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December 21, 2018 GMT

Uncluttering is a necessity for everyone, but especially for seniors. If you don’t do it, at some point, your loved ones will be left with this task, so it is up to you to get rid of all the meaningless junk around the home.

What is “meaningless junk” is for you to decide. It could be old documents, magazines, storaged household and outdoor items, etc. It could also be valuables like china, crystal or jewelry that you no longer want.

If you have items you have not used or looked at in 10 years, if parts are missing, an appliance does not work, or you have duplicates/triplicates of the same thing, or you forgot you owned this item, it is time to dispose of it. You need to ask yourself the question: Why am I saving this? If the answer is: I might need it, then, it is time to get rid of the item.


Keep an item if you are still using it, enjoy viewing the memorabilia, or know someone will want the treasure after you are gone.

Uncluttering is a process, not a one-time shot. Before you know it, stuff starts sneaking back into the house, and you don’t even notice it.

Here are some general steps to unclutter an area:

Step 1 — Pitch any trash.

Step 2 — Return items to designated place.

Step 3 — Decide on focus. This can be largest item, one section/area.

Step 4 - Separate keepers and removable.

Step 5 — Take removables from the home as soon as possible.

Repeat steps 3 through 5.

You might want to ask someone younger or stronger to work with you. It is more fun with someone, and if you have to lift/move items, you will have help. As your undesirable items are removed from the house, you will take pride in your newfound space.

Maria Ward has been a lifelong organizer applying techniques to personal life, business and learning. She worked as a professional organizer and was a member of the Houston professional organizers group. Now retired, she offers organizing classes at Lone Star College’s Academy for Lifelong Learning Program. Email: mariacward@gmail.com.