Practical Decluttering Tips for Seniors

Having seen many a retiree delve into the mammoth task of minimising, downsizing or simply clearing away the clutter, the most important thing to remember when decluttering is that it is going to take time. It has taken you a considerable number of years to collect what you have, so allow yourself the patience and kindness to really give this journey the consideration it requires.

Please don’t expect that you’ll be able to have your decluttering finalised in a matter of hours, days or even weeks – if you have a large home, my assumption is that you have many treasures that fill it, and so, enlisting a realistic schedule and the help of others is your best bet in getting on top of the ‘to do’ list.

The idea of decluttering can be daunting and overwhelming, especially if you are clearing way to move into a smaller home. Here, time may be a critical factor. To help tackle the task of downsizing and decluttering, we have some suggestions to help get you started.

Choose a Starting Point

Depending on your personal situation, time available and how much you have, your first hurdle is going to be coming to terms with the fact that you simply cannot keep every item you have acquired. It defeats the point of the task at hand and may cause you some upset if you aren’t wholeheartedly accepting of letting things go. This is where an impartial friend can be so useful. Having a friend or family member present during this process helps to give you a bit of perspective when it comes to the choices you might find a little prickly. Try to be open to their advice and opinions.

Start by setting aside a day and begin with a room that you know will be the easiest to tackle. The bathroom and kitchen are my recommended start points because they generally hold less sentimental value but can certainly hold their fair share of clutter. Drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard, separate your items into keep, donate and throw boxes. Don’t second guess yourself, if you know it belongs in the bin, put it in the box and move on to your next item. You may be surprised how many items you no longer use, haven’t realised you owned or are simply taking up space that you don’t have. If you’ve got numerous of the same item, perhaps consider keeping one and donate the rest.

This process can be quite taxing, both physically and emotionally, so if time allows it, schedule an hour or two every day over a few weeks to tackle sections of room each room at a time.

Embrace The Process

Nobody likes to feel overwhelmed. The ironic part of decluttering though is that clutter in itself can be a major cause of overwhelm. Try to take note of the change in each room as you work through them, how the feelings of order and ‘everything having its place’ can create calm and peacefulness both in your surrounds and in your psyche. You may find it quite motivating once you get the ball rolling.

You may also find the experience of revisiting memorabilia and personal items quite enjoyable. Exploring memories with a loved one can not only be a wonderful trip down memory lane, but also relieve stress and make the task ahead considerably more rewarding.

Be Organised To Stay Organised

Whether you are in the process of downsizing, or simply making way for more space, less cleaning and fewer trip hazards; organisation is key for you from this point onwards.

If you are keeping items that don’t need to be displayed or have a ‘home’ as such, pack them away into labelled boxes in your storage area or garage. This will keep them safe, clean, and easily accessed should you or your family want to find them later.

Deliver your donation boxes to your local charity as soon as possible or enlist someone to help you. Many charities collect your items from your home; ask around to find out about your local collections and any restrictions they may have. Resist the temptation to keep these boxes in the back of your car or waiting by the front door for too long, so you don’t end up with old clutter in a new location.

Organise a bulk rubbish collection with your local Council for the boxes of items that need to be binned. Call ahead to confirm or have a look at your Council website for further details - most Councils are able to accommodate bulk kerbside collections on or close to your regular rubbish collection day.

Decluttering is a journey.

If you’re still feeling unsure of what to do or where to start on that journey, Simply Downsize is always available for a free, no obligation consultation.

Why not drop us a line at or call 0410 691 990, and let’s get you started on your new, decluttered life.

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