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January is synonymous with new beginnings, so it’s the perfect time to observe National Get Organized Month.

At the East Ridge, a life plan community, residents have rightsized prior to relocating, and the community’s Ruth Kinsman Thrift Store gladly accepts donations of household items, furniture and clothing. Its location within East Ridge makes it convenient as residents find they no longer need something. The thrift store welcomes donations from outside East Ridge and accepts merchandise on Thursdays.

Whether you are downsizing or simply getting organized, the process has been found to empower an individual to regain control over their surroundings, time and possessions, according to the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professional (NAPO).

Where do you start?

“The task of rightsizing and organizing may seem daunting,” said Director of Marketing for East Ridge Mary Scott Russell. “Knowing this is an obstacle people have when considering a move, we can recommend professional organizers if someone needs assistance. People find it freeing when they realize they no longer have to deal with home maintenance or cook when they relocate to East Ridge.”

Here are a few steps we’ve found helpful:

• It’s too daunting to think about the entire house; therefore, it’s easier to tackle one room at a time. People get overwhelmed when they look at their accumulation in kitchen cabinets, bedroom closets, and the garage and get stuck.

• To get used to the routine of sorting and discarding, start with something that’s not emotional such as a spice cabinet. Look for “Best by Date.” People find many spices are well over their expiration date, and it’s easier to part with these. This establishes a rhythm. Similarly, a medicine cabinet easily can be cleaned.

• Work room by room, identifying treasures and ordinary items. Treasures are items of high, sentimental value while ordinary items are 70% of what is in a home. Ordinary items are things that are mass-produced and easily replaceable. It’s reassuring to know you can’t make a wrong decision eliminating these items. Treasures can be retained, regifted, donated or sold.

• Working on closets and parting with clothes is more difficult. You know what you enjoy wearing. When you are rightsizing, if you haven’t used it or worn it in 1-3 years, let it go. Retain what brings you joy.

• Cut down on accumulated papers. Digitizing family photos or medical records means less to store. Discard junk mail and shred credit card offers. Keep bills to be paid immediately in an accessible area that’s still in sight. Bring catalogs and magazines to a designated area to be enjoyed.

• Declutter by clearing out furniture that has accumulated over the years that truly doesn’t function or serve your lifestyle. It’s amazing how many homes have pianos that no one plays.

• It’s not necessarily all or none. If you aren’t ready to part with something, take only a portion. Four vases can be cut down to one. If you can’t part with golf clubs despite no longer playing, taking a putter may offer the emotional satisfaction.

• At East Ridge, housekeeping is included, but we encourage our residents to make their lives easier by staying organized. A hook or bowl by the front door is a perfect spot for keys so they aren’t misplaced. Designating a kitchen draw for wallets, cell phones and chargers, sunglasses, and loose change keeps the clutter down.

“Our senior living counselors often visit people in their homes who are considering East Ridge. They are skilled in helping people get started in the rightsizing process,” Russell added.

About East Ridge
East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true life care retirement community. The not-for-profit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 S.W. 87th Avenue. The community offers a continuum of care including independent and assisted living apartment homes in a neighborhood setting, respite and skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation services available within Three Palms Health Center. For more information or to schedule a tour, please call (305) 256-3564 visit