Many older adults choose to move to a smaller home or in with family caregivers when life on their own becomes more difficult. Of course, downsizing involves getting rid of possessions so that the new space isn’t cluttered and overrun with stuff. If your older adult relative is considering downsizing, but is reluctant to get rid of some items, July 15th might offer them the encouragement they need. That’s because it’s National Give Something Away Day. Sometimes, knowing that an item is going to be used again by someone who will love it or need it can make letting go a little easier. Below are some tips for helping seniors to go through their personal items and get rid of excess clutter.
Ask How It Will Be Used
If the older adult is insistent on keeping an item you’re pretty sure they won’t use or haven’t used lately, ask them to describe how they will use it. Or, ask when the last time they used it was. If they have not used something for a year or more, chances are they don’t really need it. Likewise, if they can’t say how it will be used, it’s probably not a necessity.
Start with Non-Sentimental Items
It can help to start with items that the senior has no sentimental attachment to. The kitchen and bathroom are often good places to start. Most people aren’t attached to old towels or unused kitchen utensils. Getting started with these kinds of items can make it easier to let go of sentimental items later on.
Move It Before They Lose It
If you’re working on decluttering a room, try moving items to another area before deciding what to get rid of. Sometimes seeing how the room will look when it’s neat and clutter-free makes discarding stuff easier.
Allow a Trial Period
Family caregivers could suggest a trial period of being without some items before they are actually discarded or donated. Place items into a storage area and set a reminder to revisit them. If the senior has not needed the item during the set period of time, it’s time for it to go.
Family caregivers can help older adults to change some of their sentimental items into digital files that only take up as much space as a portable flash drive or disc. For example, if your loved one keeps old cards and letters, try taking photos of them or scanning them to create a digital file the senior can look through any time without storing boxes full of sentimental things.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in East Lansing, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.