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Getting ready to move into a retirement residence is an exciting time! It’s the opportunity for a fresh start and decluttering before you even begin packing. It is a great way to honour all of the times you’ve had in your home before beginning a new journey.

Decluttering your home not only lightens the load you’ll have to pack up, saving you valuable time, money, and effort, but will give you perspective on exactly what you actually really need in your life.

It all begins with a little organization:

  • Make it a date. Make sure you have no other commitments, give yourself a realistic timeframe, and set a deadline. That may sound silly, of course you’ll want to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible, but having a deadline will help you make decisions and move on.
  • Write it down! Even if you can’t evict the item in question from your house at that moment, when it comes time to pack up, you’ll still be prepared knowing what’s staying, what’s going, and what’s getting the boot.
  • This may sound counter-productive, but empty everything. Having a birds-eye view will help the decision-making process.

Choose a decluttering method—or two! —that work for you.

Method #1

Tackle one room at a time to reduce overwhelm and help you focus in on the task at hand.

  • Decluttering the KITCHEN can start with expired food and sauce packets, along with those long-forgotten takeout chopsticks you swore you’d use and lids with no containers.
  • Then in the LIVING ROOM, chuck old magazines, batteries, and media.
  • Moving on to the BEDROOM, try eliminating clothes you no longer wear through the “Hanger Experiment”: hang everything facing one direction. After you’ve worn and washed it, face it in the opposite direction. After a while, you’ll get a sense of the clothes you never wear.
  • In the BATHROOM, toss expired medicines and toiletries, and old cosmetics.
  • GARAGE: “weed through” gardening supplies, parts to appliances you no longer use, and yard décor.

Method #2

A variation on “Keep, Toss, Donate”, try the 12-12-12 challenge. Locate 12 items in each category—12 to throw away, 12 to give away, 12 to sell—and in one fell swoop you’ve decluttered your life of 36 items! Repeat as needed.

Method #3

Simply take it day by day. Set yourself a certain amount of days you have to accomplish decluttering your home, then set a certain task for each day. For example, on Day 1, tackle everything paper-based! Books, user manuals, documents, etc. On Day 2, everything electronic in the home, and so on.

More tips to decluttering your home

Prepare yourself! Have garbage and recycling bags, moving boxes, a shredder, etc. on hand so you’re not wasting time and getting side-tracked during the actual decluttering process. Creating visually segregated areas for items you’re just not sure about is also helpful. Are they broken? Need batteries replaced? Still good but unlikely that you’ll use it? Much like keep, toss, donate/sell, this will help you easily identify and take out the trash.

Moving is an overwhelming, emotional time. If you really can’t decide on some items now, get yourself a storage unit to house them. This gives you time until post-move to see if you’ve been able to live without, or really can’t!

Places to get rid of things:

1.    Facebook Marketplace or a Yard Sale

2.    eBay

3.    Recycling centre

4.    Giveaway to friends or donate to local charities (or the library)

Now your move really will be a fresh start, decluttered of the past and junk. There’s a reason Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method gained so much popularity – does it spark joy in your life? If not, it’s probably best to move forward.

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