A Fresh Perspective on Organizing your Home for Aging in Place

Open drawer with folded clothes

Preserving value and making meaning out of clearing space for your comfort and security.

As each Autumn rolls around, I find myself motivated by the clear and cooling air outside to further the cause of shaping my abode into the meaningful haven I strive for it to be. As I set my mind toward the warm-hearted feeling of “nesting” and its potential results, I inevitably become stymied by the very real and practical issue of how and where to dispense of items that I no longer want and need.

There’s a “De-Cluttering” missive that has always irked me – “When in doubt, throw it out.”

Without a doubt, we live in a time of excess. There’s certainly a wave of motivated citizens to eliminate and/or reduce the use of disposable items (“reduce, reuse, recycle”). Still, I would wager that there’s a lot more recycling and throwing away than there is reduction and repurposing. This becomes especially troublesome when we are trying to organize a space we might have inhabited for 10, 20, or even 50 years, like so many of our clients. And throw in a bit of life experience of growing up during World War II or living during leaner times, there emerges a philosophical irony to the whole notion of “de-cluttering.” A willy nilly disposal of items that may hold value in the future for self or others is tantamount to being just plain wrong and bad for society.

At LiveWell, we respect the perspective of the Silent Generation (to which so many of our members belong) who were raised during times of war and economic depression. They often demonstrate refreshingly deep gratitude for what they already have and are well versed in how to make do with less. Speaking from my own perspective, older family members can often see value in items that might otherwise be considered disposable by others – cleaned jars from purchased pantry items, milk jugs, old card tables, and the like. And observing our LiveWell members struggling with these tasks on a practical and emotional level has motivated our team to find another way.

Preserving Memories & Organizing for Seniors Desiring to Age in Place

Debbie Keller, the owner of Home and Office Transitions, recently joined us for a webinar to share her expert organizing tips with our LiveWell member community. I love Debbie’s approach because she incorporates empathy into her work, fully acknowledging the values of a generation that learned how to preserve and hand down family heirlooms and memories. We at LiveWell know offloading items is an integral part of setting up a home for meaningful living and aging in place. So, we love knowing that Debbie has a vetted list of resources for the dispensation of many items our clients own so that they go to good use for the benefit of others. From the most mundane items such as an overabundance of household cleaning supplies, to what to do about the closet full of photo albums from the 1960s, Debbie has reputable and reliable tips to keep even someone like me on track with clearing a space in a home for security, meaning and comfort in the years to come.

Jane Kelley is the Executive Director of LiveWell By Blakeford, a Continuing Care at Home Program and she invites you to learn more about aging in place by joining one of our seminars.

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