Easy Ways for Seniors to Declutter

It seems every week of the year is some sort of “National ___ Week.” While some are sillier (National Balayage Week and International Clown Week both happen in August), some are more useful reminders. This week is National Simplify Your Life Week—a time of year that encourages us to rid our lives of our physical and psychological clutter.

Clutter—physical or otherwise—is a serious contributor to one’s stress levels. The implications of chronic stress on one’s health are severe, even leading to issues with blood pressure and heart disease. Seniors, in particular, should take whatever steps they can to lower their stress levels. The effects of stress on their body can be severe. So, for National Simplify Your Life Week, try these easy ways for seniors to declutter and make your life a little simpler.

Easy Ways for Seniors to Declutter

Start by setting goals

It’s a daunting task to look at your entire home and decide it’s time to start decluttering. Instead of trying to tackle it all at once, start small with achievable goals. Choose to clean out your guest room one day, your hall closet another, and so forth. You could break it down even smaller, saying you will get rid of a certain number of things a week.

As discussed in our article about when it is time to downsize for seniors, organize your clutter into piles of things to keep, donate, and throw away. Having this clear-cut system will make the process streamlined and eliminate stress.

Avoid multitasking

Some see cleaning and decluttering as the perfect opportunity to put on a television show or a podcast. The background noise may help some focus, however, others may find themselves distracted by it. Instead of focusing on what needs to go, you may find yourself watching or listening to whatever it is you put on.

So, set aside a short period of time—such as one hour—to focus on nothing but going through whatever space you’ve decided to focus on. You may be surprised how quickly you move through things when you don’t have something pulling at your attention.

For items you’re not sure you’re ready to part with, do a 90-day test

You are likely going to stumble across some items that you’re hesitant to part with. This could be an item that you may think could come in handy at some point in the future or something that once brought you great joy. Place these items in one box that is easy to access, and over the course of 90 days see if you reach for it.

It’s possible that you weren’t reaching for these items because you weren’t sure where they were. However, if at the end of the 90 days you find you had no use/desire to use these items, it may be time to get rid of them.

Make an inventory of what you keep

As you start putting everything back away, don’t do so randomly. Instead, take a little extra time to make a list of everything you’re putting away in this location. It can be easy to forget where you’ve put what, especially as an older adult, so having this reminder will make your life easier. Leave these lists in an easily accessible location—such as in the top drawer of a dresser or hanging from an eye-level shelf.

Have help at home as you declutter

Create a maintenance routine

One of the worst parts about decluttering is how long the process takes. That being said, the only reason the process takes so long is because most of us go years before finally sitting down to look through our things. Once you’ve done the initial, major purge, don’t wait years before you declutter again. Instead, create a maintenance routine.

Set a regular interval where you start this process again—such as every season, or every six months. Even once a year would make a world of difference in helping you stay organized.

Declutter emotionally too

Remember: National Simplify Your Life Week refers to both physical and psychological clutter. During this week, take some time to reflect upon anything that could be causing you mental stressors. These could include negative thoughts, worries about the future, or even toxic relationships.

Writing down your concerns is a great way to get all your thoughts out in front of you and find solutions. Talking to your loved ones about whatever is troubling you has also been shown to relieve symptoms of stress. Finally, do something you enjoy to lift your spirits, whether that’s watching a favorite movie or partaking in a choice hobby.

Life is easier with the support of a caregiver

By following these easy tips, seniors can effectively declutter their homes. However, for seniors who require assistance to remain at home, Home Care Powered by AUAF can provide valuable support. Whether it’s physical assistance, companionship, or light housekeeping, professional caregivers can give seniors the peace of mind they need to age in place.

For more information on how our services can benefit you, give us a call at 773-274-9262. We would be happy to help.

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