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July 31, 2013

Living Independently: 5 Ideas to De-Clutter Your Home This Summer

A particular benefit of living independently in your home as you age means you don’'t have to part with items you’'ve collected— and the memories that accompany them— throughout the years. But just because you can keep these items in your home doesn’'t always mean you should. In fact, de-cluttering the home can have positive mental and physical effects.

The simplest way to go about de-cluttering your home is to start small. “Pick one area to tackle, such as the junk drawer in the kitchen or the piles of clothes in the bedroom,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Take a hard look at what you’'ve accumulated. Clear out any items you’'re not using.” Once you’'ve cleared the smaller items, you can move on to larger mementos and even furniture.

But what do you do with the items you decide to part with? If the items are in good condition, consider the following:

Garage Sale

A garage sale is the old standby for older adults who wish to de-clutter their home while making a slight profit. In a matter of hours, you can drastically reduce your household clutter without leaving your property! However, from advertising online and in the local paper to lugging your items out onto your front law, garage sales can be stressful for older adults. Ask around in your area to uncover if any neighbors are also planning a garage sale; hosting together may ease both of your burdens.


The Freecycle Network is a grassroots and nonprofit movement comprised of people giving and getting items for free in their communities. The purpose of Freecycle is to encourage people to reuse rather than trash belongings. Even broken items such as old tools, televisions, and bicycles that seem valueless are often claimed and restored or repurposed. Visit www.freecycle.org to find a group near you!


Craigslist is a community-moderated classified advertisements website with portals devoted to jobs, housing, services, for sale, and more. You can list just about anything you wish to sell or give away in your home on Craigslist. This time of year is especially good for ridding your home of unused furniture as many college students are researching inexpensive methods to furnish dorm rooms or apartments. If you do choose to list your items on Craigslist, be sure to follow these tips from Money Crashers to get your item sold quickly and for a fair price.


Local charities and resale shops such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army are always a good option for donating general goods; however, they are not the only option. See this list for other charities you can consider donating to. Or, if your place of worship holds a flea market during its summer festival, you can opt to donate your items there.

Give to Family, Friends, and Neighbors

Has your daughter always been fond of a particular sculpture of yours? Or do you know your son could really benefit from your trusty lawnmower? Go ahead and give it as a gift, just because. You can also consider holding a de-clutter event— a gathering where you invite friends and neighbors to your home to sort through unwanted items. This way, you know your cherished items will go to good homes.

Need additional help de-cluttering your home? See our “Top 10 Downsizing Survival Tips

Downsizing Survival Tips

photo credit: Nomadic Lass


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