De-Clutter

5 Ways to Cut Down on Home Care Clutter
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How quickly every corner of a caregiver's home seems to fill up with medication bottles, assistive devices, insurance paperwork, and all the other stuff associated with home care! These ideas will help you clamp down on clutter -- and restore a bit of calm to your life:

1. Build an oasis: one little area that's your "no caregiving" zone.

It doesn't have to be a whole room or even a corner of a room -- a certain surface, like a stretch of countertop or tabletop, will do. No pills, no papers. This area is meant to always stay nice. Place flowers there and forbid anyone else's junk in this serene, worry-free space.

2. Set up stations.

Designate one caregiving station, where you store medications, hygiene and cleaning products, emergency paperwork, and a care-tracking journal (in which everyone who takes part in care can record events). It can be a cupboard or shelving. An entertainment station could store all books and DVDs, so they're not scattered everywhere. A coat station (like a closet) becomes the only place outerwear is stored. Having designated areas teaches all family members what "the place for everything" is.

3. Pitch when your loved one isn't looking.

If your loved one raises a fuss because you're throwing out magazines she hasn't read or paper cups that could be used again, get in the habit of tossing things out of the person's range of sight. For your loved one, it's usually "out of sight, out of mind." For you, the purges are sheer necessity.

4. Call a five-minute cleanup.

Set a timer and involve everyone in the house in spending five minutes picking up stray items and putting them where they belong. It doesn't take long -- it's even energizing! -- but it goes a long way toward minimizing the drifts of stuff.

5. Preserve clutter digitally.

So much of clutter is memorabilia, framed photographs, collectibles, and other objects that family members dread letting go of. Only problem: They take up so much room! One solution is to take pictures of these items -- then box the actual things up for storage, donation, or sale. Many older adults enjoy looking at the photos without actually needing to have the objects in the room.


about 2 years ago, said...

knowing it's okay to "purge" out of sight - that is such a hard one for me


over 4 years ago, said...

yes, this was useful and made me more aware of what I am doing and not doing. I have found the use of a coat rack and a key rack at the back door very useful for me and my spouse with dementia. I also enlist him for just 15 minutes of cleaning and I work with him in a very limited space--example--let's clear the top of the coffee table together . But I still feel overwhelmed by the clutter of mail that I did not send for and also by the material for tax filing and bill paying. I try to keep it all at one desk--but that is hard. This is good advice and I will look into a care-giving free space--maybe my room could be that space.


over 4 years ago, said...

Your comments are all welcome. At least now I know I am not alone. Thank you.


over 4 years ago, said...

Great article and it will be useful even on a short term basis. My wife has bunion surgery scheduled and this article will be very helpful and help make her room much more cheery.


over 4 years ago, said...

I have a beautiful new recycled oak side table, on it I have a doily made by my mum and on that I have my dad's lead glass ash tray, they are both long gone, but they (at present) are the only things allowed on that table.


over 4 years ago, said...

These tips reinforce my own thoughts on controlling clutter. I really needed the affirmation today!


over 4 years ago, said...

All of the above !!!


over 4 years ago, said...

Great idea, paper works takes me so long I have to take a day off work to get it done and make calls. This is all new to me. Glad I found you all thanks


over 4 years ago, said...

Some good ideas but any ideas when you are both taking meds and using various devices?


over 4 years ago, said...

Gives me the energy to start!


over 4 years ago, said...

My wife has been a horder and my daughter has been sneaking into our house every time we are gone and takes boxes from our house and works on them on her garage. She has made a big dent in the stuff, but there is so much more to go.


over 4 years ago, said...

Yes.this article,was extremely helpful,to me.there are certain material items,which are,always,needed.there are other things,that are free to be tossed.I am a person,who tends to hang onto un necessaries,just because.thank you for caring enough,to bring this to my attention.I will keep it in my food for thought processor,(my brain),and ,from now on I will stay on top,of getting rid of what is no longer needed.thank you,so very much,for all your help.mrs Mary goodfriend


over 4 years ago, said...

Most of the things in this article are easier said than done when the loved one you are caring for has dementia. They no longer have the ability to grasp any logic about their surroundings. Clean space is a free-for-all in our tiny, cramped apartment!


over 4 years ago, said...

Yes, I am now that person that has medication bottle collecting, other things that I don't need just collecting in a corner or table and it seems that I just don't have enough time to throw anything out. Or if I do have a little time I just don't have the energy to go threw it. Grand kids pictures and no place to put them anymore. Taking up too muc Ih space and takes forever to dust. I need to put phots away. They don't visit anyway and only living 2 miles away.


over 4 years ago, said...

#5 is a great idea and will help keep from getting overwhelmed with too many things to look at in your house.