Most older adults who are looking to downsize into a smaller home or move into a retirement community have lived in their current home for decades. Over the years, your belongings can accumulate, and you may not realize how much stuff you have until it is time to move.
It is highly important that you go into your new home with only what you need, which means it is crucial to declutter and organize your items before your move.
Now, this is easier said than done, as the items you have collected over the years typically are kept for their sentimental value, so it can be difficult choosing what you want to let go of. As professional full-service senior movers who offer professional decluttering services, we have created our guide to successfully decluttering your home before your senior move.
For more tips, check out Redfin’s article on Moving as a Minimalist! You’ll even find a tip from us on the list about prioritizing more sentimental items during your decluttering process.
What is Hoarding and What Causes Us to Hold on to Items
Everyone over the years begins to accumulate clutter in their home, areas like their basement or storage closets become a “catch-all” area where most say “we will get to it later” but rarely ever do.
In some more extreme cases, this can lead to hoarding. Hoarding is something that is usually triggered by trauma caused by grief or new surroundings. This is more prevalent in older generations as they hold on to sentimental items to hopefully one day pass on to family.
What needs to be realized though, is most of the items that are being kept are not wanted by anyone. When it comes to someone who is a hoarder, it is hard to realize this and to also realize
that decluttering your home of these items will alleviate stress and bring happiness to themselves and their home.
Take it Room By Room
Decluttering your home is not something that can be done within a few hours. This process typically takes multiple days, or even weeks, even if multiple people are helping out. We recommend going in with a game plan and tackling your home room by room.
By giving yourself the goal of tackling one or two rooms a day, you can make the task less overwhelming and stressful. This will also allow you to properly go through each and every item in your home and decide on what you would like to do with it.
Going through each room in your home individually from your living spaces to your kitchen to your laundry room to your bathrooms gives you a clear game plan for you to accomplish.
Declutter Visual Clutter First
The first thing you will want to do when you begin to declutter a room is to take care of the visual clutter first. This means anything from paper clutter you may find on your coffee table to miscellaneous pots and pans found on your kitchen counters.
Once you have tackled the apparent mess in your home, then you can begin to tackle the tricky areas like closets and storage spaces.
Take Everything Out of Cabinets and Drawers
When decluttering your kitchen or decluttering your closet or bathroom, these will tend to be spaces that hold a lot of clutter. When it comes to any room with plenty of storage spaces, take it slow and take it drawer by drawer and cabinet by cabinet by taking everything out of each one.
For example, in your bathroom, start with your medicine cabinet and take everything out. Lay all of your items out on your counter and begin to separate those items into piles. For this, look at any expiration dates of medicine and what bathroom products you no longer use. From there, tackle your linen closet or the cabinet under your sink and slowly but surely the how space will be decluttered.
Create Designated Piles
Decluttering and organizing your items is not as simple as a yes or no pile. We do recommend starting with a yes (keep) and a no (don’t keep) pile to begin with, but, after you have separated your items, you will want to circle back to your pile of unwanted items and begin to separate them into more distinct piles.
Some of the categories we recommend using include:
- Give to Family or Friends
- Dispose Of
By separating your unwanted items into these distinct piles, it can give you a better plan of action as to what will be done with them once you are finished decluttering your home.
Donate Your Items to a Local Charity
Once you have decided which of your items are still in good shape, but you do not wish to try and sell them, it is time to find a place to donate your unwanted items. We highly recommend that you consider donating to a charity in your area to support your local community.
Some of the Charities in the Northern Virginia area include: – Salvation Army – Goodwill – AMVET – Habitat for Humanity – A Wider Circle – Unique
Donating to a local charity in your area is always a great option as it not only gives you an easy way to part ways with your unwanted items, but you know that your items will be going to a great place and potentially another family who will love and cherish your items.
Hire A Professional Organizer
When decluttering your home, it is great to have an unbiased opinion to help you through this process to make decision-making a bit easier. By hiring a professional decluttering and organizing company, they can help you to sort through all of your items and, in most cases, take care of any and all of your unwanted items and either sell, donate, ship, recycle or properly dispose of them.
A professional organizer can also help you to organize your items before moving into your new home so you can move into a clean, organized space.
By keeping our decluttering tips in mind, you will be able to keep clutter-free as you move into your new home. You can have confidence knowing that you are only bringing the items you need with you into your new space so it can stay organized.