Most of us have at least one area of the house that’s designated as the catch-all for everything from our high school yearbooks and stacks of photo albums to boxes of clothes, tools, and assorted memorabilia that we may have a use for “someday”. Garages, attics, closets, and hope chests were made for just such a purpose, right?
But what happens when “someday” never arrives, and those stacks of items are becoming more of a burden than a benefit? For older adults who’ve accumulated a lifetime of keepsakes, it can seem insurmountable to tackle the task of deciding what to do with everything through the downsizing process that so many seniors experience in later years.
One helpful tip to determine what is kept and what is either repurposed, recycled, given away or thrown away is to ask yourself for each item: “Does it spark joy?” This tactic, based on the approach in Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” allows for radical decluttering as well as an opportunity to revisit the past and come to peace with it. It can be an emotional process, but the end result is freeing.
A change in attitude can make all the difference between the drudgery of downsizing and the comfort of ensuring an older adult’s home is well organized. A term has even been coined to replace the negative connotations of “downsizing”: “rightsizing”. It encompasses making the living environment perfectly suited for the next phase of life, and celebrating that change. It places the emphasis on treasuring the items being kept, rather than on the loss of things that may, in reality, have simply been accumulating dust.
North River Home Care in Boston, MA is available to help with home organization projects, and can coordinate larger scale work such as removal of furniture and other large items. Our friendly companions are also on hand to share in reminiscing over favorite treasures, going through picture albums, and listening as the senior shares life memories, in addition to hands-on help with the “rightsizing” project itself. Call us at (781) 659-1366 for assistance.