Decluttering - Make This Your First Retirement Project!

5 Minute Read

Are you thinking of your retirement? Before visualising long relaxing days in the sun, make your first retirement project one of decluttering your home!

Tips to Decluttering - Your First Retirement Project
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions

This is to avoid the very real trauma experienced by some my clients when they decide to downsize, or move into a retirement community or a residential aged care home.

What do they do with a lifetime of belongings filling a three-bedroom family home?


To undertake a downsizing exercise under the pressure of a move is stressful; even more so when you’ve always had it in mind to gift treasured items to family and friends.

On a practical level, having retired you’ll be spending more time in your home, so why not adopt the work health and safety mindset of your former workplace – remove trip and fall hazards, throw out the broken and out-of-date items, and clear surfaces.

So let's make a start.


Five tips on decluttering

(1) Do not delay. Make sure you have plenty of time to sift through your possessions. Decluttering in your own time is far less stressful than during the urgency of a health crisis.


This is not to say you need to sift through your home in a week. Such an approach will take any joy out of the process and likely lead to rash decisions and piles around the house.

Draw up a schedule that carries over a few months. For example, assign every Tuesday morning as D-Day, with one to three hours dedicated to the task and then rewarded with a coffee in a café down the road.


Adopt the decluttering methodology that suits you. Yes, it is incredible to think that we have so much stuff in our lives there are decluttering methodologies and consultants.

The KonMari MethodTM

Introduced by Japanese organising consultant, Marie Kondo, The KonMari Method™[1] encourages tidying up by category rather than room. The thinking here is that you have items of the one category, say books, spread throughout the house.

When it comes to categories, the method suggests dealing with the easier categories first and the harder ones last – so clothing, toiletries, medications, books, then kitchen items and so on. Leave the sentimental items such as photos, letters and more personal items last.

Importantly, Marie advises that you keep only those things that speak to your heart and discard those that no longer spark joy. Plenty of internal conversations there!

"The Other Method"

Other decluttering professionals suggest approaching one room at a time, specifically, a space within that room – say a cupboard or drawer.

To gain headway, take the easier rooms first. What’s easier? Those rooms with items with which you have less emotional attachment. So start in the bathroom, then take on the laundry, and then enter the kitchen, loungeroom, bedrooms, office filing cabinets and storage areas. Remember, just a cupboard at a time to avoid being overwhelmed.

To keep up the momentum, company is recommended. Consider inviting a family member or friend over to assist say with your wardrobe. If you insist on keeping an item, your assistant must agree!


Whatever methodology you adopt, have three thoughts when decluttering – keep, give away or throw away / recycle.

For those valuable and sentimental items you wish to give now or in the future to someone in particular, write a list as to who is to receive it and include a sentence or two as to why it is so special to you. Keep the list with your official documents.

If you have items in storage boxes which have remained untouched for years, then perhaps it’s time to get rid of those boxes. Granted, they may contain sentimental items such as a much-loved great aunt’s wedding dress. Take the time now to consider who may appreciate such a gift, even if it is the owner of the local vintage clothing shop.


When it comes to documents in the filing cabinet, consider taking them down to your accountant next tax time to see if it’s time to shred them or to your lawyer when you organise or update your Will and Estate Planning documents.



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[1] The KonMari MethodTM



Danielle Robertson

Danielle Robertson

Working with you and your support network to get the right care outcomes for you and your loved ones. Danielle Robertson is founder and CEO of DR Care Solutions, offering aged care and disability care concierge services and expertise on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one, at the right time and in the right place. Danielle's experience in the Australian care sector spans over three and a half decades. Now that's a lot of experience, wisdom and networks!