By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer
Whether it is time to begin considering retirement or you are just looking for ways to simplify your life, decluttering can be a great place to start. The beginning of a new season is an excellent time to form new habits and make lifestyle changes. Here are a few ways to help you get started with decluttering this fall.
Refresh Your Personal Finances.
The start of a new month is always a good time to conduct a financial reset. Doing so can reveal new opportunities for spending elsewhere or paying off unwanted debts. Take a look at your current budget and see if it needs updating. Next, look at your income versus expenses. Are there any areas of your life that can be adjusted to save money? Finally, keep an eye on your retirement accounts. Before you know it, it will be time to dip into these funds, so it is important to make sure you are contributing enough now to help you remain financially stable in the future.
Define Your Lifestyle Goals.
As you age, your lifestyle goals tend to change a bit. To stay mentally, emotionally and physically strong, it is important to define what your new goals are and come up with a plan to maintain them. It does not have to be overly complicated. Think about what is important to you at this time in your life. It could be prioritizing your health, moving closer to family, or making plans to travel.
Clear The Clutter.
Clutter has a way of building up throughout the years and taking hold of your home and life. There is something to be said about a clean space giving way to a clear mind. But, the thought of getting started with decluttering can be overwhelming. To keep it simple, try these tips:
Keep the Memories, Get Rid of the Stuff.
Just because an area is cluttered, does not mean it is full of junk. There is a good chance that a lot of your belongings hold lovely memories, all of which you do not need to part with. Instead, get rid of anything that does not hold sentimental value. Use the KonMari method to help you work through the hard choices.
Tackle one area of your living space at a time. By breaking down bigger tasks into more manageable ones, you are less likely to feel burnout. Start with smaller areas, such as the bathroom or a closet. After accomplishing those, you will have the motivation you need to tackle the larger rooms.
Clean by Category.
Another way to avoid feelings of stress while decluttering is to sort through items in categories. For example, if you are clearing out your closet, separate your clothing based on its purpose such as work attire, casual clothes, seasonal pieces, or shoes. If you are organizing the pantry, categorize it into snacks, baking goods, pasta, etc.
Check in with Yourself Along the Way.
Decluttering can be a major source of anxiety for some people. When it becomes hard to decide what is worth keeping and what you can part with, try asking yourself these questions: When was the last time I used this item? Will I need this in the future? Does this hold any sentimental value to me?
Consider Downsizing Your Home.
As you age and potentially become an empty nester, you might consider downsizing your home. Along with the appeal of having less upkeep, there are several financial, environmental, and minimalistic lifestyle benefits to this. Owning a smaller home reduces your mortgage payments, energy bills, and insurance costs. The money you save and the time you gain could help you achieve the lifestyle goals you decide on pursuing.
With the current housing market, you are likely to sell your home relatively quickly. However, if you decide to buy a new home before your current one sells, you may consider exploring resources such as FHA loans, which would allow you to obtain a second mortgage without fulfilling some of the same requirements of conventional loans. Doing so could provide more financial opportunities for you to take advantage of.
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Life has a way of getting pretty hectic. Oftentimes, we forget to take a moment to ourselves and think about where we are, where we want to be, and who we want to spend time with. Now more than ever you deserve to put yourself first. This begins with mindfulness. Consider downloading a meditation app on your phone, and set a reminder to practice mindfulness for just ten minutes a day.
Your 60s are meant to be enjoyed. Preparing for this phase of your life early on is imperative, and there is no better way to set yourself up for success than cleaning and decluttering your lifestyle now.
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