“Someone who has lived a full life can unintentionally accumulate a high volume of sentimental possessions.” (Caring Transitions).
I have apparently lived a full life. I have accumulated a high volume of…stuff. I’ll bet you have, too, as have my other friends, acquaintances, family and everyone else I know or don’t know.
“Supposedly we live in a throwaway culture. We replace our phones every year, throw out clothes that still fit us. Some people even have starter marriages. But we still have storage units.” (Jim Gaffigan).
Did you know that:
– while over 80% of homes have a two or more garage, only 15% use a garage to park a car inside? or that
– over 1/2 of people who rent storage units are storing what wouldn’t fit in their homes even though the average size of an American home has doubled in the past 50 years?
Some behavioral experts believe our accumulation of stuff has to do with our concerns over our mortality. Whether it’s that, or laziness, or disinterest, Sheree Richnow sums up possible results for some of us boomers: “If you are not proactive and don’t have a plan for a less-cluttered life, your children could end up shackled with an emotional and burdensome task some years down the road.” That is not a happy thought.
But where to start?
“Plan for your actual life, not an imagined one,” notes moving experts at extraspace.com. “We’ve heard it all before. ‘One day’ you are really going to use that ThighMaster and take up knitting.”
It’s time to kiss the ThighMaster goodbye.
Lots of people offer suggestions on how best to downsize/rightsize. But I’m with you on this journey, boomers. So let’s get started by identifying simple ways to go about getting rid of stuff. First, many experts suggest asking a friend or two to help you with the process. For me, that is like people who clean their home the day before the “cleaning lady” arrives. I would have to get rid of at least half of my stuff before I would dare ask a friend to help me get rid of my stuff. The point?
Here is a list of common things we can get rid of to jump start our decluttering (courtesy Baby Boomer Bliss):
– any object we don’t love or enjoy
– clothes and shoes that don’t fit, are damaged, or haven’t been worn in over a year
– things that might some in handy someday – but never do
– recipes and cookbooks you’ll never use
– half-finished projects
– photographs, letters, and cards from people we don’t remember
– books we’ll never get around to reading
– email and social media clutter
– old toiletries
– expired food and medicine
– old magazines and newspapers
– excess paper clutter in your home office.
Now that we are in our decluttering frame of mind, let’s jump in!
– HAVE A PLAN (where to start, time commitment, goals)
– NOTIFY GROWN KIDS TO COME AND GET THEIR STUFF AND GIVE THEM A DEADLINE FOR REMOVAL
– START SMALL
– let’s clear out at least one room and use it as a work room
– put a big garbage can in the war, I mean work, room, only using one bag for trash at a time
– put a box in the room for to-be-donated items
– have a spot for other people’s items and give a pick up deadline
– have a spot for to-be-sold items if you plan to sell some things
– PLAN TO DECIDE TWICE
– first decision is to get rid of an item
– second decision is what to do with it.
– REMOVE ITEMS FROM YOUR DECLUTTERING WORK ROOM AND FROM YOUR LIFE. AND THEN DO IT AGAIN. AND AGAIN.
“Downsizing is like losing weight. When you lose weight, you gain years of life, energy and independence. There’s no negative in losing weight. And the reality is, there’s no negative in downsizing.” Mary Kay Buysse, National Association of Senior Move In Managers.
We look skinnier already! Good luck in getting rid of your stuff!
Whether you plan to declutter for an hour or two once a week or need to commit to a longer process, here are some really good places to visit for more information:
Good News & Fun Times (“Garages Aren’t for Cars Anymore)
Washington Post Live Chat, 6/13/2016, Susie Danick, co-owner, TAD Relocation, moving and organization tips
values driven interior design, 10/07/2016, “The Secret Baby Boomers Must Use to Get Rid of Clutter!”
Baby Boomer Bliss blog, “How Clearing Clutter Can Make You Happy”
USNews.com, “7 Tips for Removing Junk From Your Home,” Geoff Williams
rjmovingmn.com, “Decluttering Tips for Baby Boomers Preparing to Downsize”
Consumerreports.org, “How to Get Rid of Practically Anything”
(Special thanks Baby Boomer Bliss, rjmovingmn.com, Good News & Fun Times)