New Year – Clean Start

Author:  Rhonda Latreille, MBA, CPCA
Founder & CEO
Age-Friendly Business®

I love the beginning of a new year and new cycle. These times hold such promise for fresh perspectives and different experiences.
There is a catch, though. We often have to toss out some of the ‘old stuff’ to make room for new… or better yet, to simply just make room!

This edition looks at a few tips to help us reduce and declutter.


• Ask a Friend. Sometimes we need the trusted truth that only a dear friend can provide. I remember the brutal support from a friend telling me to ‘keep the memory’ and donate the dress – many times over as I went through a significant collection of out-of-date outfits bought for previous special events!
• There is also the tried and true recommendation that if you haven’t worn it within the last year – it is time to share! If one year is a little too short a time frame for you to give them up, box these clothes and store them for an additional 6 months and see if you even notice!
• Now you have a box all prepared and ready to be donated.
• Another friend suggested that if a clothes item does not make you feel like a million bucks – it is time to let go and make space for something that does. Now that is a high bar!


Many of us are from a generation that straddled both paper and digital records. If you are a boomer like me, you likely keep both versions of your receipts and documents and have to learn to be disciplined to get rid of our traditional paper items!

• Digital files and documents. If you would have easy and reliable access to the digital document, then it is probably safe for you to delete the file at your end and let the original owner serve as the keeper of this info.
• In terms of business and personal papers – it is good practice to keep the most recent contract/agreement and shred the historical versions. We all know that financial and tax statements need to be kept for at least 7 years.
• Critical documents such as birth and marriage certificates, wills, POAs, etc. need to be kept in a protected place.
• As much as possible, elect to go paperless and view your statements and bills online. Pay your bills online and use e-transfer options to transfer money to friends and family.
• Unsubscribe from any publications you no longer read and recycle the publications and magazines you still want to receive. It is unlikely these will ever be reread by you.
• Keep business receipts and receipts for items you may need to return. You can most likely shred all others.
• Review the stacks of paper on your desk at least twice weekly.


• How often do you use a specific appliance, and for how long for each use? If your toaster is used for only 5 minutes a day, perhaps it could be stored off the counter when not in use.
• Store seasonal items.
• Keep papers off the kitchen counter.
• Don’t keep dirty dishes on the counter. Put them immediately in the dishwasher or in the sink in preparation for washing.


• Plan a week-end when you can remove everything from your carport, and sweep the dirt and cobwebs.
• Sort your items outside of the carport by category.
• Map out a plan to create functional sections.
• Be firm in determining what items will be donated or thrown out and only return those items you are confident you need to keep.
• Take advantage of clear storage bins and wall shelves.
• Restock your carport with your ‘to keep’ items already sorted by category.

Starting the new year with less clutter, more space, and better organization is an excellent way to reduce stress and bring greater peace. Our carport is calling out for a desperate declutter and sort through. I look forward to scheduling the project so we can enter this space in a way that is orderly and welcoming. Stay tuned.

Rhonda Latreille, MBA, CPCA
Founder & CEO
Age-Friendly Business



Our bodies also clean out the old and damaged cells and make room for the new healthier cells. It is called autophagy. According to Wikipedia, “autophagy is the natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that removes unnecessary or dysfunctional components. It allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. “Now if I could only get that carport of ours to automatically remove all of its dysfunctional components!”


Declutter Your Life

“What I know for sure is that when you declutter, whether it’s on your home, your head, or your heart – it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.”

Peter Walsh

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