I recently heard about a woman who moved into assisted living more than a year ago and she absolutely loves it. She is thrilled with the friends she’s made and the activities that are available to her just steps from her apartment door.
That’s not really remarkable. The overwhelming majority of people who move to assisted living are happy with their decision and wonder why they didn’t move sooner.
The reason a friend told me about this woman is because her home is sitting vacant, neither rented nor sold, while she and her children try to decide what to do with her stuff.
Fortunately, this woman can afford to take her time to sort through her possessions, but that isn’t usually the case.
Taking the time to purge your home of unwanted or unnecessary possessions now will give you peace of mind going forward and save your children or other relatives a lot of work later.
One of the best techniques I’ve seen for getting rid of unwanted items is to set out four large bins marked “Trash,” “Recycle,” “Thrift,” and “Family.”
The “Family” bin is reserved for items that might have sentimental value for one reason or another. Truly, one person’s keepsake is another person’s trash, so once family members have had the opportunity to look through the “Family” bin, whatever is left should be moved to a “Thrift” or “Trash” bin.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to declutter, so various experts recommend setting a time-limit, such as 15 minutes, or setting a goal, such as getting rid of 27 things. Deciding to get rid of something doesn’t mean it has no value, it just means it’s no longer useful in your life.
Once you get started, it’s kind of fun to set a timer and see how many things you can find cluttering your home that are broken, out-of-date, expired, empty or otherwise useless. Sorting through kitchen gadgets, dishes and assorted knick knacks is much more difficult.
Useful questions to ask yourself are: Do I love it? Do I use it? Is this an important piece of family history? It’s hard to think of an item worth keeping that fails all three tests.
Developing that mindset will help you create and maintain a home that feels spacious and open. It will also put you in a much better position to downsize when the time comes.
Too often a move to assisted living is delayed because the thought of downsizing to an apartment is overwhelming. At Daystar Retirement Village we have several different floorplans to choose from and residents typically find they have plenty of room for items they truly love or need. Getting rid of the clutter allows people to focus on what’s important and it can be a liberating experience. Even if you aren’t planning a move any time soon, start decluttering today and you’ll feel better for it.
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