Aging in place…a professional organizer is another year older

This month is another milestone birthday for me.  Milestone birthdays always push me to evaluate the way I live and operate in the world. It’s called “aging in place” and it doesn’t matter how old you are…if you are alive, you’re doing it.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve removed about 18 boxes of stuff from my house.  Really, once again, I was able to find 18 boxes worth of stuff that while I really liked and used it, I don’t really NEED the stuff.  So, it’s not clutter, it’s stuff I really, really liked, but it’s still EXTRA stuff, and only because I have a condo as big as it is (but it’s only 635 sq ft), could I house this extra stuff.

Stuff

Some of the stuff that I’ve decided to part with…

This is true for my clients as well.  As big as their house is, is as much stuff as they will house there.  So multiply my 18 boxes by a 1,500 or 3,000 sq ft home and you know how much extra stuff is housed there.  It’s why you still have those 5,000 National Geographics, or not only your stuff, but your inherited family stuff, and the stuff you are holding for your kids (who have houses of their own!).  If you have the space, you’ll fill it.

Anyway, one of the areas I am seriously re-evaluating is how I use my kitchen.  My cooking habits have changed over the last few years and I need to rethink how my kitchen is organized.  I want to use my large oven  and even my stove top less.  It’s more efficient to move to smaller electrical appliances for smaller meals, cooked more simply.

So a toaster oven may come in, as well as an electric grill. I have never used a microwave, but I’ve become a fan of the “Test Kitchen” series (by Cooks Illustrated) and they actually use microwaves for other than heating frozen meals…like parboiling potatoes before roasting.  I can now see a real value in having one when you actually cook your food.

In my work, getting clients to realize that how you live in your house when you are 20, and how you live in your house at 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and beyond, requires a rethinking of how you have organized the space.  Sometimes it’s just bringing things lower, if they were stored on your highest shelf, and once easy to get down just using a step stool…now, at 70, not so easy any more.

We have a bad habit of never reevaluating our space.  I go into a lot senior homes and see them trying to live in their house the same way they did when they moved in 45 years and 3 kids ago.  It’s a shame, really.

So, I am walking my talk…shifting things around, exiting that stuff that doesn’t serve me now, and trying new things…ready to take on another decade of adventures in organizing.


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