Most of us have areas of our homes designated as storage areas. But oftentimes those storage areas spill over into other areas of the home as increasingly more memorabilia is saved with the thought of, “I can’t get rid of this. I may want it someday.”
So, what happens when “someday” never arrives, and those heaps of things are getting to be more of an encumbrance than a benefit? For seniors who’ve gathered an entire life of mementos, it can feel impossible to deal with the job of deciding what to do with everything through the entire declutter and downsizing process that a lot of older people experience in later years.
One helpful tip to determine what is kept and what is either repurposed, recycled, given away or thrown away is to ask yourself for each item: “Does it spark joy?” This tactic, based on the approach in Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” enables significant decluttering as well as an opportunity to revisit the past and come to peace with it. This process can be difficult or even emotional, but the end result is liberating.
A change in mindset helps make a big difference between the difficulty of downsizing and the convenience of ensuring an older adult’s home is well organized. A term has even been invented to get rid of the negative connotations of “downsizing”: “rightsizing”. “Rightsizing” is used as a way to celebrate changes in the next life phase by making one’s living environment better suited for that phase of life. It places the focus on cherishing the things being kept, instead of on the loss of items that may, in point of fact, have simply been gathering dust.
Home Matters is available to help seniors declutter and organize the home, and can coordinate larger scale work such as removing home furniture along with other large items. Our helpful caregivers are also available to share in reminiscing over beloved treasures, going through picture albums, and being attentive as the senior shares life experiences, in addition to hands-on help with the “rightsizing” project itself. Call us for assistance.