Do you really need everything you’ve got? Would downsizing make your home easier to manage? Answering yes is simple.
Getting started and following through with a plan to declutter and downsize? Now, there’s a challenge. But Otterbein SeniorLife can help.
Here are 10 ideas to jumpstart your makeover, rightsize your life, and unleash your possibilities for simpler, fully engaged living.
1. Declutter Briefly and Often
A 15-minute stint, performed regularly, delivers surprising results sooner than you might expect. Set a timer and get to work. You’ll be delighted by how much you get done in such a short amount of time!
2. Add Decluttering to Your Calendar
Make it easier to remember to declutter briefly and often by adding it to your calendar. Daily, weekly, three times a week, or whatever works best for you. Cross it off when you’ve taken care of it.
3. The No-More-Stuff Rule
It’s simple: Just don’t allow any more things in the house in the first place. Not only will this declutter your space, it will help out your finances, too! (No, your spouse didn’t write this one.)
4. The One-In-Two-Out Rule
If you can’t follow the No-More-Stuff Rule, try this one: Whenever you bring a new thing in, get rid of two others. Start by throwing away two pieces of paper for one piece of mail you read.
5. Repurpose Stuff for Charity
Pat yourself on the back for being generous as you give away what you don’t need to family and friends -- or donate it to charity. You can find a donation drop-off location here, or schedule a pickup, maximizing the ease of giving!
6. Downsize Your Storage
With less space at hand, you’ll find it’s easier not to hang on to things. Consider downsizing into a smaller home in an independent living community. You may be surprised by how appealing it is to “start over.”
7. The Clothing Rule
If you haven’t worn an item in the past year, you’ve proven you don’t need it. If parting with your precious garments proves too difficult to bear, start small with cheap, easy-to-replace clothing like socks. Many charities accept lightly worn clothing, and you can even use the donation as a write-off on your taxes.
8. The One-Year-and-Gone Rule
It’s like the Clothing Rule, except it applies to other belongings. If you haven’t put a thing to use during the past year-- a kitchen appliance, a craft project, sets of linens, etc.-- that thing is subject to extra scrutiny. Because chances are, you don’t really need it.
9. Get Help With Your Clutter Problem
No, we doubt you qualify to star in an episode of “Hoarders,” don’t worry. What we mean is, call on a trusted friend or relative to help you sort. He or she won’t have the same emotional attachment you have to those weirdly large spoons in the back of your silverware drawer and can render an unbiased opinion about whether you should keep or toss them.
10. The One-Room-at-a-Time Rule
When you focus on one room and finish it completely, you’ll get that marvelous feeling of success, which is a terrific motivator for moving on to declutter the next room. Turn on your favorite music genre and have fun while decluttering!
When You Can Live With Less: Declutter, Downsize, and Do It
The ultimate decluttering tip? Downsizing. Not only would downsizing force you to follow the steps above, but it could also make your home easier to manage. When it comes to developing your retirement living plans, getting good information while you’re considering your choices can help you in your search for a secure, fulfilling future.
Check out our downsizing guide to walk you through the process step by step.