How much ‘stuff’ have you accumulated over your life thus far? You know, that ‘stuff’ that takes up space, that you don’t necessarily use, but at the same time, are not quite prepared to part with…
Downsizing step by step
Downsizing the family home for that new Serene Living retirement lifestyle move can be a liberating or truly traumatising experience. It can feel amazing and give you a sense of purpose and a fresh start as a new and exciting adventure, or can be an experience of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed as to where on earth you even start!
Therefore, it is important to have a plan in place and a few guidelines to make this process as simple and stress-free as possible. It may help to have a friend or family member help to assist with sorting, decision-making, packing, and reminding you to ask yourself “Do I need this, and why?”
As we all know, when downsizing it is important to realise that you CAN NOT take everything… Let me repeat – you CAN NOT take everything! And it is amazing, in hindsight, once you start ‘the purge’, how many of us have multiples of items, or have hoarded a variety of goods and/or keepsakes for years, to the point that not only have they never been used, but have been completely forgotten!
Here are some tips recommended by ‘moving specialists’ to assist with the ‘Downsize, De-Clutter and De-Stress’:
Start Preparing Early
This means, not the week before you move! By breaking the rather large, overwhelming task into smaller, bite-sized, and frankly more manageable pieces, it means you are likely to make more headway rather than giving up. Instead of allowing unlimited hours to days or even weeks on end to tackle the entire house, start with a specific area – ie. the Kitchen, for an hour or two maximum a day.
Downsize means ‘make smaller’ or with brutal honesty “get rid of it!” How many plates, cups, serving platters and 3 tier cake displays do you actually need? If you are completely honest with yourself, for those empty nesters, the number of occasions you would ever be required to entertain more than 4 people at a time, you can probably count on one hand. Same goes for the 3 sets of silverware, the 5 antique dinner sets, 4 measuring cups, 15 teaspoons and 2 cheese graters.
Divide And Conquer
A great way to avoid creating further piles that are simply shuffled to another area of the house is to start immediately with the following three very clearly designated areas/boxes/bags for each of the following:
For ‘Keep’ items – if necessary, wrap and pack into boxes as you go to save having to re-organise later. Make sure boxes are clearly labelled as ‘KEEP’, the room/space they will be going to in the future (ie. ‘Kitchen’) and what the contents are (ie. Dinner set, cutlery, bake dishes etc) for easy identification when you move. Nothing worse than having to open each and every box to find your coffee mug or that colander for the spaghetti!
For ‘Toss’ Items – accept these are broken, damaged or useless items that would be of no use to anyone. This can also include old documents etc that are no longer required by law to be held (please note, anything of a personal or confidential nature – bank statements, personal correspondence, warranties etc should be disposed off suitably by using a shredder etc prior to being put in the trash). These can be put in bags and/or boxes and taken to local tip for disposal.
For ‘Donate’ Items – these can be anything from furniture and knick-knacks, to paintings, books, clothing, towels, linen, curtains etc. You have the option of trying to sell these items via garage sale, online on eBay, sale marketplace sites such as Gumtree, Facebook etc or in the event of collectable goods or furniture, by contacting an antique dealer etc direct. Many charity stores or shelters are grateful for any donations and some even offer to pick-up large furniture items at no charge. Don’t throw anything away that you can donate – remember one person’s trash is another one’s treasure!
We have so many more handy tips to share about this hot topic, so please find our ‘The Three D’s – Downsize, De-Clutter, De-Stress’ Blog Article continued:
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