Last weekend I spoke to my Aunt Norie who lives in Pennsylvania. Because of the distance between our cities, we don't see each other often but I so enjoy catching up with her on the phone. During our recent conversation, she said "I'm realizing that the older you get the less stuff you need, like books and tchotchkes and stuff like that." And then immediately after, she said, "But also the older you get, the MORE things you need that make your life easier!"
Interesting isn't it? In her life, the overall quantity of items may not change drastically, but the ratio of decorative and leisure-oriented items to functional, useful items shifts. When life priorities change, the things in your life should change too. If you or your parents are in a late-in-life period, here are five ways you can begin letting go items that are no longer as important as they once were and adding things that will simplify life every day.
Let go of this: Books you've already read that just take up space and collect dust.
Add this: Life Affairs Binder. If something happens to you (or your parents), could someone step in and know how to handle your daily life affairs or will they have to spend hours sifting through papers to find even basic information like the location of the trust or will? Who is the estate attorney? Who are the essential doctors? What is the blood type? Which vet takes care of the precious Fluffy? Life Affairs Binder puts all this in one spot for you and your family.
Let go of this: Cheap knick knacks and costume jewelry that hold no meaning and clutter your shelves.
Add this: New lighting. As we age, our eyes require more light to see clearly. Dimly lit spaces can be unsafe, so strategically add ceiling fixtures (or night lights!) in traffic areas and floor lamps in rooms where life happens every day.
Let go of this: Rarely used single task kitchen gadgets cluttering your utensil drawer.
Add this: Jar openers. These handy devices make opening jars of all sizes easier from pickles to sauces and soups. OXO manufacturers all kinds of handy devices with the mobility-impaired in mind, so check out the rest of their product line at your local retailer.
Let go of this: Clothing that's old, out of style, ill-fitting, or items you no longer wear that crowd your closet and drawers and make dressing difficult.
Add this: Lower shelves and hooks to store frequently used clothing and other household items, making them easier to reach and put away.
Periodically evaluating your home and possessions to keep clutter at bay and have the things that make your life work is a worthwhile exercise helps you adapt to life's changes. Whatever stage of life you're in, honor it and your priorities by letting go things that no longer give you joy, value or reflect who you are.