While decluttering may be all the rage these days, if you’re downsizing the family home in retirement and have a lifetime of possessions to sort through it can seem a monumental task!
There’s no denying it’s a big job. But with planning, the right mindset and maybe a little help, you can get it done. So, whether you’ve committed to downsizing and have a deadline, or simply want to organise your home for a clutter-free life, read on to learn 5 tips to help you declutter in retirement.
1. Work out a time frame
If you’re selling your home, you may have no choice but to crack in and get it done. If this is the case, work out how much time you need and schedule it in. Keep in mind that it will likely take longer than you think and it’s often better to tackle it in smaller chunks of an hour or two at time rather than doing it all in a weekend. If you have more time up your sleeve, you may wish to chip away at it – even 10 minutes a day will see you make progress fast. The important thing is to keep it going and don’t lose momentum once you start.
2. Map it out
Many people find it easier and more efficient to tackle their clutter room by room. The order you choose will depend on your home and possessions. You may wish to start with the hardest room (to get it out of the way) or with a smaller space and build yourself up. Write a list of every room and cupboard in the house (don’t forget the shed) and allocate time to each. Keep your list somewhere handy so it stays front of mind. And don’t forget to cross things off as you go so you can track your progress.
3. Decide on an approach
There are a few different ways you can approach decluttering. If you’re selling and need to get your home looking good for inspections fast, a two-step process can work well. First, clear out everything you no longer need, such as broken or damaged appliances, unused kitchenware or excess linen. This should create more space which will make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Then work your way through each room again, spending a little more time making the tough decisions on what you can and can’t fit into your new home. This could include items like books, furniture, dinnerware and clothing.
If you prefer to avoid double handling, go through each room thoroughly and sort your belongings into four piles. Have a pile for anything that needs to be thrown away (toss), one for things that can be donated to the local op shop or given to family or friends (give away), another for items that you can sell on Gumtree, eBay or at a garage sale (sell), and one for things you want to keep. Be sure to action all the piles straight away to clear space and avoid having second thoughts.
4. Enlist some help
Decluttering can be a daunting task to undertake on your own, so seek help if available. Ask a trusted family member or friend, or if your budget allows, hire professional help. While sorting through your belongings is a very personal experience and you may be reluctant to get others involved, if you find the right people, it will not only lighten the load, but can also be a real help when it comes to making the tough decisions.
5. Be mentally prepared
No matter how well you plan and how much help you have, if you’re not mentally prepared and ready to let go, your declutter is unlikely to be a success. So, start with the end in mind. Picture how it will feel to be free of the belongings that are no longer serving you and focus on how nice it will be to have more room to live.
Plan and Prepare to Avoid Overwhelm
No matter how much stuff you have, with a little planning and preparation, it’s possible to declutter your home successfully without feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Plan out how and when you’ll work on it and who will help you – and most importantly, feel positive about it. Decluttering doesn’t mean getting rid of all your treasured possessions – it’s about saying goodbye to the things you no longer need and creating more space to enjoy your retirement years to the fullest