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5 Ways to Simplify Your Life After Retiring

Finding yourself buried in things you’ve collected over the years? While you were busy working, you may not have had time to tackle the clutter from your life that’s piled up, and it can be easy to stuff it all into the hall closet for later. But the task of sorting all your old stuff doesn’t have to be so daunting. Here are a few easy ways to get started.

1. Paper Clutter

Your desk is likely full of old paperwork and files from your working life. To free up that space, sit down with all your paper clutter and sort it into three piles: keep, toss, and shred. Keep papers that serve a purpose, like CalPERS retirement paperwork and tax records. Toss papers you don’t need that don’t hold any personal information, such as old newsletters, and shred papers you’re done with that do have personal information on them, like old statements.

With your remaining papers, learn how long they need to be kept and save them in a safe, organized place for easy reference.

2. Digital Storage

Even though the contents of your computer’s desktop might not take up physical space, it can still be distracting and take up a lot of digital storage space. Take time to sort through and see what you need on your computer, tablet, phone, or other devices. Are there apps you haven’t used in months? Old screenshots and bookmarks? Delete or send them to the wastebasket.

If you have any files leftover from your work, forward them to anyone who will find them useful. If you have files you can’t bear to part with but still want to free up some storage space, you can use online storage systems like Google Drive to keep your files organized and accessible.

While you’re cleaning up your devices, you should also make sure that your personal information is protected. Check to make sure you’re following cybersecurity best practices and look into doing some digital spring cleaning to ensure your information is safe and up to date.

3. Hobby Materials

Your hobby closet is probably packed to the brim after years of starting and stopping projects. If there are supplies or equipment for a hobby you’ve let fall by the wayside, consider if they are adding anything to your life. Do you feel like you’ll want to pick up your knitting needles again in the foreseeable future? If not, it may be best to let your extra supplies go to a new home. For new and gently used items, you can donate them to a charity near you. You can also look into repurposing supplies for a new hobby. For ideas on what to take up next, check out activities other CalPERS retirees enjoy.

4. Closets

After retirement, you may not have as much need for professional clothing as you did in your working life. Take an afternoon to go through your wardrobe. If you see yourself wearing your work clothes out and about, hang on to those pieces. For clothing pieces you don’t plan to wear, find a donation center near you, like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

5. Pantries

As you grow older, it may be wise to reevaluate your nutritional needs, which you can do using the MyPlate Plan. Keeping these needs in mind, you can clean out your pantry to make more room for new foods that will help nourish you best. Throw out any foods that are expired; if you’re having a hard time identifying if a food is safe to eat, you can check the USDA’s Shelf-Stable Food Safety guide or look it up on the FoodKeeper, which catalogues the best way to store different foods.

For pantry items you don’t want but that are still good, donate them to a local food bank or charity. This is vitally important, as many food banks run low on supplies during the summer between major holidays. To find a food bank near you, use resources like the California Association of Food Banks, Feeding America, or FoodFinder.

Ultimately, decluttering your home is about making it more functional for you. Make a plan to get started by decluttering one of the areas mentioned above. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a clutter-free retirement!