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Author: Gene Ramsey
When you have set your mind to downsizing your home, you know with just a look around that you’ll face a period of intense nostalgia and hard decisions to make in the deep decluttering of your home.
However, the task must be done without fanfare if you’re to move on to your new home or assisted living residence. The key to finally embarking on this difficult task is to focus on the joys of living unencumbered by the burdens of owning too large of a home, and all that cumbersome clutter.
Here are a few home downsizing tips to get you started:
Allow for Plenty of Time
Downsizing is a gargantuan task, and best recognized as a long process that will take time to organize for and even assimilate once the decision to do so has been made. Take your time to let the idea sink in, walk through your house and write down a basic list of what you feel are must-keep items. Thereafter, allow for plenty of time to sort through your items and begin packing.
Start Early and Small
Even though you’re giving yourself a good stretch of time till moving day, which may or may not be set in stone, it’s good to kick off the downsizing process as early as possible. Start with smaller spaces like the bathrooms and closets before working your way toward the attic, basement, and unused rooms.
Constantly drafting lists will help you stay focused throughout the decluttering, sorting, staging and packing stages of your move. The habit will help you keep track of the necessary to-do’s such as cancelling your unwanted subscriptions, notifying friends of your new address, ordering new checks and so on.
Request New Home Info
It’s smart to ask for a floorplan of your new living space at the retirement community or smaller home you’ve acquired. A floorplan can give you helpful information as to how many items can come along with you, as well as give you an air of expertise on what to tell the movers on moving day.
Start with the Hard Decisions
The idea here is to downsize, not to take all your possessions with you. It will be hard, as the ghosts of memories will haunt you with every sorting and discarding decision you have to make; but it’s necessary and ultimately healthy in the long run. Sort through your stuff quickly, making piles of what will be kept, sold, donated, or given to family members.
Downsizing is a difficult and stressful process for everyone, especially for seniors. Don’t feel bad about asking your friends and family to help you out. They more than likely understand that you will need help managing the process and, accordingly, will be glad to lend a helping hand.
Hold a Yard Sale
A fun aspect of downsizing is being able to hold a yard sale, which can help you make money from all the items you’ve officially discarded. A good idea is to advertise in the classifieds section of the local newspaper to reel in more visitors. The more people that show up, the better it is for you. But first, make sure you’ve offered your friends and family a first look on what they could want or need from the stuff you plan to sell.
Set Aside a “First Night” Box
Lastly, don’t overlook packing a “first night” box with items such as bedding, toiletries, snacks, cell phone and charger, paper products, and a few changes of clothing. These should tide you over until you’ve unpacked all the boxes that you’ve marked as “essential” to unpack on your first day in your new home.
Yes, the task is daunting and seemingly impossible, but downsizing is essential to keeping a tidy life unobstructed by no-longer-needed objects and big household chores. With friends and family to help you declutter, the entire process will be less painful. Allow them to guide you with their advice on what to keep and not to keep as you prepare to move into a new chapter of your life.
Our guest author Gene Ramsey and his wife swapped their 4,500 sq-ft home for one with one-third the space after their children moved out. Gene is working on his first book, Downsize Your Home: How to Do More with Less, to share the important lessons he learned during the downsizing process.
We (Joe and Chris Balestriere) are Realtors in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Our blog is meant to educate buyers and sellers and equip them with tools to get the most out of their Realtor, whether it is us or someone else. We focus on technology and how it enhances the work we do for our clients--we are not top CT Realtors by accident.