With the aging baby boomer generation and life spans extended by advances in medicine and technology, America’s population has an ever-growing predominance of those over the age of 65. Plenty of older people are staying in the same homes they raised their families in, even when facing medical challenges that used to require a hospital or nursing home setting.
It may have been easy to navigate one’s home in younger years but aging in place requires an honest, practical evaluation of belongings and furnishings. Safety first should be the mantra of all homeowners. If there are ample trip factors in a space, we all stand the risk of tripping and falling but falls can be potentially very serious for seniors. Read more
Way back in the day, spring cleaning was the chance to disperse of wood stove leavings and soot, hang the braided rugs over the clothesline and beat the dust and dirt out of them and use vinegar and newspaper to clean windows. Experienced housewives knew to work in one room at a time so the whole house wasn’t thrown into confusion and there certainly were homes that only had 1 or 2 rooms. Clutter didn’t seem to be a problem in the 19th Century but today, it’s as daunting as the cleaning process itself and statistically, we live in bigger homes with a lot more stuff.
One of the most important aspects of decluttering is decision making. Clutter is usually the result of deferred decisions, not knowing what to do with something so it gets put down instead of put away. Trying to make too many decisions in a single decluttering session can bring on a case of “decision fatigue”. The point where our brains are tired from deciding what should go where or even what something’s purpose in our life is. Making constant decisions is one of the reasons that decluttering and organizing sessions are best when kept short. I usually work in blocks of about 4 hours with clients but for the amateur declutterer, it’s best to keep work time to an hour or less or broken up into mini-sessions.
The pioneer housewife had it right when she committed herself to one room at a time. You can use spare cardboard boxes, laundry baskets, empty bins as well as garbage bags and recycling bins for your sorting project but have a box that is dedicated to stuff that needs to be relocated to other rooms and at the end of the session, disperse the items to their proper homes. Every time you leave the room that you are working on is a chance to get distracted in other areas of your home.
Besides having a box or bin for relocating, have a box or bag dedicated to donations, shredding if you’re working with a lot of paperwork or a bin of items to send back to their original owner. You may also find things to sell or consign or list on Freecycle.org. Facebook usually has local Freecycle or generosity groups, a great way to keep usable goods out of landfills.
Be ruthless about the stack of magazines you haven’t read in over 6 months, the clothes you haven’t worn in a year or the craft project that you started ages ago.
If your kitchen cupboards don’t reach the ceiling, you probably have do-dads, vases, knick knacks and what not up there collecting grease and dust. More vases than you’ll ever need? Ask your local floral shop if they would like to have some back, I’ve had success with them taking my excess.
Go for low hanging fruit first, look around a room and pretend you have guests who have just called and are coming over in 10 minutes. What do you try to hide first? Is it worth stashing or trashing? If it went away, would you be truly sorry to see it go? If you put it in a cupboard or drawer, would you remember where it was in a month’s time?
Avoid the perfection trap, you’re not trying to doll up your space for an elaborate glossy magazine photo shoot. You’re trying to edit out the items that you have chased around for years but have never really loved enough to give a permanent home. You don’t have to buy expensive containers and you don’t want to try to live in an unrealistic setting that might look great but isn’t functional.
Include the kids! Some children have trouble throwing away their toys, even if they are broken or unusable. For instance, bath tub squirt toys that take on black mold inside. Encourage your child to give the toy a little memorial as they place their loved one in the trash. “Thanks for sharing so many fun baths with me. I know you’re moldy & unsafe now but I’ll remember you as a great toy” or “I’m sorry you’re broken but we had a lot of fun together, thanks for playing with me”. Taking a picture of your child with the toy before the send off will supply them with a forever memory.
So open the windows for some fresh air, vacuum behind and underneath everything and send stuff that you don’t use, don’t need, or don’t love packing!
It might seem like just another trend, but living with less is of great interest to plenty of people, young and old.
You might think of minimalism as just a trend, but it’s probably more so the result of decades of encouraged consumerism that has exhausted and overwhelmed so many. The 80s and 90s were all about chasing the American dream of having the best of everything, and not just the best, but a lot! Bigger homes, fancy cars, the latest fashions Read more
Another episode from the radio program “Minding Your Manor.” Julie she covers everything home related: organizing, downsizing, productivity, decluttering, home-management, and more.
Life events can sometime overwhelm our spaces, or it seems like some of us just can’t get organized no matter how hard we try. Find out where you fit in.
One question that my clients like to ask is: “Is YOUR home organized?” I answer truthfully that for the most part it is. However, organizing and decluttering is an ongoing, constant process and there are times when my home is in a state of flux due to a temporary situation, such as when there were recent renovations going on. When I see blog posts or magazine articles boasting strategies on how to get organized once and for all, I know that there is some false advertising in that premise. For most of us, stuff is constantly Read more