How to Help Your Senior Reduce Clutter

By Ruby Cemental

Our home should be a safe haven. This is one of the reasons that, as seniors feel the effects of limited mobility, they gradually spend more and more time at home. In order for them to actually be safe at home, though, we must help to declutter their homes to prevent falls. Here are ways to help a senior reduce clutter.

Why Declutter

Seniors living in a cluttered home are more likely to fall because there are more fall risks. Let's dive into some of the dangers of cluttered spaces in the home.

Floors with clutter can cause seniors to trip and lose their balance. When seniors bend down to clean up clutter, they are also putting themselves at risk of losing their balance and falling. Depending on where falls occur, seniors may hit their head, break bones, and incur a number of other injuries.

When there is a lot of clutter, there is a risk of items falling from overhead when seniors are trying to get things off of shelves or racks. Falling items can cause injury to seniors. While there are potential dangers at home, there are things you can do to help your senior loved one.

How to Declutter

Lighten Up

Older people bigger risks for falls and injuries when there isn't enough light and when small objects like door handles aren't illuminated enough. Assess the lights in your loved one's home. You may want to get rid of standing lights that a senior could bump into along with lights and other items that form hazards with electrical cords.

Focus on Furniture

When figuring out what to get rid of while helping a senior declutter, look at furniture from a safety perspective. You might want to remove furniture that is too low or the same color as a wall along with pieces that have sharp edges or don't have easy to recognize handles.

Clear the Way

Look at the paths available in the house and try to see what obstacles exist when walking these paths. Get rid of or move anything that a senior could bump into. If a lot of stuff has built up near entryways, it's best to remove things to create a clear path. 

Add Storage Space

One way to help seniors declutter is to create more storage space. Here are some simple things you can do to create more storage space around a senior's home. 

  • Flip the Shelves: You might be able to turn these devices upside down for built-in compartments. This helps you keep things together without needing new shelves.

  • Pegboard: Use a peg rack in the bathroom for hanging items like brushes, loofahs, blow-dryers and more. In the kitchen, pegboard inserts allow you to group plates and bowls of the same size together with ease.

  • Furniture & Storage: While adding more things to the home seems at cross purposes with tidying up when there is stuff everywhere, a storage chest may be just what your loved one needs. This is especially helpful if your senior keeps lots of things in plastic bins or shoe boxes as it can fit a ton of stuff while blending in with a home's decor. 

Host a Garage Sale

A garage sale is a great way to get rid of clutter and make some extra money. Just make sure that you give yourself enough time in advance to get everything ready, and ask friends and family members what days they have free to help or attend.

For a successful garage sale, check to see if your or your loved one's neighborhood hosts a garage sale or if there are opportunities in your community. You can also host a family garage sale with items from multiple family members. And don't forget about pricing! People want bargains at garage sales. However, some items still fetch a reasonable price like furniture and items that are useful or unique.

Hold Spring Cleaning Early

Evaluate every space in your home. Do you have stacks of books or papers around every corner? Are there large bulky pieces of furniture in the middle of rooms? Are you in need of some increased organizational capacities? Look around every room in your house, and determine which areas are the most cluttered, and what you can do to reduce the amount of stuff in your space.

Hire a Third Party

There are many fantastic companies that provide organization services. For a small fee they will assist you in culling through your belongings, deciding what to keep, discard, give away or donate. It is also helpful to work with someone who does not have an emotional connection to the items throughout this process.

Make a List of Heirlooms

Ask your senior to document their specific wishes for heirlooms and valuable items. Do they want to donate it to a museum? Leave it to a relative? Be sure that these wishes are then added to your senior's will so that there are no hard feelings or discrepancies down the road. 

Your senior loved one may have a difficult time letting go of their things, but helping them understand why they need to declutter can help them see that it's time.

At Caring Senior Service we are always ready to help seniors and their families by providing professional advice and services. As you consider ways to give support to your aging parents or relatives, consider including us in your plans. Contact our care team today!

Tags: Cleaning

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