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Just ask anyone who’s downsized to a smaller home, and they will tell you that one of the challenging parts of the moving process is figuring out what to do with all of your stuff.
If weeding down your belongings seems like an impossible task, know that you’re not alone. More than 45 percent of baby boomers who sell their homes do so to downsize.
Whether you’re a senior, an empty nester, or moving from the suburbs to a city apartment, adjusting your lifestyle to fit into a new smaller space is challenging. These tips can help you organize and downsize when you’re ready to make the move.
Take Pictures Before You Start
Start the downsizing process by taking pictures of the items in your current home. Not only will you create a record that you can look back at in the future, but these photos will also help you determine which items you value.
When you’re glancing through the pictures, pay attention to the items your eyes are drawn to. Often, these are the things you should focus on keeping.
Give Yourself Time
While it’s always a good idea to start the packing process early, gifting yourself enough time is critical when downsizing. If you’ve lived somewhere for years, you’ve likely accumulated a lot of stuff. It’ll take time to go through it all carefully, and you don’t want to rush.
Start going through your things a few weeks (or even months) before the move. Set a goal to go through one room at a time. It may help if you start with a smaller room that you don’t feel much emotional attachment to, such as a laundry room or linen closet.
Take the time to go through your items one by one. Paying attention to each object will help you feel good about what you keep and what you let go of.
Focus on the Good Stuff
When deciding what to keep, focus on quality over quantity. That means letting go of chipped plates, mismatched socks, and anything you’ve meant to fix for years but you haven’t got around to.
If you have duplicate items, such as two toasters, several stockpots, or multiple bathmats, keep the one that a) you like best and b) is in the best shape. Maintaining a focus on quality and purpose will help you edit your belongings.
Stop Acquiring Stuff
You’ve already got more stuff than your new home can hold. Now is the time to make a conscious decision to stop acquiring more.
Similarly, try not to save items for the future if you can help it. That means rethinking paying to store things that you think your kids or grandkids may want someday. If you have certain heirloom items that you know a family member wants, why not present them with a legacy gift early?
Now maybe an excellent time to ask family members to go through your things and let you know what they would like. Not only is this a great way to make sure valued items go where they’re genuinely wanted, but it also takes the pressure off of you to decide whether to keep, move, store, or donate items to charity.
When you’re going through a lifetime of items, it’s natural to feel emotional or even sad. Be gentle with yourself! By giving yourself the time you need to process, you’ll remove a layer of stress from your move.
Are you planning to move and to downsize soon? Contact us for a free quote. Our personal moving consultants can help you get started right away. We can assist with everything from packing to hauling to unpacking. As pro movers, we can make your move easier.