- Karen McPhail, RN, BSN, MSN, CCM, CDP
Spring is in the air! The flowers are in bloom, the grass is getting greener and the temperatures are finally growing warmer! Spring is traditionally a time of new beginnings and a sort of rebirth. It is also a terrific time for spring cleaning, decluttering, and organizing! I know that after a long winter many of us have developed a great deal of clutter and cannot even imagine where to find half of our spring items! This is especially an issue for older adults s as they tend to accumulate many years of items and often times do not take the time to reorganize, gift, donate, tell children it is time to take, or simply throw the items away! It is important from a health standpoint to reduce clutter as it causes stress and anxiety which can effect overall health. In many the homes of many older adults it also presents a safety hazard that can lead to injury.
Below are some simple suggestions to guide you in the direction of a more clutter free and safe spring! Remember the simple acronym - COSTS! What are the costs of not decluttering in terms of your quality of life and happiness! Please do not let clutter result in injury or cost you potentially aging in place. Reach out for help if you need it and embrace some simple changes for safety.
(C) Child’s play! Many children tend to leave behind possessions in their parents homes for many years! Provide your children with time frame for collecting their items, so that they stay on track in helping to achieve your decluttering goals! Involve them in the process and let then take responsibility for what is theirs.
(O) One too many? How many flower pots, hoses, or lawn chairs does one really need? In most people’s homes they have multiple items that they simply do not need r no longer use. Take the time to reduce the amount of items in your home and go with the essentials. Less is often more! You will feel a sense of relief and accomplishment once you have reduced the amount of unnecessary clutter!
(S) Stay on point and keep it Simple! Do not have a maybe pile and do not second guess yourself! Often times people start out strong and then weaken when doing decluttering! Stick to your basic rules: no duplicates and if it is not used it should go! If you cannot find place to keep the the items or a real use for it then gift or donate it!
(T) Treasure or toss? Over the years we tend to stash away and hold onto items for a variety of reasons. Think of the items that you truly love and treasure and ensure that you keep them. If you still have too much clutter consider gifting some items to family members so that they can also treasure them! It is much more fun to watch a family member use and enjoy an item! In terms of clothing and other items if you have not worn it or used it in the past 6 months it may be time for it to go!
(T) Time to revisit decluttering! Mark your calendar to do a yearly declutter! As much as we try to keep things simple and streamline, we tend to accumulate more throughout the year! Reassess and organize areas at least once a year as you will find that your home will be a happier and more stress free environment!
(S) Still Overwhelmed? Contact an aging life care manager who can assist in finding trusted and cost effective resources in your area for support! We always know the best way to move things forward in a positive way!