In my years as a professional organizer I have heard a lot of wisdom from seniors on staying organized. They bring a lifetime of challenges and solutions when it comes to organizing. Here is some of that wisdom in their own words.
Identify what’s important to you. If there were a fire what would you grab? That’s one way of thinking about it. But on an everyday basis, look at what you use. What do you touch? That’s how I determine what is essential.
If the thing annoys you, get rid of it, or give it to someone who likes it.
Ask yourself: “Why am I holding onto this?” The answer may surprise you.
Purge What’s Not Used
Keep only what’s comfortable for you.
The best way to get rid of clothes is to try them on. Chances are they no longer fit or don’t look right anymore. It’s a good incentive to let them go.
I kept thinking that I would wear some suits I bought years ago, but I never do. Think about the people who would love to have the suits and would wear them often. That’s how I decided to donate them.
Don’t put stuff in the basement. It piles up before you know it.
I have a box filled with silver bells that I bring out at Christmas time. I’ve been collecting
them since 1970. I found a website that lists their value. I printed the page and put it in the box of these collectibles. Whoever finds it after I’m gone will at least see the value.
Keep Your Memories
Love is not in the things we own. It’s in our memories. The memories will still be there after the thing is gone. Toss the fondue maker that hasn’t been used for years. You will still remember the parties.
I label everything so I know where to find things. It also reminds me where things should
Auction Expensive Items
If you don’t use it and your children don’t want it, donate it to a non-profit organization for use as an auction item. The benefit of this is it often engages you with like-minded people and a worthy cause.
Give Up On Possible Interests
I thought, maybe I will take up bird watching so I bought some books and a few feeders but I’ve never moved in that direction. The possibility I see now is in the space I will have after I get rid of this stuff.
Save Family History
Your children will not care about your things if those things are a mess. If you have family history that you value, organize it in a way that will be valued. A drawer full of papers and photos are not likely to appeal to anyone. But if you put the papers in chronological order that tells a story or place pictures in a durable photo album your chances are better. You can enjoy the fact that it will be passed through generations.
I ask my kids what they want and let them have it now. It’s nice to see them enjoy it.
If you can’t do it yourself, hire someone. A friend of mine used a professional organizer to help her sort things out. I called the organizer and she did the same for me.
Even after donating lots of stuff to my church’s resale shop we still had things no one wanted. I called a junk hauler and they took it all.
I got a post card in the mail from a well-established nonprofit organization saying they would come to the house and pick up my no longer needed things. I had to box it and bag it, and then I called them to arrange a date for pickup.
If you decide to move out of your house, get in touch with a professional organizer who has experience with moving. They are wonderful and will help you with everything from clearing out your basement and garage to finding a place to donate. Some will even stage your house for sale.