Although downsizing is just one step toward moving to a smaller home, it’s often the most stressful.
While it can be an emotional challenge, downsizing can also be a great way to pare down belongings that can feel just as overwhelming. So, moving to a smaller home will require less upkeep and allow you to enjoy more free time. And, for seniors who are new to retirement, simplifying your lifestyle may allow you to cut costs, as well as spend more time with grandchildren or traveling.
But, sorting through a lifetime of belongings can take a toll – emotionally and physically. That is why it i important to be strategic about how you do it.
Here are 7 tips that will make downsizing your home easier.
Downsizing is a major event. That’s why giving yourself ample time to take on this sizable project is important. If you feel rushed, downsizing can become very stressful.
Instead, don’t try sorting through your whole house in one day or even over a few days. Take at least a couple weeks – maybe longer depending on the size of your house.
If adult children are assisting the parent with downsizing, allow the parent to have the needed time to go through each item and deal with the process of letting it go.
Downsizing can be overwhelming, no matter your age, how large your house or the amount you aim to cut down. That’s why taking baby steps can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Here are a few small steps to try first:
Chances are, you have years and years of belongings to sort through. And like many households, you’ve probably accumulated multiple sets of items, such as sheets and pillows. If you’re moving to a two-bedroom home, you only need a few sets of each. Donate the rest to a charity.
Understanding your future needs also will help you eliminate spaces. If you currently have an office, garage or second bathroom, but are moving to a new home that does not, you no longer have a need for the items in those spaces. Consider either donating or selling larger items. Pieces such as office furniture and tools can be more valuable.
Once you’ve accomplished the easier steps to downsizing, begin by moving through one room at a time. By making each room its own project, deciding which items to take with you to your smaller space becomes much more manageable.
Before getting started in each room, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
As you go through each room one at a time, only have Yes and No piles. You may have the urge to create a Maybe pile, but this will only prolong any decision making. In the end, you’ll have a Maybe pile that’s larger than the Yes or No piles.
Instead, take your time with each item, but in the end, make a decision. To help with this, ask yourself questions like:
Just because you no longer want or need items doesn’t mean they don’t have value. One person’s trash can be another’s treasure. Selling your items can also bring you cash that will help pay for your move. Donating your items will leave you feeling happy that you’ve helped someone else in need.
Here are a few ways to toss your items and reap the benefits:
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s no shame in getting help from a downsizing expert.
When looking for experts, make sure they have a proven track record and are insured. Downsizing experts should be insured, since they will handle a client’s prized possessions.
Experts also will:
Not sure if it’s time to downsize? You can learn more in our article, When Is It Time to Downsize For Seniors?