Planning Perspectives

A look at life and finance from every angle.

From personal to professional, from family to financial, there are many facets to your life. Yet, each is interconnected. Planning Perspectives is a source of ideas and information to help you make the most of them all, all together.


Declutter Your Retirement

October 13, 2016 Planning Well, Retirement

Downsizing and minimizing clutter can be liberating when you make more room for your future.

Leonardo da Vinci called simplicity the ultimate sophistication. Bruce Lee called it the key to brilliance. And Gandhi, who many believe was the definitive minimalist, said the secret of life lies in never missing material things. What’s no secret is having less seems to be bringing more peace and happiness to those who have embraced this way of life. From small cars that counterpunched the SUV to tiny houses with their own television shows, it’s an increasingly popular choice.

But it may be easier said than done. Downsizing to a more manageable retirement home or sprucing up your current one means weeding through a lifetime of stuff, which can seem overwhelming. Even more so when it comes to making decisions about items of sentimental value. Thankfully, there’s wisdom out there to make the purging process manageable and liberating. Here’s how to clear space for a fresh start.

Ponder, Talk, Prepare
In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo encourages readers to ask whether belongings “spark joy.” If they do, we should choose a wise place for them. If they don’t, we should say goodbye. And in Behind the Clutter, June Saruwatari talks about how clutter can be psychological as well as physical. She believes decluttering isn’t just about getting rooms in order. It’s also about letting go of emotional baggage and creating breathing room.

Whether you follow Kondo, Saruwatari or someone else, what matters most is finding a method that makes sense to you and getting started. If you need help, remember there are professional movers (e.g., senior move managers) with experience to help guide you.

One way to begin is by taking inventory – making a complete list of the items in your home. Everything. It’s a great way to see just how much you have and begin thinking about how your things can be put to better use.

Tip: If you donate, remember to keep receipts so you can claim charitable deductions on your taxes.
Share the list with family and friends. Are there items they hold dear and would like to have? Are there items you’re keeping because you think your children might want them? Have you asked? They may have their own style and preferences. Inventory could help frame these conversations and ready you for action.

Then, with some other minimizing tips, you’ll soon be discovering your inner Leonardo.