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How do you feel when you hear the word: downsize? Does it make you cringe? Is your stomach instantly turned into knots? Or do you get excited to organize and simplify your life?
Unfortunately, for many people, downsizing and de-cluttering is a dreaded task. It requires preparation, organization and emotional and mental strength. Letting go of items that we’ve lived with for years is a big adjustment and can be incredibly draining.
The good news is this process does not have to be emotionally draining and stressful. In fact, it can become enjoyable if approached with a positive attitude and a plan. Whether you are considering a move into a residence for seniors, an apartment, another city, or just organizing your current home, de-cluttering is a skill we all need to learn. Thankfully, there are many experts on this subject who have discovered some helpful tips and strategies along the way.
De-clutter every week.
Spend 30 minutes each week going through your clutter. Start with a room that is not used often. Pick out at least one thing every week to give away, sell or discard.
Make a resource list.
This is a fun exercise if you enjoy research and making lists. Write down names of friends and family who could take some of your belongings. Then add local charities, antique and consignment shops, or online stores that purchase goods or accept donations. This will be a valuable list to have when it’s closer to moving day.
Ask for help.
Sometimes it’s hard to have perspective on our possessions. Ask someone you trust to support and encourage you in this process. Get them to hold you accountable, and plan dates to go through your stuff together.
Take a walk down memory lane. Relax.
Part of going through your stuff is re-living the memories that are associated with them. Take time to remember and even share these stories. If you start to feel emotional or overwhelmed, take a break and come back to it later. It’s a good idea to de-clutter when you aren’t under a time pressure. Keep in mind that you don’t have to let go of everything that has sentimental value; prioritize the possessions that matter most to you.
Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Once you’ve made a decision to get rid of something, don’t question it. Try to get it out of the house as soon as possible, so that you don’t have a pile that you keep going back to. The goal is to move forwards, not back and forth!
Trade the old for new.
Try this: every time you buy something new, also get rid of something old. This isn’t to say that you should replace all your older things with new things! But, as a general principle this can help prevent clutter.
For more tips and helpful information, see the resources below.
“16 Best De-cluttering tips” in Comfort Life
[book] “To Move or Not to Move?” published by Senior Living Magazine