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  • Lisa Haynes

Decluttering Now: What Senior Move Managers Know About Clearing Out

With the onset of spring and an increasing number of people who have been vaccinated, our thoughts turn to inviting friends and family to our homes again. If clutter has crept into your home while you have been cooped up the past 12 months, now is the time to take action.

This Guardian article offers several good tips from experts for getting started. My favorite is:

“Walk around your house with the biggest cardboard box you can find and just shove it all in there,” she says. “Doesn’t matter if it’s unopened mail, paperwork or files. Whatever it is, get it all into one box. Because then, mentally, you are only dealing with one box. And then when you’re ready to deal with that box, you sit there, in front of your favorite TV show, and you can start going through that paperwork.”

As we work with clients who are decluttering, here are five strategies we recommend:

1. Start small, commit to one drawer or cabinet a day. As you see progress, many people are motivated to keep going. When I have a personal decluttering project, I devote 15-20 minutes to it right after the dinner dishes are cleaned up. You should find a consistent time that works for you.

2. Whether donating or throwing away, here are 10 things you can get rid of now:

  • Excess serving dishes

  • Extra vases

  • Old spices

  • Mismatched storage containers

  • Specialty ingredients used once

  • Extra mugs and reuseable water bottles

  • Old coats, shoes & handbags

  • Expired over-the-counter medications

  • Unused and unwanted personal care items

  • Excess or duplicate home office supplies

3. Clear off and keep flat surfaces clear. Kitchen counters, bathroom counters, bedroom dressers and tabletops have a tendency to accumulate clutter. After you clear them the first time, keeping them clean takes daily effort. Receipts, coins, and junk mail keep coming, so stay committed to putting these things away or disgarding them before they have a chance to take over the space again.

4. Fill your trash and recycling containers every week. Take out a box of junk from the attic or basement, old food from the pantry, excess cardboard shoe or shipping boxes. It is expensive to have a junk pick-up so start early and take advantage of resources available to you.

5. Give yourself permission to let go. If you don’t love it – or haven’t used it lately -- let it go. The fewer things you have, the easier it is to keep them organized … and your living space decluttered.

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