“The average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards.” said professional organizer Regina Lark to the LA times.
From a closet filled with clothes from past family events to a garage full of lawn equipment and stacks of tools, seniors’ homes can be filled to the brim with just too much stuff. The clutter may go unnoticed for years because of its nostalgic value but once its impact is noticed, it can have already left its mark on the mental and physical wellbeing of aging adults.
Fortunately, more and more studies have shown the benefits of decluttering our lives as we age. Instead of keeping our clutter based on sentimental value and acquiring more things, embracing a more minimalist lifestyle can be the answer to living healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives.
Minimalism is not simply about throwing things out. It’s about seeking to make space for the things that bring us joy and increase our knowledge of what brings value into our lives. For seniors, their minimalism adventure will be defined by EMBRACING what they REALLY care about at this point in their lives. This means that they’ll find more meaning and purpose by simply decluttering a space, throwing things out, downsizing a home, or completely changing a lifestyle.
For example, one couple in retirement went from living in a 4 bedroom home to embracing a simpler lifestyle and living in a one bedroom apartment. Yes, they have less things and have had to stick to more basic pieces of furniture , but they are much happier because their finances are easier to manage, and they have the freedom and space they need to explore their community. They no longer have to put all their energy into material goods..
Besides the example, many other older adults who practice minimalism have noticed an increase in their overall happiness in their life because they have less clutter obscuring the things they value. Minimalism allows them to make better choices about the way they will spend their time and money when their perspective shifts from immediate gratification to overall life satisfaction. Decluttering and downsizing our lives can feel difficult and overwhelming, especially as older adults with many possessions, but the benefits far outweigh the initial stress we might feel.
By living simply, many joys and freedoms will start to fill the spaces that we created by decluttering and downsizing. Benefits of minimalism are numerous but below are some of the most powerful benefits.
Remember: we aren’t talking about taking our homes down to sparse white walls and only a select few objects, the purpose is to have our home and life filled with items and activities that bring us joy but allow us to be mindful. We will want to make these changes over time and not try to complete it all at once. Minimalism is living life with intention and intentionally living is the way we should be living out our years as older adults.