Going through a time of change can be stressful. The decision to downsize alone can sometimes feel like the hardest part of the journey. Then there are all the questions. Where should I begin? How much can I keep and what do I have to give away? Don’t worry. While downsizing is a big process, it can be done by taking one small step at a time. Take a deep breath, then take the plunge.
- Baby Steps. Start early, and start small. The entire process is going to take much longer than a week, so it’s important to give yourself time. Dedicate a specific time a week, or an hour a day to go through your belongings. You likely have a spare room that you won’t have in your next home, that’s usually a good place to start.
- Clean. Cleaning is the best way to rediscover everything you own. Go through old closets or the shed and start by physically cleaning up the place. While working, take breaks to go through old boxes. Sort them between keep, sell, and donate. You’ll have the benefit of both a cleaner home and a head start on downsizing.
- Find donation outlets. Not everyone wants to go through the process of a garage sale. For all the items you wish to sell or donate, figure out which plan-of-action works best for you. If you’re looking to make a quick buck, find a second-hand outlet such as a consignment shop, Craigslist, Etsy, or Ebay. If not, search for your local Goodwill or find items to pass down to family.
- Plan a family get-together. It can be daunting to try and downsize on your own. Inviting kids and grandkids to help with the process is a great way to bond and have a helping hand. You can recount the tales to your grandkids about that necklace you found abroad, while family members can find small knickknacks to claim as their own.
- Prepare for emotions. Going through a lifetime of memorabilia can be hard. Some days it’s tempting to stop and look at your child’s old report cards and drawings for the rest of the day. And that’s ok. Know that there will be moments of nostalgia, and allow yourself the time to experience it.
Contrary to popular belief, it can be easier to sort more popular rooms (the bedroom, the kitchen) than less-used areas. Once you get into the swing of things, it could be beneficial to tackle one of these larger rooms instead of saving them for the end. Having a good stock of essentials will make going through the odds and ends much easier.
Generally, downsizers sort their belongings into three piles: one to keep, one to donate/sell, and one to throw away. Stick to these three piles. The ‘maybe’ pile is doomed to take over the room.
All packed? If you’re ready to explore new communities or look at available homes, then give us a call. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have and offer more tips to help you with your transition.