Don’t Forget to Clear Your Clutter – So Your Kids Don’t Have to

5 Dont Forget to Clear Your Clutter So Your Kids Dont Have to Header ImageIf you’ve helped an elderly parent move or cleaned up their home after a death, you know how exhausting it can be – both emotionally and practically. Even a happy change of scenery into a new home can be tiring when there’s excess stuff involved.

It’s bad enough when you’re 50: what about when you’re 80?

Get a jump on this issue and save yourself and your kids unnecessary stress by decluttering now.

It really will make your life easier going forward – and it might even free up space for that workbench you’ve always wanted, or the crafts room of your dreams. Clearing out your home can also serve your family under less desirable circumstances, like a sudden move or emergency health issue

Here’s what you should know and how to get started.

Take stock – honestly

Many of us – if not most of us – have a few more excess things to our name than we really want or need.

So ask yourself: what of this stuff do I really use? What adds value to my life, and what’s been gathering dust?

You might even take the Marie Kondo approach and ask yourself what brings you joy. After all, that vintage tea set might not get a lot of use, but if you smile every time you open the cupboard it probably makes sense to keep it!

It can help to divide your possessions into groups:

  • Love it and use it
  • Love it but don’t use it
  • Don’t love it but need it
  • Want to use it but can’t (needs repairs, doesn’t fit)
  • Don’t love it and don’t use it

Anything you don’t want, don’t need, and don’t use could either be donated, thrown out, or repaired.

Organize – judiciously

Simplify your life even more by organizing the things you do keep. That might mean a larger project, like cleaning out and re-designing the closets, or a simpler matter of getting appropriate storage boxes.

Whatever organizational system works for you (and there are many), we typically recommend clear labeling, a minimum of long-term storage, and an awareness that not dealing with something now can mean more headaches later on.


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For example, we had a client with boxes full of paperwork, notes, ideas, and records from his time as a journalist and writer. These boxes had to move house twice – first to a condo and then to a retirement home. When our client passed, they were left to his widow, who wasn’t sure what to do with them and so left them in storage. When she passed away, the boxes went to their son.

He promptly threw them away.

Your mementos are meaningful, so instead of letting them sit in boxes we recommend choosing the ones that matter most and giving them the star treatment. That could mean careful storage, a framed display, or simply using the item.

Communicate – in writing

 It’s important that someone in your family or circle of friends is able to find your critical records and use them in case of emergency. Maybe you have all of your financial files stored in one place, or perhaps you’ll just share the number of your advisor. Whatever you choose, be sure the right people know.

This also goes for more personal items.

If you are certain that you want a particular item to go to a particular family member, make sure to put it in your will and make your wishes clear from the outset.

Hinting that a child might get a treasured piece of jewelry or artwork without clarifying it legally can lead to discord and debates later on – something that 5 Dont Forget to Clear Your Clutter So Your Kids Dont Have to Info Imagecan be easily avoided by appropriately documenting your wishes.

Utilize your space – wisely

Without clutter, things can take on new clarity. Maybe that “storage room” would be perfect for a quiet reading room, exercise area, or workshop.

Maybe it just feels awkwardly big.

We’ve had clients go through this exercise and realize that they simply have more space than they want or need. One couple moved from a 5-bedroom family home into a 2-bedroom condo after spending about 3 months slowly going through their house and throwing out unnecessary items.

When their Vitucci & Associates advisor asked how they felt about downsizing so dramatically, their response was that they could not have been happier.

Freed from the responsibilities of cleaning and maintaining their large home (and all their things), they were able to refocus their lives on what they really loved – and spend a whole lot less time cleaning in the process.

Don’t stop there

There are many risk factors and lifestyle changes that come later in retirement, and many retirees simply aren’t prepared.

Don’t get caught off-guard: download our free guide to late retirement today. Geared towards people with older family members in their lives, this guide can also be useful for early retirees looking to map out their own retirement trajectory.

Download How to Help Your Elderly Parents Navigate Their Twilight Years for free today!


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Let Us Help!

We can discuss this topic and more at a complimentary appointment. As a bay area retirement planning coaches, we can give you a review and make suggestions based on your retirement objectives.

Important Disclosures

& Associates Insurance Services or United Planners Financial Services (United Planners). The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only. They are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual and do not constitute an endorsement by United Planners.

To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial professional. Please remember that investment decisions should be based on an individual’s goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. Neither diversification nor asset allocation can ensure a profit or prevention of loss in times of declining values. United Planners does not render tax advice.

Securities and advisory services offered through United Planners Financial Services, member FINRA, SIPC. Pasquale Vitucci, CA Insurance Lic. # 0758212, is an Endorsed Agent of Vitucci & Associates Insurance Services CA Insurance Lic. # 0I06319. Vitucci & Associates Insurance Services and United Planners are separate and unrelated companies.
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