“I may have a use for this someday.” We all have items we hold onto with this thought in mind. But in reality, many of these “treasures” are simply collecting dust. The old stacks of National Geographic magazines, boxes of loose photographs, old tools, heirloom silver teapots and other memorabilia will all continue to end up stashed in our garages, attics and closets without another thought given to them.
Yet, what happens when “someday” never arrives, and those piles of items turn out to be more of a problem than a benefit? For seniors who’ve amassed an entire lifetime of mementos, it can seem impossible to undertake the work of determining what to do with everything with the downsizing process that most older persons experience in later years. And although it can seem overwhelming and difficult to know where to start, there are organizing tips that can help.
When it comes time to sort everything, a great way to decide between what to keep, what to give away and what to throw away is to ask yourself for each item, “Does it spark joy?” This tactic, in accordance with the strategy in Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” enables significant decluttering along with a chance to revisit the past and come to peace with it. Even though the process of decluttering can be emotional, at the end of the day, it can also feel very liberating.
A general change in mindset can certainly make all the difference between the drudgery of downsizing and the convenience of making certain an older adult’s home is well organized. An expression has even been invented to replace the negative connotations of “downsizing”: “rightsizing”. It includes making a home best fit the next phase of one’s life, and celebrating those changes along the way. It places the focus on cherishing the items being kept, rather than on the loss of items that may, in reality, have basically been gathering dust.
Midnight Sun Home Care is available to help with more organizing tips, including hands-on assistance with home organization tasks, and can coordinate larger scale work such as removing home furniture along with other large items. Our helpful companions and personal care assistants in Anchorage are also on hand to share in reminiscing over beloved treasures, going through picture albums, and listening as the senior shares life experiences, as well as hands-on assistance with the “rightsizing” project itself. Contact us for assistance.