By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

If you are starting to prepare for retirement, chances are you’re also thinking about how to get rid of a lot of excess stuff in your home so you can make room for that new stage of life filled with more freedom and a lot less stuff.

It’s actually an opportune time to assess what you need, don’t need, want, and don’t want since at some point you might even want to downsize, live in a smaller more efficient home perhaps one that is closer to your kids and grandkids.

And once you start the decluttering process, you’ll likely begin to realize that many of the things you’ve held onto have just been taking up space and they’re just not adding value to your life anymore.

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Shedding all of the excess clutter that no longer fits your simpler lifestyle is cathartic. It gives you an opportunity to revisit memories from your past while also helping you envision your new life with more time, energy, and freedom in the future with less stuff, less stress, more fun, and more life!

At this moment as you look around your attic, basement, and garage you might see boxes piled on top of other boxes, and containers piled on top of other containers filled with stuff you have no idea what’s even in them.

You might be thinking this task ahead of you is impossible, but these top-5 decluttering tips will help you get the job done more efficiently and effectively so that in 3 months, 6 months or a year from now…

Top 5 decluttering tips to prepare your home for retirement

1.    Focus on your new life ahead of you, not the one behind you

Create a vision for your new lifestyle that you want in retirement.

  • Where you’ll be living
  • What you’ll be doing each day
  • Who you’ll be spending time with

This vision will inspire you on your decluttering journey. It will help keep you motivated and stay motivated when the going gets tough

2.    Get your partner on board with your vision. Better yet, create that vision together

This step will help prevent dueling downsizers or dueling decluttering arguments if you both have a common vision for a simpler, less cluttered life after downsizing and decluttering.

It will, of course, require each of you to make compromises along the way but it will also ease the decision-making process.

3.    Commit to keeping only what you need, will use, and what’s most important to you

This is an amazingly powerful tool that will help you make decisions about what you want to keep and want to let go of. It will help you decide more quickly and efficiently even the tough, more emotional choices.

4.    Notify your kids about your decision to declutter and downsize

Don’t wait for them to decide when they will remove their things from your house or you might be waiting a very long time.

Be proactive. Give them a deadline to come, get their stuff, and bring a truck if they need to.

This can be a difficult conversation for some of you but in the long run, you’ll be glad you did… and likely so with your kids.

8 Proven Methods to Start Decluttering

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5.    Experiment with various decluttering methods, then pick one or two that work best for you and your schedule

Successful decluttering takes time, effort, and focus. Knowing which decluttering method works best for you will reduce stress, and help you stay motivated longer.

Regardless of the decluttering method you choose:

  • Burst method
  • Room-by-room method
  • Category method

Each is intended to help make your decluttering easier, faster, and more efficient.

If you are excited about your upcoming retirement and the new lifestyle ahead of you, and if you are just now starting the process of decluttering, I encourage you to embrace these decluttering tips.

They are intended to make your decluttering journey as easy as possible. But most of all, take time to enjoy the process of transitioning from one chapter to the next to make your life your best life now.

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