Top tips on Decluttering for Retirement

clutter before decluttering

Whether your are embarking on a sea change, downsizing your home, setting off to travel the world or just staying put, decluttering means huge benefits for you, your family and probably your local op shop.  Read on for our decluttering for retirement tips.

[This is a guest post by Mim from Love from Mim. You can read more about Mim at the end of this post]

I’ll caveat this article by saying I am not planning for retirement yet myself. However, I’ve written this in collaboration with my Mother, who has.

Mum has decluttered her house twice: once when she retired and once when my parents packed up to emigrate from the UK to Australia. So, she’s a bit of a pro!

Many people, when retirement is approaching, think about downsizing their home and moving to a place that better caters for their needs. Or perhaps it’s simply a sea change for them.

It could be a smaller house with less to take care of or one with better access for the long term or any number of personal reasons.

Children may have flown the nest years earlier and you may still be keeping many of their belongings from their younger days. Or perhaps your garage or cupboards are full of the things you have collected over the years.

cluttered garage prior to decluttering
Is this how your garage looks prior to decluttering?

Whatever your reason, if you’re looking for tips for decluttering for retirement, here are my (and my Mum’s!) top four decluttering tips:

  1. Keep your eye on the prize 

Saying goodbye to the past, or past belongings, can bring up many sad emotions. It sometimes is just not as simple as discarding old things and moving on.

Try to keep your mind focussed on what is coming next and be positive about your new chapter ahead. When you have a clear vision of what is coming next, deciding what you need to keep and what to discard will become much easier.

decluttered working space
Decluttering can create calm spaces for work, crafts, reading

Do you have a date where you will need to leave your current home, if you’re leaving? If so, work out how much time you have to get your house in order. If your home has not been decluttered for some time, it could take a lot longer than you expect. The earlier you can get started, the more organised you will be. Even just ten minutes each day to declutter will chip in to working towards the bigger goal.

  1. Check out your new space (or determine how you wish to use your decluttered space)

Head over to the place you’re moving to next and assess what you’re working with. What are the measurements of the rooms? Will your current furniture fit? What storage is available?

There will be obvious items of furniture that might need to go, such as unused bedroom furniture. You will also need to ascertain if the furniture you do still use will fit.

If you are decluttering without moving, create a vision for how you wish to use your newly available space – what will you want to fit into it, how will you organise it?

tidy decluttered space
Imagine how relaxed you will feel in a tidy decluttered space
  1. Set a plan for your decluttering

I recommend spending the time to go from room to room in your current home and working out what you can discard. Discarding can be an emotional process and I suggest starting with the items that hold the least sentimental value.

Anything broken and damaged beyond repair can be discarded in the bin, at your next council collection, or you can speak to your local council to find out what options you have to have it removed from your home. Old magazines and newspapers can be recycled.

If you have items that can be sold, consider using Gumtree, eBay, local Facebook groups or holding a garage sale. Working out how much you should price your things can be tricky, so do some research in these areas to see what price other people are selling their things at. Pricing too high will put people off, but getting the most out of each sale will help you put further funds towards furnishing your new home or fitting out your recovered space.

garage sale
A garage sale is one way of dispensing with the results of decluttering

Clothing that is in good condition, and some homewares, can be given to charity to go to someone who desperately needs them. Contact your local charities and ask them if they are able to collect these items from you, or where your local drop off point is.

If you are decluttering before moving house, now is the time to label the items you wish to keep. It will make the actual moving process much easier for you and for those helping you.

  1. Ask for help

Decluttering your home before any move, but particularly before retirement, can be an emotionally and physically taxing task. If help is available, ask for it.

If your garage is full to the brim with your childrens’ old toys and more, ask them to come and collect it as early as they can. They can then take over the decluttering process of their own items!

Moving furniture, unpacking from cupboards and taking things to charity shops will also have a physical impact on you. If you’re not up for it – if possible ask for help from your family, friends and neighbours.

I hope these tips have helped you in starting your own decluttering journey. I wish you the best of luck for your next adventure!

Still not sure where to start, feeling overwhelmed? Try this list for one thing to declutter every day

About the Author

Mim is a married mother of two small children, living in Newcastle, NSW. She’s passionate about living life to the full in a positive way and inspiring others to do so too. She thrives on finding ways to be more productive, organised and happy!

Her Family and Lifestyle Blog ‘Love from Mim’ has simple solutions, tips and advice for busy and time-poor families.

Mim is also the author of My Friend Has Cancer, a guide to help those whose friends or family have been diagnosed. As a recent breast cancer survivor, Mim knows firsthand the things to say, and not to, say to someone with cancer. You can purchase My Friend Has Cancer here.


Want more suggestions about moving to a new location? Click across and read these posts

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Where in the world


Your turn to have your say:

Are you a keen declutterer? Does the very thought of decluttering fill you with dread? What advice do you have to ease the process of decluttering?

Older and Wiser