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  • Melrose Meadows

How Decluttering and Downsizing Makes You Happier (Healthier, Too!)

If you’re like most everyone we know, you probably have a lot of stuff. So much stuff, in fact, that it can seem downright overwhelming – which is why a lot of us tend to shove our stuff into closets, basements and attics in an attempt to get it out of sight - or perhaps forget about it? (It’s okay, we don’t judge.)

And, if you’re like most everyone we know, you’ve heard about the glorious Marie Kondo and the “life-changing magic of tidying up.” These days, decluttering in an effort to “spark joy” is a la mode, and for good reason: the process of decluttering and downsizing can actually make you happier.

The process of decluttering, when you think about it, is getting rid of all the things in your life that aren’t serving you well. And who wants to hang on to things that are less-than-awesome? Getting rid of all that extra stuff clears out your space and can clear out your mind, as well. Here are a few ways how decluttering makes your life better:

● It means less stuff to clean! (Seriously, who wants to spend all their time dusting knick-knacks?

● It translates to a healthier environment! (Less stuff means less dust, mold and and other nasty things that can affect the air quality in your home.)

● It improves your focus! (Really! A Princeton University study found that physical clutter disrupts your attention and causes you to feel more stressed out.)

● It can be psychologically liberating! (Getting rid of things can make you feel more in control of your life because you realize you’re no longer holding on to physical objects as crutches/memories/etc.)

Since we’re on approach to spring, why not take some time this month to take a look ‘round your home and get started on decluttering your space? This is particularly helpful if you’re a senior of a certain age who’s been considering downsizing to a senior living community. Downsizing means you’re going to have to declutter and get rid of stuff, so doing it as a proactive thing rather than a reactive thing puts you in the driver’s seat.

Does this seem like an insurmountable task? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Experts agree that the hardest part of decluttering is actually starting, so we’ve put together some tips to transform this massive undertaking into something that’s manageable and – dare we say it – fun!

● Break the task up into smaller chunks. You don’t have to – and shouldn’t – attempt to do it all in one weekend. Instead, spread it out over the course of a month or several months so you don’t get overwhelmed.

● Start small. It may be easier to declutter a room or space that doesn’t have as much emotional weight for you. The linen closet or garage can make great places to start.

● Gather everything you need before you start. Having boxes, bags, cleaning supplies and donation bags on hand will mean you won’t have any interruptions when it’s time to do the deed.

● Put every item into one of three piles: Keep, Donate, Trash. There are no “maybe” piles! Go with your gut and be brutal. You may want to enlist a friend or family member to help you.

● Consider enlisting the help of a professional. There are many organizations out there dedicated to the decluttering process – some of which specialize in helping older adults downsize and get their homes ready to sell. (We can help you find them!)

Whether you’re getting yourself ready to move to a senior living community or simply trying to get rid of some of your stuff, decluttering your living space is a great way to kick off the spring season – and ensure that the rest of 2020 is as happy and healthy as possible.

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