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The Commotion of Clutter in Seniors’ Homes and What to Do About It

garage-5-1534595 It is common for senior citizens to accumulate excess clutter over the years. If you are worried about Mom or Dad’s hoarding habits, Vicki Dellaquila, an expert professional organizer and author of Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash, gives 10 reasons why seniors do not want to give up their trinkets and gives tips on how you can help clear the clutter.

1. Sentimental attachment to items is normal and helps people retain both memories and feelings of the events. If your loved one wants to keep an old prom dress, for example, suggest keeping a piece of the dress in a quilt or in a shadow box. Clean out photo clutter by scrapbooking or storing photos electronically.

2. Elderly people may be reluctant to part with unused gifts from family and friends due to a sense of loyalty. Encourage regifting within the family to make proper use of the gifts.

3.  Many seniors today lived through difficult eras, such as World War II and the Great Depression. They feel a need to conserve, and this results in excess storage of necessities. Encourage them to give back to the needy in their community by donating excess food and clothing.

4. Eliminate electronic clutter with online bill paying and removing your senior from junk mail lists. Not only does this reduce electronic and mental clutter, but also reduces the risk of identity theft.

5.  A decline in health can prevent seniors from keeping up with regular housework and cleaning duties. Once your loved on is treated, he or she may want to consider a professional organizer or in-home caregiver.

6. Older adults often feel safe when keeping generations of documents, like medical records or bank statements. Help them reduce their fear of losing this information by working through the cleaning with logical thinking.

7. Many adults have a dream of losing enough weight to fit into dressers full of old clothes. Help them fill boxes with things they no longer wear, and agree to wait six months before giving them away.

8. Baby boomers often have enough money to spend on unnecessary shopping. Help them learn how to say no to items they already own to reduce the cycle of buying and rebuying.

9. Trinkets and keepsakes often represent history and memories. Encourage them to share the most beloved of these items with the younger generations or donate historical items to museums or historical societies, libraries, or churches and synagogues.

10. Loneliness can contribute to overaccumulation of stuff. Depression due to loneliness can also lead to seniors becoming disorganized. In contrast, getting organized can help fight depression. Consider hiring a professional organizer to get the ball rolling on feeling more organized and more happy.

About Sacred Heart Villa

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ created Sacred Heart Villa (formerly St. Michael Convent) in 2003 with the vision of providing a personal care home for the Sisters and other seniors of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters renovated St. Michael in order to create 35 personal care residential rooms. Sacred Heart Villa officially opened her doors to her first new residents in May 2004, with space for 57 Sisters and 40 other senior residents.  The facility has two residential buildings, a remodeled dining room, a new fireside lounge, library, café and beauty shop. The chapel remains in the middle of the facility for it truly is the Heart of the community. Each new residential room provides an individual with privacy, safety and security in an environment of beauty and grace. Mass is celebrated each day and is open to the public.

Sacred Heart Villa is now accepting residents. If you are seeking care for yourself or loved one, contact Sacred Heart Villa today at 610-929-5751 for a tour. You can also visit or visit us at