5 Decluttering Tips for Seniors

Many seniors may find themselves moving into smaller spaces during their golden years. From planning in advance to setting a timeline, this article discusses the top ways to downsize and declutter when moving in with family or into an independent or assisted living community.

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  1. Plan ahead as much as possible. This may seem obvious, but ensuring all estate planning is done in advance is crucial to decluttering. While it’s not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when we think about decluttering and organizing, oftentimes family heirlooms and assets are the trickiest items to divide and disperse — especially if there are multiple beneficiaries involved.
  1. Stay on track with a set timeline. Decluttering 40+ years of stuff can be a daunting task to even consider. But it doesn’t have to be, and a timeline will help. This may be especially helpful for seniors who are suffering from dementia or have difficulties with mobility. By writing it out and setting a timeline for completion, both you and your loved one will have clear expectations about how quickly and efficiently you’ll be able to sort through each room.
  1. Fill one box. (Just one!) Just getting started is sometimes the hardest step. Take a breather and recognize that starting the process of decluttering and downsizing is a big step for your loved one. Filling one box is enough to get started, and soon the rest will follow.
  1. Help your loved one decide on what’s important to keep and what’s not. It’s important here to be helpful, but not judgmental or pushy. Asking questions like, “Are you okay with donating your old nightgowns to a domestic violence shelter?” or “What do you think about giving your kitchen tools to your grandson who just leased an apartment?” gives your loved one the power to say yes or no, and also helps them visualize how their things might help benefit others.
  1. Setting limits. Thirty years of financial records might not be important to keep, but it might not be a bad idea to keep records from the last 5 years. Set limits for each type of item you come across and try to find a reasonable amount to keep.

Ideally, decluttering and downsizing can be a transformative experience for seniors. By throwing away, donating or selling their old items, they’ll have a better handle on their space and more control over the organization of their living area.

Contact us to learn more about how you can transition your loved one into an independent or assisted living community.

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