Whether your home is just getting overrun with clutter or may actually be haunted by the ghosts of all those “going to need it later” items; summer is a great time to clear out all that clutter. No matter which space you’re working on, these universal downsizing and decluttering tips can help keep you focused as you go.
Downsizing and Decluttering Tips
1. Focus on Present Usefulness
This is a big issue for most people. Getting rid of things, despite the fear of needing it later on, can be stressful. But rather than focusing on this future hypothetical, try focusing more on the present. Does this item help make your house a home? To pull from Marie Kondo, does it spark joy?
Simply switching the way you think about the things you own can help you manage some of the fear associated with decluttering. Think about what it does for you now (do you use it or does it make you happy at the moment) and not that you might want it later. The things you keep should be useful or beautiful.
2. Handling Expectations for Handing Items Down
You’ve probably heard lately that the younger generation ‘doesn’t want your stuff.’ Well, there’s a reason for that. They don’t. There is a minimalist mentality that is prevalent in the younger generations and most people just want things that they use or a few sentimental things. Some people are also thinking of giving things to people too young to appreciate them. If you have young grandchildren, don’t try to give them your fine china set. A child isn’t going to be interested. What you could do is ask them if they want anything. If not, that’s alright too.
The point is, it’s not a good use of your space to save items for the younger generation unless you already know they are going to want them.
3. Donating Heirlooms
On the other hand, there are likely things you own those other members of your family will want. But how will you know if the people who want them will appreciate them?
This can be especially true for seniors downsizing to move to a senior living community. If you are downsizing for this purpose, you are likely concerned with abstract things like legacy connected to certain items rather than an attachment to the item itself. For help letting go of sentimental things, check out this article about getting in the giving spirit.
For these items, it is best to put together a plan. In case the next generation doesn’t want them, we suggest getting yourself in the mindset of positive giving — or — the giving spirit. Rather than thinking of the loss of the item or heirloom, this mentality embraces the idea of utility and spreading the spirit the object represents. This means researching charities and donation centers that could really benefit from your donation so it will go to someone who appreciates it. This can take time because it’s more about you finding something you feel good about supporting, so plan ahead. This can lead to downsizing and decluttering becoming a deeply rewarding experience.
4. Stop Accumulating Stuff
This is a no brainer, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Many people buy things simply because of an old device or appliance breaks. This scenario is easy to manage. Buy the new thing and throw the old thing out. However, what about all those things that aren’t replacement items? Well, when we continue to shop for additional rather than replacements, accumulating stuff is a natural by-product.
We don’t often think about that one book we bought on impulse as the beginning of three boxes of clutter in the basement, yet that’s how they start. Clutter builds up slowly over time, with one little purchase here and another one there.
By becoming more conscientious of our buying habits, we can become less busy decluttering our stuff.
5. Paperwork and the Security Risk
Paper is a sneaky accomplice to clutter since we don’t think of it as taking up much space. But in actuality, it can be a security risk. Many papers lying around your house could have sensitive information like social security and bank account numbers. Letting these things pile up or just lay around in folders could put you in a vulnerable place — especially when moving– should any of these documents get misplaced.
It’s a good idea to regularly go through your paperwork and purge the things you don’t need in a safe way. We recommend a paper shredder.
Bonus Decluttering Tips
If you’re actually downsizing to move. Don’t move anything that doesn’t have a designated space in your new home.
Also, if you are moving to a senior living community be sure to measure what you plan to keep. This way you can be certain you will have space.
Looking for some other new secrets to living a healthy lifestyle? With this FREE A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want you can learn the ABCs of aging successfully. Download your PDF and start living the lifestyle you want.
Twin Towers is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering patio homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Towers online or at 513-853-2000.