My best friend is a self-confessed hoarder. Visiting her is a lot like watching a version of ‘This is your life.’ Everything she has acquired over the years is still lurking around, gathering dust. That dust has to be dealt with, and so, instead of going to the local cafe to catch up and enjoy each other’s company, here we are, in her house, dusting.

The moral of this story is simple. The fewer things you possess, the more free time you have to spend with friends like me, in such desperate need of socialization (thanks Covid) they are willing to help you dust.

Looking at old memories and decluttering a house.

Oh The Memories…

When questioned why she didn’t just get rid of things, my friend regaled me with stories and anecdotes for each box or object as if they were the people and memories themselves. I remembered some advice I’d read in ‘The Best of Everything After 50‘ by Barbara Hannah Grufferman. By the time we reach 50, we need to step back and evaluate everything we’ve accumulated. Shifting our focus to where we are in the present and where we want to be in the future helps us stay grounded and ultimately happier.

Fragile – boxes of memories stacked for moving house


Retirement and age bombard us with change after change, which can leave us clinging to the past like a life raft. Memories and keepsakes are wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but when your precious time is taken up by cleaning and maintaining a sprawling collection, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Clutter is a dirty word

Distinguishing the clutter from the keepsakes is a good first step. Clutter makes us feel bogged-down and trapped in the mire. Donate, sell or gift items that you don’t need or have a real emotional attachment to. You’ll feel lighter already, I promise. Don’t go spending that extra money on more ‘stuff’ though! Add it to your retirement fun fund and enjoy experiences instead.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of more free time, then let the experts help you:

Marie Kondo has made a name for herself with practical advice on organizing your home – and other aspects of your life.

Julie Morgenstern is a pro on tackling clutter and creating a system that makes sense


Decluttering takes time. It’s important to be kind to yourself during the process. Be aware that it might be highly emotional sorting through and saying goodbye to your possessions. Acknowledge those feelings and focus on how far you’ve come. Make sure to congratulate yourself on your progress and don’t lose heart.

Smiling and happy after downsizing to condo living


I’d always considered myself a minimalist until it came to moving house. Downsizing into a condo was the right move for me. It’s something I recommend to most of my friends looking to shake things up and live a little bit more. What I didn’t expect was to be confronted with decades worth of, well, stuff that I’d forgotten I owned and put in storage to be dealt with ‘another day.’ That day finally came, and I’m thankful that I’d planned ahead enough to be in good health, and able to take care of the organization. My advice to you:

  • Declutter and downsize whilst you’re young and healthy
  • Focus on the now, and the next steps – not the past
  • Embrace your extra time with new friends and hobbies
  • Ask for help if you need it, there’s no shame in reaching out

Something I’ve found in my downsized life is that I really cherish the things I do own. I’m also less likely to spend frivolously on unplanned purchases as I enjoy my new, cleaner space. It brings me peace.

Free your time and shed that clutter!