Start Decluttering Now, So Your Kids Don’t Have To

As Baby Boomers edge ever closer to retirement, the question of what to do with their belongings when they move into a smaller home is of growing concern. It’s estimated that by 2030 more than 20 percent of America’s population will be 65 or older.

What we’re facing essentially, is a growing percentage of aging parents with lots of stuff and children who don’t want it. Their kids simply aren’t interested in the keepsakes and heirlooms the previous generations held so dear.

Speaking from personal experience, being solely responsible for cleaning out my parents’ house after they moved into a retirement home was both physically and emotionally draining. Like a lot of older folks, they’d held onto their independence past the point that it was practical.

They were entirely unprepared for the move when it eventually happened, leaving me to make decisions about their belongings that I was emotionally ill-equipped to make. Had they started the downsizing process earlier, this could easily have been avoided.

Related: 3 Ways Minimalism Will Improve Your Life

How to Declutter

how to declutter

Decluttering is a simple process that involves weeding out the things you no longer use and either selling, donating or recycling them. Sounds easy enough, right? For the practical stuff like your clothes, kitchen appliances and so on, it is.

You decide whether you’re going to declutter room by room or according to category (e.g. clothes) and get cracking. Should you find yourself daunted by the magnitude of the task you could look for help and inspiration online or ask friends and family to give you a hand.

Letting go of sentimental items like books, photographs and family mementos will be trickier, but it can be done. “Our memories are within us, not within our things. Holding on to stuff imprisons us; letting go is freeing,” says Joshua Fields-Millburn.

What’s Your Plan for the Things You No Longer Need?

how to declutter

Before you start decluttering you need to know what you’ll do with the items you no longer want. It’s important to get these things out the house as soon as possible, because as soon as they see the light of day they’ll move from being just another dust-covered relic in the attic to a tangible memory.

Whether you’re donating the items in question to Goodwill, selling everything for extra cash or giving it to family and friends, the most important thing is to make sure it gets out the house as soon as possible.

Decluttering is the hard part. Don’t let your efforts go to waste by not following through on the final step of letting go. It’ll only be more difficult the next time around. If you find yourself back-peddling take a moment to consider the many benefits of downsizing to a smaller home.

Related:
Minimalism is a Debt-Demolishing Lifestyle (Here’s Why)
5Subtle Ways to Incorporate Minimalism Into Your Everyday Life
Simple Ways to Declutter Your Life

Photo credit: Thinkstock

51 comments

Daniel N
Daniel N6 days ago

Good ideas. Thanks.

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Kelsey S
Kelsey S7 days ago

Thanks

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One Heart i
One Heart i9 days ago

Thanks!!!

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Rosemary H
Rosemary H13 days ago

Oops! "My house is staying away..." doesn't make sense! I mean - "My house is staying that way ...." Why no edit button?

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Rosemary H
Rosemary H13 days ago

Let's define what is, and is not, clutter! Clutter is that pile of papers I leave when I've done what's essential and realise that every minute spent tidying the rest is preventing me getting away in reasonable time for the next great outing - I have such a great time in the summer that I have to be very strict with myself about what needs to be done before I go, and what can be left, until winter if necessary! Anyone who has a problem with that doesn't get out and about as much as I do!..... OTOH, beautiful possessions are NOT clutter and if you are lucky enough to have plenty,. they should not be referred to as such! I am thinning them out a little so the best have more space to show them off to advantage. My house is staying away because I grew up in a minimalistic house and it was BORING! ....................................................................................................................................The contents of my house are being left to my favourite charity - they should raise quite a lot! :-)

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Greta H
Greta H14 days ago

Thanks

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Kelsey S
Kelsey S15 days ago

Thanks

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Aaron F
Aaron F16 days ago

My clutter is now at GoodWill and a storage unit...living minimalist these days...

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Mike R
Mike R18 days ago

Thanks

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Danuta W
Danuta W18 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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