Does the thought of decluttering leave you in a cold sweat? Task Tamer's founder Karen Morgan shares her tips for seniors looking to downsize.
Decluttering is a trend more and more people see the benefits of getting their home spaces organised, but it’s easy to run into roadblocks. Decisions get harder, tasks take longer than expected and the mountain of clutter appears to have no end!
It’s important to remember why you are undergoing the process – in the case of downsizing, it represents an exciting new phase of your life – and don’t be afraid to call in professional help to make it less stressful. This is a big task, emotionally, logistically, and physically, but you don’t have to do it alone.
A professional organiser will have a range of strategies to help you through the downsizing process and the emotions that go with it, and can assist with everything from planning to unpacking in your new home.
The key to success is in the planning stages, and it’s best to start early. You want plenty of time to pace yourself and the option to have a break if needed, and procrastination will mean less time to declutter as moving day approaches.
Planning everything before you start will give you goals to focus on and an action plan to stick to. Planning includes measuring the space you will have in your new home so you can determine how much you can take with you. You also need to think logistics, such as booking in removalists, mail redirection and organising utilities, which will give you firm deadlines.
When you begin to declutter, start with an easy, quick task so you can get a sense of achievement. Break it down to one room, one cupboard, even one drawer, and make sure you celebrate and enjoy your achievement before moving on to the next task.
There are often a lot of memories attached to things that have been collected over the years. For every item, we ask our clients: ‘Do you use this, love it and need it?’.
Task Tamers’ “3Ts” method divides items into three categories - treasures, trash and transition.
Treasures are those items that are non-negotiable and you’re not willing to part with because they are either important to you or necessary, such as family photos or a favourite armchair, or medical equipment.
Trash items are things that are of no use anymore – they might be broken, no longer working, or simply not adding value to your life.
Anything you no longer need, but is still of value or in working order, are called transition items and can be given away to family members, sold or donated to a charity.
Don’t try to declutter your whole house all at once, and remember that you don’t have to do it alone - reach out for support from family and friends or a professional. Decluttering can free up emotional and physical space in your life and many of our clients have described the process as being like a weight lifted from their shoulders.