Go Clutter-Free this January
As seniors transition into smaller homes or assisted living facilities, they may be faced with a huge part of their past — stuff! A life well lived often has the memories to prove in the way of souvenirs, gifts, and other décor and items that after a while can begin to clutter up a space. Decreasing clutter can be difficult but also very cleansing and freeing. And a clear, clutter-less space is also safer for seniors.
Fellowship Square offers tips for clearing out the clutter this year.
There is a fine line between décor and clutter. So consider removing clutter for a fresh take on the design of a space. For example, a lot of old frames on a side table collecting dust may display happy memories but may also contribute to a dated look. Select a few special photos to hang on a wall, then tuck the others into photo albums or have them digitally converted to take up even less space.
This also goes for knick-knacks. Items that have been collected over the course of a lifetime can start to become cluttered. Consider cutting these items down by half and boxing up the rest, displaying only a few key items that hold the most emotional significance.
Books, newspapers, and magazines tend to stack up and can easily become clutter or even a trip hazard. Once a book is finished, pass it along to a friend or loved one or donate to a local library. Unless it’s a favorite book that will be read again and again, it has served its purpose. Recycle old newspapers (some magazines can also be recycled), and shred and recycle old paperwork that is piling up.
Clothing and shoes tend to take up more and more space over the years. However, most people only wear a portion of their wardrobe on a regular basis. Donating these items to a local shelter can give them another life and clear some space in the closet.
Beyond the closets, kitchen cabinets tend to collect clutter. A zillion mugs from past travels or complete sets of plates for dinner service for 12 may not be needed anymore. Keep some special mugs and consider passing fine china down to children or other loved ones that will keep it in the family and have more use for it.
Speaking of heirlooms, it’s likely that family members would love to have some part of their beloved senior’s past to use or display in their own home. If there are larger or antique furniture pieces that are no longer being used or special items of significance, pass them along. Those items are sure to be cherished for many more years to come.
Seniors that aren’t quite ready to give up all their goods but would like to live a more clutter-free lifestyle might consider packing up items that are cherished but not actually used every day and putting them in a storage unit. This is a temporary fix, of course, as these items will need to find a new home eventually. However, this step can help seniors clear their current space, particularly if a downsizing transition is imminent, and they can deal with the items piece by piece at a later date.
In the name of safety, clutter that interferes with clear pathways and lighting should definitely be tackled first. As seniors age, injury from falls becomes a realistic danger. Simply clearing out the clutter can help seniors avoid injury from a trip or fall that could have been avoided. Fellowship Square invites seniors to go clutter-free this January in the name of safety!