Last month I was presenting, Declutter and Age in Place at the Tenafly Senior Center. It was a lot of fun and I thought I’d share some of my presentation concepts here in my ezine for you.

For me, decluttering and organizing our homes gives us freedom. I see many seniors who have not “cleared out” their past lifetime of household debris. Now they have less physical and mental capacity for the enormous task that it truly is. (No blame here, it is what it is.)

Here are some general suggestions for certain rooms below. Please take into account, every home is unique just like every person’s organizing style is unique.

Kitchen:

Keep all commonly used items within your reach so bending and lifting is not often necessary. Pull-out drawers and sliders are very helpful. It’s time to get rid of all the extra kitchen gizmos and small appliances never used anymore.

Think about how you actually shop, prepare your foods, eat and clean your dishes these days. Additionally, I almost always reserve part of a cabinet for medication and supplement organization.

Bathrooms:

Here is where I would spend money if I was aging in place.

Consider walk-in showers, wider spacing and non-skid surfaces. For those who still love their baths, grab bars are very important when bathing as well as by the toilet and in the shower too.

Laundry Room:

Try to have laundry on the main floor so no one is climbing down and up the stairs to and from the basement.

Maybe a small stackable washer/dryer set could be easily inserted into an area of the home that has plumbing.

Bedrooms:

This is a very important room to keep decluttered, especially at night. Set this room up so you can sleep well considering the light, dark, sound, ease of walking to the bathroom. Consider a master bedroom on the first level if you’ll be staying in a home with stairs. Consider having a guest room ready in case someone needs to stay and help you.

Storage Closets:

Time to declutter linen closets, bedroom closets, hall closets… all closets.

Home Office:

Now is the time to shred, recycle and get all your papers down to a very small filing cabinet.

Get your important information, banking and legal documents in such good order that if something should happen to you, your loved ones will open your file drawer and say, “Thank you Mom/Dad for making this easy on us…”

Basements & Attics:

Pretend you don’t have them.

I’m serious about that sentence. Keep almost nothing in them. They are the graveyards of indecision.

Outside the House:

Consider outsourcing all the outside maintenance like grass cutting, window washing, gutter cleaning and gardening… unless you love this kind of property care. This is backbreaking work for most of us. Think of easy solutions such as flower pots instead of flower beds.

Pass It Down Now:

As you are decluttering to age in place, why not pass down items such as family heirlooms onto those recipients now while you can see their reactions and walk them down history lane? Items like jewelry, memorabilia, clothing, books, legal papers and deeds can all be given in advance with a smile rather than with a cold piece of legal paperwork.

Bottom line, get your home “all dug out” now so that you can enjoy and relax as you age in place.