah! The transition from Daylight Saving to Standard Time, when we turn back the clocks and gain another hour in the morning. Whether you’re a “morning person” or not, it’s nice to have the additional time in the morning to get some things done. Which makes me think of a question people often ask when they’re planning a move: “When is the right time to start downsizing and de-cluttering?” There isn’t a set-in-stone answer, but it is fair to say the sooner you start, the less stressful it will be when it’s time to move.

Generally speaking, people who’ve lived in their homes for 10, 20, 30 or more years, have accumulated a lot of things. And it’s likely that the objects stowed away in the attic, closets, basements, and even the garage don’t get used much anymore. I’ve got things in my attic that I haven’t seen in 16 years. It’s only natural to put stuff away thinking you’ll use it again, and before you know it 10 years have passed by and you never needed that “thing.”

If you’re planning a move anytime in the future – even a year or more down the road – start taking action today. Begin with an assessment of what you’ve got, what you need and want, and what can be purged from your belongings. Then, if you are physically able, start sorting and organizing a room, closet, or cabinet at a time. Heck, start with the junk drawer in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter where you start, just get started.

When considering whether to keep or dispose of an item, ask yourself if you really still need it. Do you use it, cherish it, or just like looking at it? If you are holding onto things simply because of a perceived monetary value, consider selling them now. Let someone else use and enjoy them like perhaps you did in the past. If you have accumulated multiples of a particular thing, keep one and let the rest go. If an item has sentimental value and you still enjoy owning it, then by all means, keep it!

The process of downsizing and decluttering can take some time. Don’t expect to downsize an entire house over a weekend or even a month of weekends. Get started and make a commitment to work on a room, or any space, one-at-a-time and at a comfortable pace. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling much better about the volume of stuff you have.

We’ve got that “extra hour” in the morning now. Use it to start sorting and purging the excess from your life. Downsizing and de-cluttering will leave you feeling “lighter,” with less stuff to pack and move when the time comes. Don’t wait, get started and enjoy the sense of accomplishment!

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