As part of our Lifestyle Change Solution, we give interactive talks for elders on decluttering and downsizing. I was down in lovely sunny Mandurah recently having morning tea with two groups of elders at the Stockland Lifestyle Villages of Murray River and Halls Head.

Even though these elders had already downsized, many have lived within their independent living units for many years – some were coming up to their 20th year and consequently had accumulated quite a lot of stuff since they had downsized from their family homes!

We talked about when they had begun their downsizing journey – did they checked all the pockets, nooks and crannies of every item that they discarded or gave away.  As Senior Move Managers it is part of our process to check, so important items such as jewellery and important documents and photographs are not discarded and lost forever.

You can imagine the consternation when they realised they actually hadn’t thought to flip through stacks of papers, or pages of a favourite book to see if they had inadvertently left anything there.

We’re all about the interaction, and understand some people learn better by doing rather than just listening. So we asked a couple of residents to join us in an exercise.

The people who participated in our  ‘wardrobe’ declutter were amazed that when they checked a pocket and found a tissue or an old newspaper they just threw it in the bin.  Only for me to show them that a pair of gold rings had been placed in the tissue and old family photos were in the newspaper.

It’s amazing where we place items for ‘safe keeping’ only to forget where we have placed them, or completely forget them because it’s hidden behind closed wardrobe doors.

So – next time you want to throw something away – make sure to double check that you are not throwing the family heritage or fortune away also.

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