If you’ve lived at the same address for several years, the thought of decluttering or downsizing may seem like an almost insurmountable task.
Even if you’re not thinking of moving, experts say the state of your living environment affects your wellbeing, so it’s worth taking control.
What is Clutter?
‘Clutter’ is the term we use for the assorted objects which tend to gather (and multiply!) in any confined space, such as the kitchen benchtop, spare bedroom, garage, or even the entire house.
Like any big task, the old adage “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” holds true. Trying to tackle everything at once quickly leads to overwhelm, so choose one (relatively easy) area or room to start with.
Why Is it So Hard to Declutter?
There are many reasons why decluttering tends to get relegated to the “too hard basket” – do any of the following sound familiar?
Sentimental Reasons: When we grow attached to things, it is often the story behind the object which makes it precious to us – eg gifts from our spouse, trinkets that remind us of holidays abroad, or handmade treasures by our children or grandchildren.
Guilt: So many of us have been raised with the mantra of “waste not, want not”, so we feel guilty about getting rid of items that are still perfectly serviceable.
Fear of Missing Out: The grandkids know it as ‘FOMO’, but it affects seniors too! We worry that we will miss the item once it’s gone. Take a photo if it’s the memories you’d miss; otherwise, remember you can always borrow or buy it should the need arise.
Physically Demanding: Decluttering is hard work, and as seniors, it’s not as easy as to get down on our hands and knees to clean out the kitchen cupboards!
Decision Fatigue: The decluttering process requires a lot of brain power; as fatigue sets in, we become irritable and our decision making suffers. This is another reason why tackling the clutter in small bursts is a much better idea.
Being confronted with too many choices can be overwhelming, so start with two questions that require a simple “Yes/No” response:
- 1.Have you used it in the last year?
- 2.Do you absolutely love it?
If you answer no to both, it’s time for that item to go!
This time we are narrowing it down to three choices:
1. Throw it out: While it’s the easiest solution, it’s not necessarily the best for you (because you’ll end up carrying around guilt instead) or the planet (as our growing landfill problem attests). However if it’s broken, damaged, or missing a piece – throw it out!
2. Give it away: For items in decent condition, you may know of a family member or friend who would appreciate your cast-offs; or you could donate them to charity.
3. Sell it: It takes a bit of effort, but can generate extra income. You could hold a garage sale or list the items on websites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. If you’re not internet savvy, perhaps a younger member of the family could help.
Get Expert Help
If decluttering is a job that you would prefer to avoid, there is always the option to outsource.
At Ormiston Rise, we can put you in touch with local businesses which specialise in helping seniors declutter or downsize. If you’re ready to leave the clutter behind and enjoy a stress-free environment, we think you’ll love our retirement village – call Jodie on 3139 8214 today to arrange your personal inspection!
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