It’s time. Maybe the children are all finally gone. Perhaps a job is taking you to a city where square footage is more precious and expensive than before. Maybe your life situation or health has changed and the home you are in no longer makes sense. Or perhaps you are just plain ready for the next chapter and want to lighten your load.
There are many reasons to plan a move that includes moving into a smaller space, or, downsizing. “Downsizing” has become a popular term, especially among Baby Boomers who are making lifestyle moving decisions at a younger age than their parents did. Whatever the reason, the realities are the same: before you move, you are going to have to decide what possessions to take with you and what to leave behind. You’ll have to decide what to sell, what to donate and what to give to friends or family.
Here are ten tips for downsizing your possessions so you can move into a smaller space:
- Calculate, don’t guess.Get the exact dimensions of your new space – room by room. Then measure what you have now in similar rooms in your current home. You’ll quickly start to see what will fit and what will not.
- Make a listof all the things you do not plan to move with you to your new space. Once that list is compiled, it will be easier to start deciding which of these items you want to sell, donate or gift to family members or friends. If you have adult children, it will also help them decide what they want.
- Come up with a system.Whether it’s putting color-coded stickers on items as you decide where they go, creating room by room lists or even using a spreadsheet, decide what system works for you and use it.
- Start with the easy stuff.No matter your reason for moving, there is emotion involved and some rooms and items will be more emotional than others. Start with the less sentimental rooms (like the laundry room) and work your way up to those more memory-laden ones.
- Ask yourself the hard questions.We’ve all done it – moved boxes and clothing from home to home without ever opening the boxes or wearing the sweater. Ask yourself, honestly, when was the last time you used this item? Will it really fit in with your new home and lifestyle?
- Ask a friend to help.Downsizing decisions can be difficult and tiring. Invite the most organized friend you have to come over and help. Sharing your memories with a friend as you make the hard choices can relieve a lot of the stress of this process.
- Hire a professional.There are people who do this for a living. Some organizers even specialize in helping people move and downsize. The National Association of Professional Organizers www.napo.net is a good place to find one in your area.
- Set aside specific blocks of time.The sooner you start the better. Try setting a schedule and working on your downsizing decisions a couple of hours at a time. Or sort seven items per day. Try not to overwhelm yourself by pushing too hard for too long at a stretch.
- Keep your eye on the prize.There are good reasons you have decided to downsize. Remind yourself of the excitement and benefits of your new destination to pull you through the downsizing process.
- Talk to your real estate professional. I look forward to helping you make these important life decisions. Please call or email me and we can schedule some time to talk!
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