My Decluttering Plan didn't begin remarkably. I am a recipient of aged care support. and a fortnight ago, having been unwell for a few weeks and being aware of the mess my busy daughter would face when it came to sorting out my lifetime of collecting things when I die. I decided it was time to do a ruthless downsize. I've previously downsized before traveled around Australia, making a permanent writer's lifestyle from travel. Yet, there were many possessions I just wasn't prepared to part with at at that time. I had put things into storage and brought the out again to join me when we settled down after travelling. Then, somehow I've accumulated even more thing that I no longer need.
Not only have the possessions accumulated, but the kilos have slipped back on me now I don't (or cannot) hike around the countryside. The armchair or bed gains frequent use, and the treadmill accumulates dust. No, the treadmill will not be downsized—yet. I'm not giving up on myself—on the possibility that I can still restore more fitness. One thing I never declutter is my positive dreams for the future. I'd prefer to plan how to make things happen. How about you? Are you a goal setter?
Reorganise Your Life.
When the magnitude of the task is like an elephant in the room, seemingly impossible to tackle, ask the right question, and you will get the right answer.
Question: How Do You eat an Elephant?
Answer: One bite at a Time
Examine Your Reasons For Decluttering.
The purpose behind this is to be fully aware of why you desire to do this. There may be months of focused work involved to complete the decluttering task, especially if you are extending it through the home, garden and to a personal fitness goal level makeover plan.
Why Decluttering Will Benefit You.
How much time is wasted, how much frustration and blood pressure builds when we search through stuff in drawers that we haven't used in years, to try to find something we need?
Clutter collects dust. Storage boxes and excess storage containers in walkways are a tripping hazard. If circumstances necessitated that we need to move to an assisted living situation, we wouldn't want the sudden urgency of downsizing a cluttered home adding stress to the event. It will be enough that our loved ones need to deal with grief when we die. I certainly don't want to add onto that the anguish of their needing to spend days, even weeks, sorting out my possessions and deciding what to do with them. I am capable of doing that.
Then, there is the biggest declutter problem, ourselves. Do your knees feet or back hurt? Are you pre-diabetic? Is your bad cholesterol levels high? Is your blood pressure elevated? Do you simply need a new wardrobe full of clothes because as the seasons change, the clothes you more at this time last year, appear to have shrunk while in storage? All of those things seem to me to be a great motivation to declutter on a fully personal level.
Now, armed with the reasons why you need to declutter, we set out GOALS, ACTION PLANS, and TO-DO-LISTS to achieve the goals. I'll write an example.
A Seniors Declutter Plan
Above is a graph I discovered that I find helpful. I know from the creator of that graph that set was 112.4 kilo at size 22 in and 88 kilos at size 14. She did achieve a size 12, at 79 kilos, but found it was a constant battle to maintain that size and weight, and felt comfortable and happy with what she could eat to maintain a weight of 88 kilos at an AU size 14—which is a US size 12. I'll use that visual image as my motivation. I will also set a slow and steady progression to that ultimate goal, of decluttering complete.
Set realistic, believable, achievable goals, and plan rewards. I already have my boxes of rewards waiting.
I have begun: Two days of gifting and throwing away has put a dent in the domestic clutter.
Household DeclutterGoal: If I do not need it or love it, it goes.
Household Declutter Action Plan: The backseat of my car filled with dump or donate or gift items, once per week, and distributed, until chore complete. Some people do forty bags out in forty days program. I'm arranging to have assistance to do this, once per fortnight. A/so, bring a senior person, I need to stagger the project out into manageable stages.
Household Declutter To-Do-List: The fortnightly help to declutter the low or high areas that I cannot reach or manage myself. Allocate time to work alone to declutter drawers and shelves. This will include organising to do, or have done, any broken items (a string of pearls) and taking up slacks that are too long.
I have a gardener comes for an hour once per fortnight. I've already had him assist me to remove a broken shade structure and nome broken pots. I took three containers of garden weeds and rubbish to the dumper. So, garden declutter has begun. I'll get as much as I can do, and the garden beds mulched, before the summer. So, hopefully, three months, six work sessions with an assistant, and furniture donated, to achieve significant improvement.
Short TermGardenDeclutterGoals: Remove broken pots and general litter that could provide shelter for snakes. Basic clean up safety before the hot weather arrives. Pay special attention to removing clutter close to paths and the clothesline where we might walk.
Long TermGardenDeclutterGoals: There are currently, now sheds, one storeroom and a carport filled with stored goods. Some things such as garden tools, house paint, well-packed boxes of items being kept for family members, packaging supplies for if I ship a sold item might nod to be stored. Everything else should be evaluated by the rule, if I don't require it, or if it doesn't bring me joy, it has to do. Do I need to store two dining tables and ten dining chairs and dissembled desks when we are more likely to move to assisted living than back into a large home? I can see the point of keeping one table in the shed, and four chairs for up to four extra visitors. The remained can be donated to charity. That's going to make a huge impact immediately in decluttering the shed.
GardenDeclutter Goal timeline: Spring, and then autumn. I'm a fair-weather friend. I don't plan on working outside, even with help, during the heat of summer or the chill of winter.
Personal Declutter Goals:
Again, as with the house and garden goals. Get some assistance—do in with a friend for support.
Personal Declutter Short Term Goals: I will aim to release one kilo a fortnight. That is almost a dress size every three months. I will make the goal seasonal, even though spring has started, which means I'll want to release an extra kilo to make that goal in this first season.
Personal Declutter REWARDS: Multiple health benefits. Easier on joints. Lower blood pressure. To carry less weight (easier) this summer. To open and wear, one of my boxes of one size smaller clothes this summer, or at least find last summer's clothes still fit me. Downsizing of my current size in clothes, more wardrobe space.
Personal Declutter Action Plan. The weight release I want will require a -500 calorie energy deficit every day. That could be achieved by cutting out snacking if I am not hungry and having more incidental activity sessions through the day. Ideal snacks are up to two small pieces of fruit and a few nuts.
If this plan fails to work. I will need to either eat small meals, or exercise more, which I will, if I can, but cannot always rely on that due to disabilities, or, I could adjust my goals to a gentler weight release level. Whatever happens. I don't plan to fail in achieving this personal declutter the excess goal.
1/ Energy in reduced: Sensible eating—live it, don't diet. Snacks to be healthy ones, nuts or fruit. Occasional treats allowed, but instead of another thing of similar caloric value that I would have eaten, not as well as other food.
Losing bone density through stupid dieting will not become a part of my plan.
1/ Energy out increased:
My household decluttering will give me a lot of this extra activity. Walks in the garden.
There is approximately one dress size per seven kilos of weight, so setting a goal to release a dress size every three months, initially, is doable. As my focus will be on fitness, I've modified year two to release the weight more gradually, so I can maintain bone density and muscle. similarly, year three's goals are focused on maintenance.
I am setting long term, one-year goals for most of the decluttering process. Two to three-year goals to refine the process, and onward, to maintain the benefits gained.
LONG TERM PERSONAL FITNESS GOAL: Maintain mobility, bone density and muscle, within a comfortable size, for as long as I'm able.
That is my man at almost 71 and still taking great care of himself, wearing a pedometer. He is taking pride in how active he is.
It is our last day camping on the Balonne River. We will be driving near to Murgon to stay at Bjelke Petersen Dam tomorrow. I should wash and clip Indigo today and take my last chance river walks here and use the last of our firewood. I'm making an early start on my novel, I have a bush fire I started last night, in it to put out. and those children to rescue. So a busy carfare day is planned .
About the author: I'm a geeky, gray-haired, ex-health science trained, author and artist of almost seventy years. My rural, (off the map between two rivers and seven creeks) retreat is in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria, Australia.
Age pride is pride in every age, devoid of ageism. 🖌 The creator is Gray Nomad travel writer. As artist Ryn Shell, she's spent decades painting and staging art exhibitions around Australia. She is a former Artist in School Program and current 'Artist in Residence,' in assisted living aged care.
Ryn, above, enjoying the gray (gray with an a for active) nomad life at age 64.
Gray Nomad Reg Shell walking 12,000 steps a day beside the Balone River, at age 70.
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