Recently I was talking to an elderly friend at my daughter’s dance school and she said something that really hit home with me. One of her friends was overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that she owned and ended up moving out of her home of 40 years because she couldn’t deal with all the junk. This made me sad. I could have helped her de-clutter and make an aging in place plan so she could remain at home.
Downsizing to a smaller, easier to maintain home is very popular today, but the key to staying in your home longer could be reducing your possessions to make your home fit your needs better. Begin the purging process early where can have control over it. Don’t wait until it gets out of hand or a health problem prompts your kids to make those decisions for you. Start early downsizing and organizing in your late 50’s and early 60’s. When you get to age 70 and your knees hurt when you try to get down to lower cabinet shelves, you will be happy that you made a decision to arrange your frequently used items at waist to shoulder level. Aging in place plans will allow you to do the things you want when you retire, and keep living in your own home.
Planning for your retirement is not only financial, it’s also planning your activities. Maybe you’ve done crafts all of your life (or just saved a ton of craft supplies for the day you retire and get to use them.) News flash!!!!! Its time to face the fact that your habits are not going to radically change when you retire. Yes, you will have time to do crafts, but you will not have time to do everything. Choose a goal of two or three craft hobbies to pursue, and put the craft room high on your list of areas of your home to de-clutter. Start thinking about how extra craft supplies can be re-purposed, or gifted to people who actually want them and will use them. School teachers will thank you.
Who do you want to give your family heirlooms to when you die? Will heirlooms get lost or damaged if you move to senior housing? Will your children or relatives throw them in the dumpster? Think about bringing your friends and your family in and tell them, “If there is anything in my house that you really love, please let me know so I can make sure you get it when I move or die. ” Also, you may choose to return beloved items to people who gifted them to you with a note telling them how much you loved and enjoyed them or take a picture and send them a note with the photo telling how much it meant to you and that you are reluctantly donating it to a charity.
Organizing and de-cluttering your home is a good first step for aging in place. For more ideas here is a helpful link. Aging in Place: Growing Old At Home