Downsizing: It’s a Moving Experience!
By: Tara Smith, Design Alternatives
Perhaps you’re at a point in life where you’re considering relocating from your current home, either by desire or by necessity. Whether the time is now or the near future the act of downsizing can provide you peace of mind, reduce the burden of maintaining unnecessary things and free up valuable time to invest in the things that matter most to you. It can be the reward for a life well lived. Then the really daunting question hits you:
“Where do I start and what do I do with all my stuff?”
Beyond the decisions of location, of selling or buying, and timing, the question of what to do with a lifetime of possessions can stop us in our tracks and paralyze us into inaction. Our logical minds tell us that it’s time to simplify our lives, but our emotional selves have clung to items that hold cherished memories and remind us of places and loved ones, of significant events and milestones. As difficult as the thought may be, this may be a great opportunity as well. Consider it your chance to make your new home exactly what you want using only what you need and what you find truly meaningful.
Downsizing is a mindset. “Begin with the end in mind.” Your ultimate goal may be a smaller home, such as an active adult community or condo, with peace of mind, easy living, and time to enjoy the life style you’ve earned. Then to get there, you’ve got to get rid of the excess stuff!
You approach this like any other big decision that you’ve made in your life: break it down in manageable steps, and just begin the first step. Address the things that NEED to be thrown away or recycled, such as expired foods and medicines, takeout containers, foil pie plates, plastic bags, newspapers and empty the junk drawers. Go through your papers and shred outdated receipts, bills, and other documents. Be ruthless in deciding what stays and what goes, but remember to keep important paperwork such as taxes and receipts for valuables or things still under warranty.
The second step is to select an area of your home that you will deposit things that are designated to be given to family and friends, donated or to be sold. I would suggest the garage or a room that you don’t use. Go room to room and weed out the “stuff” such as excess glassware, chipped dishes, clothing, shoes, nic nacs, old socks, newspaper, linens, broken appliances and closets. Do not go to the next room until you have completed the current room. By doing so you feel a sense of accomplishment when you see what you’ve done. It’s like peeling layers off an onion. Take your time: it’s a hard task emotionally and physically but remember “you’re beginning with the end in mind”.
The third step of the process is to move on to the large items such as upholstery, art, wood furniture, rugs, lamps, etc. Before you begin this process you must first have a fairly clear idea of what items will fit in your new floor plan. Once that is accomplished, use the same strategy. Decide what items to donate, what to give to family or friends or to be sold. Be safety conscious: when working with large items, it’s best if you merely tag the item as apposed to moving a heavy item yourself.
My motto is: If you don’t love it, need it or use it, then let it go.
Remember to keep your goal in sight every step of the way. Imagine that you will be in a new residence with freshly painted walls, new appliances and maintenance-free surroundings. Best of all you will see your furnishings in a whole new setting and because you brought what you truly love, it will feel like home! Downsizing will have provided you with peace of mind, reduced the burden of maintaining unnecessary things, and helped to free up valuable time to invest in the things that matter most to you.
Consider consulting a professional Senior Move Manager to help you with the purging and organizing process of downsizing, and to determine what of your furnishings and possessions will fit into your new floor plan. Senior Move Managers offer valuable guidance and extra hands thoughout out the entire moving process from downsizing to settling in. They are a trusted advisor on your side to help you make smart decisions about your move, saving you time, money and a great deal of unnecessary stress.
The Liz Moore Senior Team understands the special needs of those who are downsizing, and we have a variety of resources to help you with auctions, estate sales, consignment, de-cluttering and every phase of getting your home ready to sell. Be sure to ask us about our free e-book for seniors interested in downsizing!You can reach us at 757-873-2707 in Newport News and 757-645-4106 in Williamsburg. Just ask for the Liz Moore Senior Team!