By: Darleen Mahoney
You have a lot of stuff that you have collected over the years! You have a lifetime of beautiful memories and well, just stuff! You have artwork that you saved from your children and grandchildren, collectibles when collectibles were a fad, clothes that are out of style, paperwork that is no longer relevant. You may even have furniture and old holiday decorations in the basement or attic that just need to find new homes.
Decluttering your home of all these things as an active Senior is a labor of love for your family. It will also make it much easier for you to sell your home and make your next move.
Leaving the cleaning out and decluttering of your home to your loved ones can be an overwhelming task for them. It is an emotional journey and physical labor of love that adult children and family members endure on their own. They may not know the family history of what is important in your home and can cause family friction. If you declutter your home now, you can share in the memories and find common ground in your cherished family keepsakes.
Whether you hope to live out your days in your current home, retire to a smaller home, retirement community, or the possibility of a continuing care retirement community. The reality is eventually your home will likely need to be sold. Decluttering of the past to move toward the future is a gift that you not only give your loved ones, but yourself.
Studies have shown that clutter causes anxiety, depression, stress, and general feeling of being overwhelmed. Cleaning and decluttering can be a stress-reliever.
There are also tax benefits to decluttering. If you donate your unwanted items to a charitable organization, you may be eligible for a tax write-off. You can also get very creative in donating or re-selling vintage items to re-sell shops or donating to schools looking for theatre production costumes.
Does all of this sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be! Get organized and make a plan!
- Set aside a weekend or specific timeframe
- Make sure you have supplies: garbage bags, boxes, cleaning products
- Start with one room, then have a plan to go room by room
- Go through everything in that room: Label: Keep, Donate, Trash
- Old Documents, you may want to shred
- Ask your family members to join you
- Keep what is important- not to suggest you throw out priceless mementos, most people find out they do not miss “things” that they get rid of after a clean out. Items that do not serve a purpose or cannot be shared with other family members should find new homes.
While the process of decluttering is giving away, throwing away, and passing along to your loved ones is a process that has an element of an emotional journey with things that tie you of your past. Your memories and family legacies are your true history.