After decades of working, taking vacations, raising kids, and keeping up with fashion trends, it’s only natural to accumulate a wide range of possessions — some that have probably been buried in your attic, basement, drawers, kitchen cabinets and closets for years. Today, having a home filled with stuff you no longer use or enjoy can not only make it feel smaller, but experts are discovering clutter can create anxiety. 

So if you’re looking to organize your home or are thinking about downsizing to a retirement community like Peace Village, this blog post offers 12 organizing and decluttering tips to help you feel better about where you live.

Decluttering Tips

  1. Go slow: If you can, take your time. You didn’t collect all this stuff overnight, so you might not be able to let it go overnight. A couple of weeks to a month or even several months is more realistic.
  2. Empty the trash: Grab a trash bag and walk through the space, throwing away anything broken, damaged or actual trash.
  3. Keepers: Hang on to the things you use, need, and that bring you joy or have sentimental value. They’ll help keep your home feeling like you. In fact, you might start with the stuff you know you want first. 
  4. Start small: Rather than starting somewhere big like the living room, start in an area with little emotional attachment like the laundry room or linen closet.
  5. Collect favorites: If you collect something specific like shot glasses, wind chimes or teddy bears, you’ve probably been gifted a lot over the years. Rather than taking them all with you, just pick your favorites. If you want, take high-resolution photos of the rest of your collection, and then have them made into a photo book that can sit on your coffee table or mantel.
  6. Stop acquiring: If you’re downsizing or decluttering, it’s probably a good idea not to add to what you have. If you do add something, make sure to also get rid of something.
  7. Label your photos: Collect all your photographs and write the names of the people in them on the back. If you don’t know the people in a photo, toss it. Then you can give photos to the people in them or their family.
  8. No more paperwork: Get rid of tax returns after seven years, and don’t keep bank statements you can access online. 
  9. Only one: You’ll probably find you have a lot of duplicates of certain things. This is especially true in your kitchen. If you have two or three spatulas and ladles, a couple of oversized stockpots, and four different-sized cookie sheets, it may be time to get rid of your extras. One important decluttering tip is to reduce down to just what’s needed.
  10. Yes or no: Take a hard look at every item you pick up. If you use it regularly, keep it. But it’s time to let something go if it’s been sitting in a closet or on a shelf for a year or more.
  11. Heirlooms: If there are certain pieces you plan to leave to your family, consider giving those gifts now. That way you can enjoy seeing their reaction when they get it and know your items are going to a safe place.
  12. Unpack your emotions: It’s perfectly natural to struggle a bit with nostalgia and want to reminisce as you declutter. Take time to tell stories and remember the good times.

Take the First Step

Letting go of years of accumulated possessions can feel like a daunting task, but it can also be a liberating experience. Having less stuff to organize, clean and maintain can free you up to focus more on family, friends and special interests. As you simplify your life, if you’d like to take the next step of moving to a maintenance-free community — like Peace Village — contact us to schedule a personal visit. You can also find a Peace Village floor plan that fits your lifestyle and budget here.