Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"De-Clutter, Organize, Clean, Sort, Cull, And Other Acts Of Trimming Down"

As we go through life, many of us become magnets for attracting souvenirs, mementos, memorabilia, keepsakes, odd-and-ends, and so many other items that once had meaning for us. They just seem to stick to us and our living space as if there really was some type of magnetic force at work. Sometimes, it's not so much that they were meaningful per se but that they were a part of our lives at a point in time.

Take that fourth grade report card of ours - or possibly one of our children, that fingerpaint expression done as a 4 or 5-year old, that tracing of a hand (maybe colored to look like a turkey), or participation ribbons and prizes collected as we went through our youth (or as our children did likewise). Add all of the sporting equipment, camping gear, special outfits and uniforms that we acquired for various activities that we or our children experienced over the years.

Don't forget all of the extra supplies for maintaining the home or apartment - lightbulbs, cleaning supplies, towels and rags, screws and bolts of sundry and assorted sizes and shapes, tools, and extra linens.

There are always an assortment of shoes, pants, coats, gloves, hats, boots, shirts, tee-shirts (from events and for causes and favorite teams as well as everyday ones), and other clothing items that are either so numerous that we don't have homes for all of them, or they are out-of-style, too large or small, or not wearable in public (with stains, tears, holes, missing buttons, or broken zippers).

There likely are many magazines - some from many months or even years ago - with articles and topics that may never be looked at or read. There are sale flyers, catalogs, and other pieces of mail that somehow never seem to make it to the trash or recycle bin.

In most homes there are just too many items to keep track of or put away where they should go. Neatness counts, but so does an appropriate amount of something. There are many types of organizational systems available - including clear and colored boxes and bins - shelving systems, folders, and more. Sometimes there are so many storage items and devices that this contributes to the general clutter. it definitely is possible to have too many boxes, bins, and other stored items. Time for a little more simplicity in the amount of stuff that is allowed to remain.

As we take harder looks at the amount of stuff we have and that we are comfortable in retaining to still have visible and tangible reminders of many important events and milestones along our life's journey, we need to get our mind around the fact that much of what we have we can do without.

Then, as we undertake this long and tedious process for ourselves - does anyone ever completely finish? - we are in a much better position to counsel our clients about organizing, sorting, and de-cluttering their homes and living spaces.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.