Aging & Clutter

As we age we tend to collect and hold on to things of all sorts. Memorabilia, furniture, clothes, shoes, tools, equipment, trinkets… you name it. We do not often think of the impact these things will have on us in the future.

Seniors (55+)

As a senior you are in a unique time of your life. You may still be running your company or working. Or you are contemplating retirement if not retired. You are experiencing different medical or health events. You maybe caring for parents or even grandchildren. Or any other number of experiences. These experiences can cause a shift in the way you live in or maintain your home. But also consider how your home or residence contributes to these experiences?

Consider the following:

  • Your home needs to accommodate your needs, not things. 10 Reasons Seniors Hang on to Stuff

  • Your home should be healthy to promote your health. Older Adults & Disability

  • The more things you have the more potential for hazardous things or situations to occur as you age.

  • Your home is not a storage unit. (for you or family)

  • Your family/friends may not want the things you are saving to give to them.

  • Your family/friends must manage your things when you are no longer here.

  • Is what you’re holding on to valuable or the memory attached to it?

As you continue to live consider making your living space suited to fulfilling your needs, accommodating certain wants, and offering a space for you to relax and feel peace in.

(Caregivers: If Your Senior Won’t Let Go)

Adults (18 & Up)

As we age our lives change. We start new jobs, open businesses, have children, care for family, and have commitments that change over time. We gather and store things or we accumulate clutter in our homes because of our commitments, lack of time, or lack of energy.

Consider the following.

  • Learn to relinquish things early. Not everything has to be kept

  • Get rid of things you do not need or want.

  • Sell. Repurpose. Give. Recycle. Trash. (Trash only if there are no other alternatives).

  • Learn to not buy as much. Buy the things you need and some things you want. Accumulating Worthless Stuff

  • Discipline can save you greatly in the long-term.

  • Reduce the amount of clothing you have after every season. It is the best time to rid the closet of items that weren’t worn during that season.

  • Teach your children by reducing the number of toys they have. Often children have toys they have only played with a few times.

  • Encourage your elder loved ones to reduce the number of things they have so you won’t have to.

  • Your home is not a storage unit. (for you or family)

As you age you want to ensure you are not developing clutter the older version of you will have to manage.

Ashley Austin-Hill is an Organizer/Consultant with Rules of Arrangement. Her background and experience included organizing, human services advocacy and investigations in youth, disability and geriatric fields.

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