Thursday, October 5, 2017

"Getting Ready For The New Year By Slimming Down Our Stuff"

As we head toward the end of the year, this is a great time to evaluate what we have around us - "our stuff" - and determine what we want to take with us into the new year. Do we want to travel a little lighter than we have been and not have so many things with us? We have a few to begin making some changes that will make life easier and literally less cluttered for us in 2018 and beyond.

We know about spring cleaning that happens after the wintertime, but this is an opportunity to get to next spring without so many things coming along with us. As we set the pace ourselves, so we can encourage our clients and help them to do the same.

Cutting back on what we have been saving - really on what we are retaining from the past - is a great way to get ready for enjoying the future without so many things getting in the way.

Just as the new year signals a rebirth and a fresh start, what better way to demonstrate that we are accepting this fresh beginning than by decluttering our living space and cleaning out our home - and then helping or encouraging our clients to do the same? We have the power to get rid of unwanted, broken, or surplus items that have been sitting around or getting in the way.

The nice thing about beginning now is that our effort doesn't have to be accomplished in just a few days or weeks. This can be a positive force in our lives and a paradigm that we carry with us throughout the coming year - always asking ourselves if there are items anywhere, taking up space, that have outlived their usefulness or that we don't feel we are going to use again (or at all) that can find another home.

To get started on our project of cutting back - think of it as a weight reduction plan for our home (not us) where we are losing some of the excess pounds that are stored in various places throughout the property (closets, the basement, the attic, cabinets, furniture, the garage, and possibly sheds) - a three-tier sorting system is often recommended. This can be a physical system or a mental one and can involve a one or two-part sorting process - making the hard decisions and then living with the results or placing items in their initial grouping and then making a second or final determination on their disposition.

The sorting system essentially is dividing everything into three groups by deciding which items (1) need to be kept because they currently are being used, have been purchased for a specific future purpose, are seasonal items that will be used again at the appropriate time, are still useful but in need of some repair, or are being held as a back-up for an item currently in use, (2) should be tossed because they are broken, have passed their "use-by" or expiration date, are obsolete (such as small appliances or technology that is no longer made and has been replaced by newer items), or cannot be repaired due to the unavailability of parts or the expense involved, and (3) can be donated to charity or sold at garage or yard sales or through eBay or Craigslist or similar social sites.

This can be a very positive experience. It should not be looked upon as if we are being made to clean up our room or the garage like we were children but as a time to evaluate just what is useful to us or what has enough sentimental value to take along with us on our journey into the new year. We have the opportunity to be in control.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.