Have you ever looked around and realized you have too much stuff? It may be time to downsize. Whether you’re staying in your home or considering a move, it may be time to sort through your prized possessions and find out what you truly can’t live without – and what you can.
If you’re planning on staying in your home and aging in place, downsizing offers an excellent opportunity to rid yourself of unnecessary stuff so it doesn’t hinder your mobility later in life. Filling a house with junk means there is less space to get around, and serious clutter could even cause a fall, a major problem for some seniors.
It’s also a must if you’re planning on moving to a retirement community or apartment. It’s almost certain you will have less space in your new home, and it’s easier to organize your belongings ahead of time.
For adult children and caregivers, broaching the subject of downsizing can be a touchy subject. Seniors often find it’s difficult to imagine life without some of the things they have accumulated over the years. It may just look like an old dish, but it could also be the item that held their first casserole as a married couple. It can be hard sorting through which items are worth keeping for their emotional value, and which can be given a new home.
Here are some tips to consider when undertaking the task:
Make a realistic plan, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Taking on too much at one time can make a big job feel enormous.
Consider taking it one drawer at a time, or even a small time chunk. Achieving a small, practical goal is encouraging and makes the task seem less daunting.
Make it a regular and consistent practice. You will not only rid yourself of unwanted things but also get in the habit of not accumulating more.
Follow through and complete each task you plan before moving on. It’ll help you keep track of your progress, keep you from feeling completely overwhelmed, and give you a sense of achievement.
You could also enlist the help of a specialist. There are many individuals and organizations that offer organizing and decluttering services. If you are short on time or feel too overwhelmed by the task, you can always get help.
Consider donating the “good” items to charity or family members. Finding a new home for some of your cherished possessions can be good for both parties. Donating to a good cause can relieve some of the “guilt” at getting rid of the items. Likewise, family members are often grateful to inherit a valuable painting or a good set of China.
If when you’re finished, you do find it’s time for a new home for you or your loved one, consider talking to a senior housing placement specialist about your options. CarePatrol of Baltimore is a local organization that helps families find assisted living, independent living, memory care and in-home care services free of charge in Baltimore City and County. For more information, contact Paula Sotir, BSN, MGA and Certified Senior Advisor, at (410) 844-0800 or [email protected] You can also find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CarePatrolBaltimore.