40+ years of clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, blankets – it’s a lot to ask one room to hold.
With so many things tucked into one space, the aging-in-place bedroom can be one of the more difficult spaces to declutter. But that’s also why it’s such an important room to tackle. Your parent needs to be able to move around the bedroom in the dark when they get up at night, and get the clothes and shoes they need without weeding through decades worth of clothing hung in the closet.
Decluttering may seem like a less-critical task than some other aging-in-place upgrades, but it’s actually one of the most important jobs for creating a safe aging-in-place home for your parent.
My Four Rules for Decluttering the Aging-in-Place Bedroom….and Keeping it That Way
Step one when you’re ready to declutter is to get rid of everything you no longer need. Keep things simple and follow the age-old rule of decluttering – ‘keep it, toss it, or donate it.’
Once you’ve cleansed the bedroom of clothing that no longer fits and old shoes that have seen better days, it’s time to get organized. Giving each item in the bedroom a place to live is how to make sure that weeks from now your or your parent’s bedroom is still clutter-free.
Here are my four rules for decluttering the aging-in-place bedroom.
Rule #1: Get Clothing Organized and Under Control
It’s probably not a surprise that clothing is the big clutter culprit in the bedroom. You have the dirty clothes on the floor that didn’t make it to the hamper…and the ones folded but still sitting in the laundry basket. Of course, you also have those bulky sweaters pouring out of over-stuffed drawers or dangling down from the tops of closet shelves.
Getting rid of the clothing your parent no longer needs and organizing the rest is half the battle of decluttering the bedroom.
Here are some of my favorite clothing and closet organizers to keep clothes in their place.
Help your parent find pants easily without having to dig through drawers with a simple pants hanger. I like these hangers because they usually keep pants from getting wrinkled which means less ironing – a task that becomes much more dangerous as we age.
Like with a pants hanger, this shirt hanger lets fives shirts take up the closet space of just one. This is a simple way to keep the closet from getting cluttered and overly-packed with clothes.
For over-sized items that take up way too much room in the closet, these large storage bags are great for stacking on the floor or on a top shelf. Bulky sweaters, towels and blankets can quickly clutter up a closet. This is a great solution to keep clutter from coming back.
Rule #2: Always Put Your Shoes Away
Shoes that aren’t put away are laying around on the floor. Especially for a senior with a mobility issue or who relies on a walker or wheelchair, the floor has to stay clear. Having an easy way to keep shoes neatly organized is an important part of making sure clutter doesn’t creep back in once you’ve decluttered the bedroom.
Break down the way you organize your shoes by how often you wear them. Seasonal shoes like boots or sandals can be stored away for the months they’re not needed. That will free up space for the shoes you wear every day.
This sturdy shoe rack has tons of room for your parent’s shoes and fits in most tall closets. Or, leave it sitting out on the floor – just make sure it’s not sticking too far from the wall or you could add a tripping hazard to the room.
I’m a huge fan of utilizing the space behind the door in each of my aging-in-place home projects. This over-the-door shoe rack keeps the entire rack system up off of the floor so there’s no tripping hazard. This specific rack holds a ton of shoes and makes each pair easy to access.
Remember that not every shoe your parent owns belongs on the shoe rack. To keep shoes from cluttering up the bedroom, store the shoes you don’t need. That means boots are stored in a shoe bag or bin during the summer, and sandals get put away during the winter.
Rule #3: Decorative Pillows are a ‘No’…Unless They’re in a Storage Basket
Sorry to those this may offend – but I don’t get the obsession with decorative pillows. Is it just me? They serve no actual purpose and create work for us twice a day.
Regardless of my personal views, though, I realize that some people can’t imagine parting ways with their pillows. If your parent is one of them, do what you can to keep a few pillows and get rid of the rest.
Why? Because decorative pillows almost always end up on the floor at night when it’s time to get into bed. You can imagine the trip and fall risks this creates for older adults who may already have trouble getting around the bedroom at night.
If your parent wants to hold onto one or two decorative pillows, meet them halfway and add a storage basket next to the bed where a couple of small pillows can live during the night.
This basket holds a few large decorative pillows and doubles as part of your bedroom décor.
This metal wire alternative makes a great storage space for decorative pillows. I especially approve of this option for aging-in-place because it keeps the pillows higher up off the ground and, therefore, easier for your parent to reach.
Rule #4: Keep Watches and Jewelry in a Well-Organized Jewelry Box
The top of the dresser and the side table will get cluttered with your parent’s jewelry and watches quickly if there’s nowhere to tuck them away safely. These small items easily fall on the floor and can catch your parent off-balance. Not to mention that priceless jewelry can end up getting lost or damaged.
A jewelry box is always a good addition to the aging-in-place bedroom. What you don’t want to do, though, is find a place for each piece of jewelry right away. Go through the collection with your parent and purge any jewelry that’s not worth hanging onto. This is also a great way to identify if any jewelry should be repaired.
Once you’re left with only the jewelry that gets to stay, organize each piece to keep it from creating future clutter.
This beautiful wooden jewelry box features large slots for all-sized jewelry and watches so every piece is easy to spot.
If your parent has a large collection of jewelry worth holding onto, this jewelry armoire can hold it all. Beyond its size, this is a great option for the aging-in-place bedroom because there are no small knobs to pull, making it much more comfortable for older hands.
If you want to bypass knobs and sliding doors altogether, jewelry trays are a great option. This tray set will look great on top of the dresser. The benefit of trays over traditional jewelry boxes is that you’re more limited in the number of pieces you can store – and fewer pieces of jewelry mean fewer opportunities for clutter.
Decluttering the Aging-in-Place Bedroom Can Be a Chore, But the Safety Upgrades You’ll Make Are Well Worth the Effort
As I’m sure you can tell by now, the simplest tasks can sometimes make the biggest impact on aging-in-place home safety. Once you start decluttering your parent’s bedroom, you’ll see how much of an improvement you can make when you get rid of what your parent doesn’t need and put a few smart products in place to organize the rest.
Follow these aging-in-place bedroom decluttering rules and use the comments section to ask me any questions along the way.
Good luck with your next aging-in-place home project!