You’ve evaluated living options and found the ideal place to live out the next chapter of your life. Now what to do with all that stuff that’s accumulated over the years? Here are eight downsizing tips to help you downsize before your move.
MAKE A PLAN.
Downsizing is process that involves different days of high productivity, with some space to reflect in between. When you see a move on the horizon, get out the calendar and set dates for those productive days. Define goals for each day, write down who will need to be involved to reach those goals, and get those friends and relatives involved early on so they can be ready to help when those days come.
MAKE A LIST, BEFORE YOU START GOING THROUGH THINGS.
Involve a loved one if you think it will help, but it’s OK to sit down by yourself and write down the possessions that you would like to bring to your new home. While it’s not easy, it can be most helpful to write your list without walking around your house and pulling things out. If you can’t think of them now, you won’t miss them when they’re gone.
START WITH THE UNSENTIMENTAL STUFF.
Sometimes, even parting with an extra cheese grater can be difficult. But if you start with the kitchen and the garage, you might be surprised how ready you are to tackle the living room and bedroom!
VISIT YOUR NEW HOME FREQUENTLY BEFORE THE MOVE-IN.
If you’re moving into a senior living community, spend some time with loved ones in your new apartment or cottage home and visualize your favorite possessions around you. Where will you put them? What won’t be necessary anymore? Then, when you return to your house, it will be easier to visualize where each item will or won’t fit in your new home as you’re organizing.
BE ABLE TO ARTICULATE EACH ITEM’S PURPOSE.
Alternatively, take the advice of Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, who advises you to pick up each item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy”? If it doesn’t, set it aside.
DON’T DISPOSE OF THINGS IMMEDIATELY.
You don’t need to throw away your old things just yet. Set them aside, preferably out of sight, and see how you get along without them. You could be surprised at how little you notice they’re gone — and how much you enjoy living with less stuff.
DON’T THROW THINGS AWAY IF YOU CAN HELP IT.
Rather than chucking your old possessions in the garbage, where it will eventually end up in a landfill, you can find a new owner for many of your things. It’s not as difficult to part with familiar items when you know someone else will be enjoying them. And if you can’t give it away, try to recycle!
Downsizing is a chance to celebrate the items that really matter to you, while saying goodbye to those that have run their course. Involve your friends, family and loved ones as much as you can, and pour a glass of wine if it suits you. Cheers to this next step in your life!