Many seniors have dealt with lifestyle changes including their schedules, budget, social and community activities. Perhaps this is an appropriate time of life to consider updating their belongings and all the stuff that may take over their life if not put in its place.
Possible Goals of Seniors Who Get Organized
There are a number of possible reasons for senior citizens to make a commitment to organizing their environment. Many seniors move to a smaller place, presenting a great opportunity to make updated decisions about each item they have to pack. Even when seniors are not moving, reclaiming living space can offer quite an improvement in both comfort and pleasure.
Another prime reason for older adults to become more organized is safety. It is well known that stacks of stuff seem to grow and take on a shape of their own, becoming more daunting with time. Such items seem to gather in places where they can cause tripping. Since falls are one of the most feared dangers of life for seniors, this is a significant reason to begin taking steps toward organizing.
Other reasons for getting organized include not being embarrassed to enjoy company, inability to keep a clean house, fear of being reported, and even allergies which can be aggravated regularly by aging possessions (some of which are not contributing to a senior’s current lifestyle).
Reasons Many Seniors Avoid Getting Organized
- Avoidance by many older adults who know they need to become more organized for the above reasons and others Then over time it becomes more and more scary – which leads to more avoiding.
- Sentimentality is one of the main reasons seniors avoid getting organized. Holding onto stuff no longer needed can make an older adult feel close to an event or person they cherished.
- Some feel overwhelmed at the task which seems to be huge. Even when they want to do it, they get tired thinking about it and don’t know how to approach the process.
- The physical task of doing the work can also be a challenge.
- Value issues – what has value and how much.
Advantages of Older Adults Living an Organized Lifestyle
- Safety is the bonus of an organized environment, since too much stuff encroaches on walking space. Also, climbing or crawling to retrieve things will be greatly reduced with an organized system.
- Cash generated or tax deduction received by selling or giving to charity items no longer in use.
- Helping others gives a nice feeling to the senior who shares with people who need these things.
- Not leaving countless possessions for family members to process upon death or disability offers a comfort to many seniors seeking to be organized.
There are many older adults who are facing, or will battle with the challenge of getting organized. Seniors and others in modern society know how to put stuff in their environment (shopping, etc.) but know much less about how to cycle possessions out of the system. Professional organizers may help them set their goals for organizing, (especially including the need for safety), confront their avoidance issues, and move through the problems to see the advantages of living in an organized household.
Source: Interview on May 13, 2009, with Kate Rhoad, professional organizer in The Woodlands, Texas.