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Retirement Tips

Downsizing? How to De-clutter Your Home and Your Life

Get organized for the next stage of retirement.

Downsizing isn’t just about going smaller; it’s about embracing smarter living so you can enjoy your retirement. From maximizing your closet space to simplifying your lifestyle, these handy tips from the experts will point you toward a more organized home (and life!).

De-clutter now

“Fill a bag or box a day from each room,” says Felice Cohen, professional organizer and author of 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (...Or More). “Leave it at the door and, little by little, fill it up.”

Pass on unused items

“Start spreading precious items to the rest of the family,” says Janet Ramin, interior designer and mentor with the New York Institute of Art and Design. “[Grown] children may have a house to outfit and need kitchen equipment or garden tools that will not fit in a smaller house or apartment.”

Downsize furniture

Go for flexible furniture that serves multiple purposes, such as transformable sofas or bed frames with built-in drawers. “Choose materials and styles that will make your space look more spacious,” adds professional organizer Lisa Zaslow—think see-through glass tables and sleek armless chairs. She also recommends pieces that can be put away or stacked when not needed, such as nesting tables and folding chairs.

Max out kitchen space

Replace big appliances with more compact ones. “Consider swapping out a big food processor for an immersion blender,” says Jenna Mahoney, a lifestyle writer and author of Small Apartment Hacks.

Purge the pantry

Empty the shelves, chucking unlabelled or expired products. Donate extra canned goods to the local food bank. Next, organize. “Consider purchasing boxes of food instead of bags so it stacks naturally,” says Clare Kumar, an organization and productivity coach, and president of organizing company Streamlife. “Place the most-often-used items in the easiest-to-reach spaces.”

Get smarter storage

Install wall shelving or sliding shelf organizers to eliminate rummaging, and try multi-drawer wheeled carts or wall fasteners. “I’m fond of pegboards, where you can hang hooks and unusually sized items,” says Ramin. “They’re cheap and can hang inside a closet door or even over a desk.”

Review your insurance

Check that your policies meet your current needs, especially if you’ll be retiring and leaving a group benefits plan. With 16 plan combinations, the CAA Health and Dental Plan lets you mix and match different levels of drug and dental coverage with the Basic Extended Health Care (EHC), so you’ll pay only for what your family actually needs.

Ready for the next phase?

CAA Health & Dental Plans offer flexible coverage for every stage of life.

Learn more