Declutter Your Older Adult’s Living Space

declutter senior home

Create a safe, pleasant living space

Many older adults spend a majority of their time in a few rooms of the house. For safety and comfort, it’s important to make sure their main living spaces are decluttered, pleasant, and don’t have hidden dangers.

Being in open, welcoming spaces is also a great mood booster. Here are our top five suggestions for creating a comfortable space where your older adult can happily spend time.


1. Get your older adult involved

  • This is the space they’ll be using so collaborate with them on changes.
  • Help them feel excited about getting a room or home makeover.
  • Tackle the rooms that your older adult spends most of their time in. Don’t worry about spaces they never use.


2. Declutter and remove tripping hazards

  • Swap out any sharp-edged furniture for softer, safer items.
  • Remove throw rugs or area rugs.
  • Tape down or remove any exposed electrical cords.
  • Donate or sell excess furniture or move it to other rooms. Keep things simple and minimal.
  • Declutter the space! Don’t use the room as a storage area.
  • Keep only things that are actively being used and consider storage baskets for organization.


3. Brighten the space

  • Improve the lighting by getting brighter lights and making sure the curtains get opened.
  • Hang up a few large pictures or posters. Anything that triggers happy memories is great. Ideas include:
    • Family photos
    • Nature scenes
    • Images from hobbies like fishing or gardening
    • Cityscapes from favorite vacations


4. Keep frequently used things in reach

  • Make note of the things that your older adult reaches for constantly.
  • Figure out how to keep those items within arms reach of their usual seat.
  • This could include:
    • Tissues
    • Telephone
    • TV remote control
    • Reading glasses
    • Books or puzzles
    • Glass of water


5. Bring nature inside

  • Add some plants. Whether they’re fake or real, they bring freshness and life.
  • Add natural items from favorite activities, like:
    • Smooth rocks from a fishing spot
    • Shells collected from the beach
    • Flowers from the farmer’s market
    • A bowl of lemons
    • A bunch of fall leaves


By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: Home Information Guru


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  • Reply September 10, 2014

    Angie Wong

    These are such good tips! Especially the area rug tip. However, my question is what do you do when the older adult won’t allow you to clean their house or move anything?

    • Reply September 10, 2014

      Connie Chow

      Thanks Angie! That’s a really good question and something that many people struggle with. We’re dedicating an article to helping families deal with that exact challenge. Check back to see our tips on how to get your older adult to cooperate with necessary changes in their living space!

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