One person’s “stuff” is another’s treasures, and such is the complication when downsizing your home. Where do you start? How do you decide what to keep, what to sell or donate and what to toss? After years, and possibly decades, of accumulating memories and keepsakes, it can be quite difficult to say goodbye.
Here we have listed the top 10 tips to successfully downsize, while keeping your memories and prized possessions intact.
- Give yourself time. Here we are talking weeks, or better yet, months. This way you aren’t rushed and have time to properly go through your things room by room – it also leaves time for some nostalgia. Giving yourself the time you need to go through your lifelong possessions not only cuts back on stress but can actually make the process enjoyable.
- Sort things individually. Do not leave room for open-ended questions and decisions such as which pots and pans you want to keep. Instead, go through each item and give it a yes, I will keep it or no, it isn’t necessary for the new home.
- No room for maybe’s. We know it is tough and the feelings of “I might use this” are bound to creep up, but give each item you sort a definitive answer. This is because those “maybe” piles often end up being boxed and moved, and left to collect dust and take up valuable space. If you aren’t sure about something, you probably don’t really need it.
- Pick favourites. If you have collections of various keepsakes, keep your favourite piece and take a photo of the rest. This way you will always have something to look back on and won’t have to worry about making room in your new place (or keeping them in boxes where they can’t be enjoyed anyway).
- Gift now. If you are holding on to something to give as a gift or leave as a legacy, think about giving it now. This way you will get to see the person or people enjoying your treasured item, and it will leave you with less to move and more space once you do.
- Consider an estate sale. Selling items individually can be extremely time-consuming and moving large items out for a garage sale can be hard labor. An estate sale is a great way to sell your items for the best price you can get. And better yet, you can host one on your own if you want or can hire a company to take care of it all for you. Some of them will even arrange to haul off what doesn’t sell.
- Utilize consignment shops. For valuable items that didn’t sell at an estate sale, try consignment. This gets those pieces out of your house and you still get to make money from the sale.
- Donation and trash piles. If it’s chipped, broken or stained, toss it. Otherwise, donate to a local charitable organization or put items out front with a sign that says “free”. It is amazing how quickly things disappear this way and you know they are going to people who will put them to use.
- Scrapbook. Put together a photo album of your home and the memories in it. Capture each room, the special keepsakes and anything else that holds special meaning to you.
- Let the new home be your guide. How many square feet is it? How much cupboard space is there? How many washrooms, bedrooms, closets, etc.? Scale back to the space and rooms that you will have, making sure to sell, donate or dump the rest.
Downsizing isn’t easy, but taking the time to go through your belongings can be quite liberating. And once you are settled in your new place, we’re sure you will be glad you did.
Written by Christine Tompa for Amintro, the social app designed exclusively to create and facilitate new and meaningful friendships and social circles for adults 50+.
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