Tips to help you downsize to a smaller home

Downsizing can be a tough time for many people. The move often causes a person to leave a lot of memories behind, along with friends in the old neighborhood. The perceived trauma of a move can make it difficult for people to get started and many people have no idea where to begin.

Start with a plan. Consider the amount of space you will have after the move and remember that some furniture will have to go along with other belongings. As the moving day looms ahead, stress may build. Anxiety and other health conditions can contribute to the trauma of a move.

Instead of looking back, try to look ahead to the new home. Put your focus on what you will need, what will fit and then figure out what to do with the rest. Pare down your belongings before you move. Why pay someone to move things you will not be keeping? And, you will have to stuff everything into the new place and spend endless time and energy sorting through it eventually.

Since preparing for a move can be a lengthy process, the sooner you start preparing, the better. Begin in one of the least cluttered areas and work your way up to the areas that are most congested.

Keep a clipboard or binder for all paperwork related to the move so everything is in one location. Add notes to the binder as you come up with ideas so you won’t forget any of them.

Start sorting your belongings into three categories: items you will keep, give away/donate and sell. If you have valuable items to sell you might want to look into having them appraised before selling them. Try to only keep what you will use. It is a difficult task, but with limited space, a necessity.

Avoid guilt! You do not have to feel badly about giving away a wedding gift that has been taking up space in a closet for the past 40 years. Call family members and offer pieces of art, China or furniture they may want. Don’t feed badly if they can’t accept your offer because of their own space limitations. Simply move on to the next relative or household item.

Do you have a family historian? Family photos, heirlooms or objects with an interesting back story can be more valuable than gold to them. Scan old photos into your computer (or have them scanned) and then give away the actual photos to another family member.

Have some quiet moments to reminisce, but try to focus on what is ahead for you. This can be a wonderful time of freedom. By letting go of all of the clutter, you are able to move into a simpler lifestyle with less cleaning to do and more time for the things you enjoy.

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