When Spring rolls around, you always hear, “It’s time for Spring cleaning!” That can be a loaded statement for many people, especially seniors who for some, have lived in their homes for, 30, 40, 50+ years. Where do you even begin? It’s overwhelming to say the least. Instead of Spring cleaning, some people decide to downsize – a term that surely raises people’s blood pressure. Those who make the decision to downsize may have made the decision to move to a Life Plan Community like Westminster Towers. However, Spring cleaning or downsizing has many benefits:
- A decluttered home means a decluttered mind! Sometimes the more stuff you have, the more stress it brings on. For example, you wrote down an important phone number down, but can’t find it under all of the files you have on your desk – those files you’ll get to “tomorrow.” Who wants to spend all of their time searching vigorously for something? How frustrating!
- Improve Memory. The less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to remember. You’ll spend less time asking yourself, “now where did I put that doohickey?”
- Less burden for your children. This may sound heartless, but it’s not fair to have your children go through all of your stuff and decide what to keep, get rid of or donate. Like it or not, your children most likely don’t want that precious family heirloom passed down from generation to generation. Make the decision for them. They’ll thank you for it!
How to get started:
- Set a date and time to get started. It’s best to work in two to three hour blocks during a time you have the most energy. Don’t tell yourself, “I’m going to start this at 2pm” if you usually take a nap then. You’ll have zero motivation and will accomplish nothing. Set goals that you can accomplish by scheduling one room or zone at a time.
- Have your supplies ready. You will need cardboard boxes, packing paper and tape, trash bags, color-coded stickers and sticky notes.
- Create sorting stations. Designate areas to place items you wish to sell, donate, give to family/friends and throw away. Choose a wall and label for each area. Then you can place the items in boxes or trash bags. Black trash bags can be used for trash. White can be used for charity, etc.
- Sort. It’s best to sort all items that are alike together. For example, gather all of your shoes together. When you see them next to each other and how many you have, it can help with the decision-making process. Then, label accordingly. You can place a green sticker on shoes you wish to sell, pink stickers for charities, blue to give to someone, etc.
- Final decision time. Take all items you have sorted to your designated sorting stations. Remove accordingly!
What to keep? What to toss?
- Keep items you love.
- Keep things you have used/worn in the last six months or plan on using/wearing in the next six months.
- Keep items that fit your decor.
- Get rid of any china you don’t use.
- Toss/donate any holiday decor you no longer use.
- Toss/give away any presents given to you that you no longer use. For sentimental people, take a picture of it before getting rid of it.
If you feel like you need some encouragement and hands-on assistance, contact a Senior Move Manager. They are specially trained in helping seniors with downsizing and everything in between. In short, own your stuff… don’t let it own you!
Tips and resources pulled from a presentation from Fresh Start Transitions, LLC. They offer support services for senior adults and those in transition.