When I’m asked where to begin downsizing, I’m tempted to say “At the beginning, of course.” But that’s not always the right answer. For each of us, the beginning is different.
Why are you downsizing? Is it because you’ve realized your living space is being taken over with “stuff” and you want to liberate that space? Or are you moving to a smaller home?
Let’s begin with the first option. You’re being squeezed out of your home by the accumulation of things you used to love but don’t any more. This is fairly simple. Just pick the items you still love, wear, use and put them to one side. Then tackle the remainder.
If you’re the curator of anything historical or family heirlooms that you don’t want to keep, remember to consult family first to see if anyone wants them. If they do, and you haven’t consulted, the result may not be pleasant.
If family aren’t interested, then ask friends what they would like. Then if there are still items remaining, consider donating the historical items to your local museum. The rest you could sell them on consignment and possibly earn a bit of money. Consignment places charge a percentage of the sale price for using their services. Keep in mind that not everything will sell there.
Articles not accepted by the consignment stores could be sent to Goodwill and you might receive a tax receipt for their value. Always check this because it doesn’t apply everywhere.
Should your downsizing be in preparation for a move to a smaller place, obtain the measurements and floor plan of your new home so you will have a better idea of what will fit. You’ll have to consider the size of your furniture and the amount of storage available.
Be aware that you will be letting go most of your belongings to fit into a smaller space and that can be very difficult. Tripping down memory lane can be long. Going through memorabilia, photos etc. to choose the most important might be emotional and time-consuming, but necessary.
Try to focus on this as a step into your future. How you will feel unencumbered with less to be concerned about. You’ll be free to travel without a large home to worry about. You might even feel relief and freedom.
Are you thinking about downsizing? What are your concerns? Or have you already gone through the process? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See www.goforwarddownsize.com for more about the book including where to purchase it, and www.decluttercoach.ca to learn about her organizing services.