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An illustrious past meets an exceptional future. We are committed to creating meaningful lives of purposeful engagement for every resident as well as those who serve them.

Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2020

Tired of clutter or ready to downsize? Organize the Marie Kondo way

If you’re like most seniors, you may be living with decades worth of accumulations. Among them might include keepsakes from much-loved moments, priceless artwork from children and grandchildren and jewelry passed down from your grandmother and mother.

But the real challenge comes with all the rest - extra sets of dishes, closets full of clothes no longer worn and boxes of old photos sitting in empty rooms or storage spaces. This is the time in life when many retirees are ready to get organized. But where would you even begin?

Downsizing your home?

This question is often triggered if you’re considering whether to remain in your home, relocate to a warmer region or move to an independent living community.

The good news is that de-cluttering doesn’t have to be that hard. There is a simple process that you can follow to put your life, or your belongings anyway, back in order.

The extra bonus when you’re finished? You may be surprised at how unfettered and in control you feel once you’ve mastered your possessions.

But first, it may help to understand why this task can seem so overwhelming.

1. The idea of organizing is overpowering

After years of accumulating items but not simultaneously discarding many, it can be daunting to face a project of this size. If it’s out of sight, it often is easier to put it out of mind. But that doesn’t make it go away. So we always have that nagging thought in the back of our head that someday we should organize our clutter.

2. Fear of the emotional process

If you feel anxious when thinking of tackling your accumulations, you’re not alone. Taking on a linen closet and kitchen cabinets are time consuming. But browsing through your life will most likely bring an emotional response.

Sifting through mementos, photos of favorite family vacations and time spent raising children have been known to bring many to tears. We may put this off because we’re not yet ready to look back.

3. Unsure of how or where to start

This is a big undertaking and most of us don’t know how to even get started. It’s good to remember that what took 40+ years to accumulate won’t be undone in a day. But don’t let the magnitude of the process stop you before you begin. There is a way to organize. You just need a plan that can walk you through it.

4. Unsure of what to keep and what to let go

You may have started this process before but found yourself at the crossroads of whether to hold on or let go, especially when it comes to sentimental items.

We often fear we’ll give something away and then regret it for the rest of our lives. Or that we’ll forget – the person, time, or memory – if we no longer have the object as a reminder.

How to organize the Marie Kondo way

Most everyone has heard of the Japanese consultant who created the KonMari Method. She recommends organizing by category instead of by room. And always asking yourself if an item serves a valuable purpose or speaks to the heart, when deciding what to keep.

You may want to read her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or watch her popular Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. This could be a great starting point when determining how to begin and complete the process of downsizing or de-cluttering.

The 6 rules of the KonMari Method

Simple but necessary guidelines will point you in the right direction. Review these recommendations before you start:

1. Commit to tidying up

2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle

3. Discard first, sincerely thanking the item for the purpose it served

4. Tidy by category, not location

5. Follow the right order

6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy when deciding what to keep

The categories she recommends you approach include:

1. Clothes

2. Books

3. Papers

4. Miscellaneous

5. Sentimental items

An example of how the method works

For category 1, begin by removing everything out of your closet and drawers. Then go through each item. As you consider whether to keep or let go, ask yourself if it sparks joy. Kondo says you may feel awkward doing this at first but that you’ll soon begin to recognize what has value in your life.

Once you’ve discarded your items and decided where they will go, return what you’re keeping neatly to where it belongs. And make sure to finish one category before you move on to the next one.

Visit her website to learn more or to sign up for her 10-lesson series on the Fundamentals of Tidying. You’ll also discover other useful tips, such as how to properly fold clothes. You may be surprised at the calming effect that organizing like Marie Kondo can create.

Downsizing your home to move to an independent living community

If your choice is to follow your lifestyle desire of moving to an independent living community,  you may have decided that downsizing is the right call, depending on the size of your current home.

As most retirees will agree, letting go of that unused square footage in your home so you can live a socially active, physically fit, and maintenance-free life, is a worthy trade-off. Remember, you’re reducing the clutter and downsizing your home and possessions, not your life.

Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge Independent Living community

Many of our residents organized and downsized their homes and collections in order to upsize their new lifestyle. What they wanted was more adventures, not more possessions. At Westminster at Lake Ridge, you’ll still have plenty of room but also all the benefits of independent living.

We invite you to take a look at our beautiful cottage or apartment homes, first-class amenities, full monthly calendars of programs to choose from, chef-prepared meals when you’re not in the mood to cook and to stay or get into shape with our fitness center.

The opportunities you’ll have to make new friends and join in our social events will help support you in maintaining your best life, as well as your physical and emotional health.

Call (703) 420-7105 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.


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