Decluttering for Seniors – 12 Practical Tips and Ideas
Here are decluttering tips for seniors to help you declutter your home. For seniors, decluttering your home is one of the best things you can do to help make your home safer and to make things easier for your loved ones.
Decluttering also comes with some challenges for seniors that tend to struggle with energy and mobility issues. But with a solid plan and determination, it can be done!
If you are a senior citizen, chances are that you have lived in your current home for decades.
This is the place where you have raised your children, made life-long friendships, and dedicated time and effort to your community. Most of your memories are centered in this home and there is comfort in the familiar things surrounding you.
However, over the years, the objects in your home have accumulated until your home has become cluttered and difficult to clean. You know it’s time to declutter your home, but may find getting rid of those items more difficult than you would think.
For many seniors, getting rid of the items in our home feels like we are throwing away or giving away precious members of our life.
However, it is possible to declutter if you follow these few simple tips.
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12 Decluttering Tips for Seniors
#1. Figure Out What You Actually Use and Get Rid of What You Don’t
Set things you can not remember the last time you used but do not want to get rid of just in case you may aside and put them into a box or basket.
If you use the item, put it away and not back into the basket. Anything left after 90 days can go to a donation center or resale shop. This will help you clear out things that are truly not useful to you without stressing over what if you need it.
#2. Start Small and Split Up the Tasks
The idea of getting rid of a lot of your items is overwhelming to most of us. So, it is best to start small and just dedicate 5 or 10 minutes to decluttering every day.
Try decluttering one small area or a certain type of thing at a time to help break it down or make a number of things to declutter each day a goal. Focus on decluttering bit by bit every day over a long period of time.
Start with one room and rid yourself of those items that are no longer useful or that may be broken. It is much easier to get rid of items that we can no longer use and that we don’t feel any real attachment to.
Once you start getting rid of items in your home the process becomes easier.
#3. Get Help
As we get older we have less stamina than we do when we are young. Aches and pains, as well as health problems, make decluttering more difficult for many older people.
So why not enlist the help of family or even a professional when decluttering your home. Having them do some of the heavy liftings will be a great deal of help.
Your loved ones will have to sort through your things one day. Why not make it fun by having you there to tell them stories about the things they find. This is a great bonding opportunity to enjoy with those you love and the extra help can make it a lot easier.
If you are helping a senior parent or grandparent declutter their home, you will need to keep in mind that they will need to set the pace and decide what goes and what stays.
#4. Start by Decluttering Flat Suffices
These areas like tables, counters, and bookshelves can become cluttered very easily. These catch-alls should be the first place you look to get rid of things making dusting easier and allowing you to have less distraction that limits your focus.
Set up an organizer with items that you often use that you sit in these spaces so things like your remote and spare reading glasses are easy to find when you need them.
#5. Declutter Decor and Nicknacks.
While young we often want more decorations in our homes and this want can stick around as we age. But the benefits of an uncluttered space show just how important it is for seniors to declutter these items to help improve memory and focus.
You do not need shelf after shelf of old china. Put this to work now and enjoy it while you can or pass it on to someone in the family that wants it. This will help to keep your home less cluttered and let those beautiful pieces be enjoyed.
#6. Clear Away Hazardous Items
This can mean getting rid of rugs you can not secure, old devices that could be a fire hazard, broken furniture, or items that are likely to fall and could be hazardous if they do.
For this, you may want someone to help you to be sure that you do not accidentally drop a heavy yet harmful item. Remove old medicine bottles and replace them so that you have fresh not out-of-date medications should you need them.
#7. Get Rid of Excess Furniture
While you may have once needed a lot of extra seating or tables, as you age these things can become hazards. A space with too much furniture doesn’t leave enough room to get around.
This is bad for anyone that may have a harder time than they used to but this can be particularly hazardous for those that need mobility aids that need more space to maneuver.
Some furniture items are more likely to tip over. Have things like bookshelves secured to the wall so if you grab on to them to steady yourself they will not tip over. Get rid of things like coat racks altogether.
#8. Pass Down Items to Family Members Who will Cherish them
We all know that we can’t take it with us, but there are still items in our home that are sentimentally precious to us that we find hard to part with.
However, it is much easier to let go of an item if we know it is going to a family member who will really appreciate it.
It’s far easier to give away that dinner set for 12 that you used for every family holiday for 20 years to a family member who loves it and will use for her family’s holiday dinners than it is to donate it to goodwill where it will be sold piecemeal.
By giving these special items away when you are still alive you get the joy of seeing the items going to someone who will really treasure them.
#9. Give Item to Those in Need or Those Just Starting Out
If you are like most seniors you remember how difficult it was when you were first starting out in your home.
Donating furniture and other items you no longer use to a young couple or family in need or just starting out will make it easier to part with some of those items. This is because you know that those items will be used to make fond memories with another family.
#10. It is Easier to Get Rid of Duplicates
None of us needs two or three crock pots or coffee pots, nor do we need duplicates of anything else. These additional items usually don’t have any sentimental value and simply take up space in our homes
So why not donate them to a thrift store or some charitable organization that can pass them onto someone who really could use them. And remember, you can even sell your clutter for cash.
#11. Give Your Kids’ Childhood Memories Back to Them
Instead of hanging onto those old report cards and those Christmas ornaments your children made growing up, why not give them back to your children?
That way they will have those memories to pass down to their children and share with their spouses.
After all, our most precious memories are those memories we share with others and by passing these reminders on to our children, those memories will last generation after generation.
#12. Use a Donation Pick-Up Service
Many areas have a service where you can leave donations on your porch and they will come to pick them up.
This is a great way for seniors to clear away clutter even if they are not capable of loading the car and taking them to a donation center.
Use these services to make it easy to get rid of things without worrying about how you will do it.
(You may also want to read this article on what to do with decluttered items).
The Benefits of Decluttering for Seniors
Decluttering can be particularly useful for senior citizens. After many years you likely have a lot of things in your home that take up space and lead to more cleaning or stress.
Improved Mental Focus
Clutter has been linked to memory problems that can be even worse for aging adults. Removing excess clutter and decorations can make it easier to focus the mind so your mind can focus on what is important.
Less Clutter = Less Cleaning
Less clutter means you have to clean less to get everything done. For seniors that may struggle to keep up with housework, by decluttering you leave yourself with fewer items to dust or put away on a regular basis.
Decluttering items like furniture from your home can make it easier to navigate with walking aids and prevent falls that can lead to injury.
Decluttering Makes it Easier for Your Family to Handle Your Affairs
By decluttering your home you are making it easier for your family to handle your affairs when you are gone.
Many people do not realize that the clutter that build-up over our lifetime leads to our loved ones having to sort through it all. This can be a heartbreaking experience and a lot of stress that can be avoided but doing a little decluttering regularly.
You can Make Extra Income by Selling Decluttered Items
Decluttering can be a great way to increase your income when you live on a fixed income as a senior.
Take the time to put items you have decluttered up for sale to help bring in some extra money while making your home more accessible and easier to clean.
However, there are some things you can do that will make it easier for that older individual to part with some of that clutter.
Decluttering Tips for Seniors – Conclusion
It may be somewhat more difficult for seniors to declutter due to memories attached to many of the objects in their homes. However, it can be done as long as you remember that giving away those objects doesn’t mean you are abandoning your memories, but rather you are helping to create memories in other people’s lives.
With a solid plan and a few tips to help make it easier you can declutter your home and make it easier to enjoy your life in your home or prepare to downsize.
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