Decluttering:A First Step Toward A Rewarding Retirement
Dallas Retirement Village is proud to be your senior living resource for the retirement future you’ve always dreamed about. And as such, our goals for 2021 are to show you how you can:
- live with fewer limitations
- make room to grow in your senior years
- and truly expand your definition of retirement living.
However, live more, room to grow, and expand does not mean that our advice to you is going to involve accumulating more personal possessions. In fact, we’ve gathered important tips and ideas on how you can declutter now as you work your way through the beginning stages of retirement. This “rightsizing” process will help you modify your personal living spaces to fit the lifestyle you live today. It’s the ultimate spring cleaning exercise!
How Did We Get Here?
Let’s back up a little bit and ponder how you accumulated so much stuff. The size of the single-family home has changed dramatically over the years. Analysis conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that, in 1950, the average home size was 983 square feet. NAHB data for the first quarter of 2019 reported the average home size now is 2,584 square feet. That’s an enormous difference just over the span of a few decades. And we all know that we tend to keep things if there’s a place to put them—right?!
And, then there are the kids. Although your home may no longer be filled with people, it’s probably still occupied by physical memories. These include old sporting equipment, trophies, prom dresses, college yearbooks, etc. You’re not using these things, but they’re taking up valuable space.
The prospect of rightsizing and letting go of these treasures can be challenging—both emotionally and physically.
Here’s an idea:
Now that we’re coming together again as family units after the pandemic, it’s a great time to plan an activity with the kids to reminisce about their favorite items. Plan a spring or summer family picnic and have all of their stuff gathered up and ready to go. This activity has proven to be a fun time for reminiscing and laughs for a number of families, and results in forward progress of decluttering your home.
How To Start Decluttering (Or Rightsizing)
You may be familiar with a Netflix series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Marie is a professional organizer and has created a simple method to declutter your life, from clothes to books to knickknacks. She has also written a book: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Here, she explains three steps to create and maintain order:
- Identify your goal. Why do you want to clean up/declutter? What do you expect from it? How would you like to live and to what extent does a tidy house help? (Be detailed as you list your goals.)
- Clearing out. According to Marie, it is particularly important to process all of your belongings according to categories and not according to rooms or areas. You should pile up everything you own in a certain category (e.g., clothes or books) and then pick up every single piece and ask yourself: Does this bring me joy? Only if the answer is clearly yes, may it be kept.
- Finding a place for everything. Every piece you own must have a place in your home. If you know where everything belongs, it is easier to put it away after use.
Is Moving In Your Immediate Plan?
Experts suggest that empty nesters take a broad look at their plans for retirement over the next 30+ years, which may encompass several different kinds of living situations. These seniors find that they are always decluttering—and not just every spring! Their retirement involves a more “rolling plan.”
For example, some rightsize from a large suburban home to a condo in the city. Others maintain their home as a family destination for holidays or a home base as they travel. In every case, they have a plan for 5, 10, or even 20 years. Factors entering into specific moving stages include desired access to medical services, walkability, weather, real estate taxes, convenience to shopping and dining, plans for travel, etc.
Decluttering is often the easier, more manageable first step for seniors who find the initial thought of moving intimidating. If you are considering Phase 2 of the Lodge Residences at Dallas Retirement Village opening summer 2021, decluttering this spring will put you just that much closer to your moving goals. And remember, moving to a senior living community doesn’t mean you have to give away ALL of your items. We have a variety of spacious floor plans that will meet your needs.
We know that the rightsizing process can be difficult for many people to begin or even work through. To help, we hold regular events where we share helpful tips and insights so that you can start looking ahead to your retirement goals. Contact us to ensure you’re on our invitation list for future events and check back regularly for upcoming events.
Why You Should Start Decluttering Now
If you’re going to stay where you are for a while longer, decluttering now will:
- Help You Live More Simply. Getting rid of what you’re not using gives you the opportunity to live more simply, perhaps even utilizing the space you’ve gained for something new and more desirable for the way you live today.
- Eliminate Stress. Paring down your possessions will increase enjoyment of your home. “Getting rid of unneeded furniture, unused exercise equipment, and outdated electronics will give you additional living space,” says Liliane Choney of ReVisions Resources, a nonprofit group that provides information on successful aging. “Clutter is not good for comfortable living,” Choney says. “Things are in the way. You can’t find things. Having things organized simplifies your life” . . . and eliminates stress.
- Promote Family Bonding. As mentioned previously, by reconnecting your children with the “memories” they left behind, you’ve created a special opportunity for fun and sharing as a family. Kay Morrison, owner of The Occasional Wife, an organizing company, says when it comes to rightsizing, the sooner the better! “One of the best gifts parents can give their children,” she says, “is to take care of all of this while you’re capable and healthy and can make decisions.”
If your plan is to actually rightsize SOON to a smaller home you could experience even more benefits:
- Save money. A larger house usually means a larger mortgage payment. It also means higher costs in maintenance, property tax, and utilities. (And you will probably be less likely to purchase items you can’t easily store in your new smaller home.) The money you save can be put into quality upgrades in the smaller home you will occupy next.
- More time/more leisure. Even if you have a housekeeper, a larger home takes more work to maintain. A smaller home takes less work and less time, leaving more time for leisure and other interests and activities you really want to do.
- More security. Here’s a market trending hint: According to the NAHB, retiring baby boomers are already rightsizing and selling their large homes, resulting in more larger homes available and lower prices for those homes. Don’t wait too long!
And a little different twist on security: A smaller rightsized home could be a benefit to your changing lifestyle—especially if you’re beginning to have mobility issues. Smaller space. Fewer steps. No stairs. Easier to get around. Greater accessibility. After all, your home life happens in the kitchen, living room, and bedroom—all on the main floor—no need to take the stairs to the upper level of your home anymore. You just might feel safer and more secure in a smaller home.
As the wise Benjamin Franklin said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Take those first steps to decluttering your home–you’ll be glad you did.
Dallas Retirement Village Has Options For You.
Call us at (503) 623-9211 or submit our online form below to arrange a personal tour of our community.