Decluttering before a Move to a Retirement Community

  • December 23, 2019

The process of downsizing often begins with decluttering. If you are contemplating relocating to a retirement community in the months ahead, getting rid of unwanted and unused items now can jumpstart preparations for the move. Mental health experts also say decluttering—whether in anticipation of a move or not—is energizing and uplifting.

Proven health benefits of decluttering your home include:

  • Less risk of a fall: From piles of old magazines to stacks of outdated clothes, navigating around clutter increases the risk for a fall. Clearing out excess items gives you more room to safely store possessions and lowers the risk for a fall.
  • Reduced allergens: Unless you are faithfully wiping down your clutter, chances are it’s covered in dust and other allergens. By getting rid of it, you clean up your home’s air and environment.
  • Improved mental health: Whether you realize it or not, clutter can amp up anxiety and prevent relaxation. Depending on the severity, clutter may even lead to sleep problems. When your home is tidy and clean, you can relax and enjoy it.

If you aren’t sure how to get started, we have a few tips to help.

4 Tips for Decluttering Your Home

1. Make a first pass through the home.

Get started by grabbing a trash bag and a couple of boxes. Make a quick pass through the home to get rid of items you don’t need. When you take an objective look at every room, you’ll probably be surprised at what you find.

Have one box for items to recycle and another for those you want to donate. Dispose of everything else.

2. Purge the paper.

Whether it is outdated catalogs or old credit card statements, paper accounts for a lot clutter in our homes and lives. If you can reduce the amount of paper you have to manage, tidying up is much easier.

For many people, junk mail is a constant battle. To lower the amount of junk mail you receive, place yourself on the National Do Not Mail List. You can also email catalog companies and ask to be taken off their mailing list.

It’s also essential to sort your mail every day. Don’t put it off until later. Recycle or shred everything you don’t need immediately.

3. Clear out the closets.

It’s amazing how much “stuff” can accumulate in closets in a short period of time. The longer you’ve lived in the house, the more likely it is that you have a lot of clothes, shoes, and accessories you don’t need.

Work through every closet in the house applying the 12-month rule. If you haven’t worn or used an item in the last year, you may not need it.

Box up clothing you don’t need and make frequent trips to donation drop sites. Putting off the drop-offs might allow things to work their way back into your closet. Use this same approach with items stored in the kitchen, attic, and basement.

4. Downsize your holiday décor.

Holiday décor accumulates over the years. Many of us buy new, leaving the old boxed up in the basement. Before you take this year’s decorations down, go through everything you aren’t using. Keep in mind that many charitable organizations accept holiday items. Veterans centers, nonprofit preschools, and domestic violence shelters are a few.

Downsize to the Right Size Housing during Retirement

By decluttering your home now, you make the process of selling your home and moving easier when the time comes. If the idea of downsizing feels overwhelming, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, professionals can help.

Senior move managers can assist with every detail of a move from hiring a moving company to overseeing an estate sale. "How to Hire a Senior Move Manager" will help locate a qualified professional near you.

If you have questions about retirement communities or would like to tour a Five Star Senior Living community, please call (617) 796-8387. One of our experienced team members will be happy to help!


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