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NEW! - Keywords For This Page:   Simplify - Downsizing - Tips And Tricks - Moving

Downsizing Tips


Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


ASK YOURSELF SOME QUESTIONS

  • How little can I get by with (and still be comfortable) at my new place?
  • Which of the items I own now are really important to me?
  • Is it beautiful, useful, or loved? Or am I just keeping it out of habit?
  • Will it still be useful or functional in my new home?
  • Can this item or piece of furniture save space by serving two functions?
  • Is it durable, well-made, and built to last?
  • Is this piece of furniture comfortable?
  • Is it easy to care for, or does it require special attention?
  • Is this appropriate for my physical condition or stage of life?
  • Will this fit in my new space?

CATEGORIZING YOUR CHOICES

  • thing to keep when you move and downsize
  • possessions to give to friends and family
  • items to be sold in an auction, estate sale, or garage sale
  • discards to be donated to charities
  • trash, broken objects, and other items to be thrown away
  • things I can't decide about now and need to think more about

HELPING FAMILY MEMBERS

  • be understanding -- downsizing is a difficult process
  • don't push or rush them -- let them work at their own pace
  • offer as much help and guidance as is needed but don't force it
  • let the person make his or her own decisions
  • help the person stay focused on completing one small area at a time
  • make a couple of passes through if they can't do it all at once
  • you can even put things in storage temporarily if needed

MAKING IT EASIER TO LET GO

  • take photos of those treasured items you really want to remember
  • can look back and reminisce, without needing a storage unit to keep it all
  • give treasured keepsakes to family and friends
  • lay out items that need to go and invite loved ones to pick what they want
  • know that your treasures are going to people who love and appreciate them
  • donate serviceable items to charities that help the less fortunate
  • easier to let go when you know your belongings are still in use
  • have an estate sale and donate the proceeds to your favorite charity

SPACE-SAVING TIPS

  • choose furniture and objects that can serve more than one function
  • pick pieces that have storage space built in -- drawers, cabinets, etc.
  • avoid holding onto items that look good but are impractical and never used
  • avoid keeping excessively fragile, delicate, or rickety items
  • stick with fabrics and materials that are easy to care for and clean
  • choose furniture that is scaled to smaller spaces

STEP-BY-STEP

  • start with the rooms in your house you aren't using
  • make decisions about big pieces of furniture before tackling smaller items
  • give yourself plenty of time to make good decisions -- don't rush yourself
  • take lots of breaks -- this is hard work and you shouldn't wear yourself out
  • ask friends and family to help you out
  • remember the goal is to simplify your life -- not to rob you of your memories
  • have packing supplies, boxes and bags on hand -- pack as you decide
  • schedule the donation truck to come over as soon as you are done

WHEN YOU ARE GONE

  • be clear about how you want your possessions distributed when you die
  • don't leave decisions up to bereaved family who may not follow your wishes
  • if you want certain personal items given to particular people, say so
  • make up a list of "who gets what"
  • put a tiny piece of tape bearing the person' s name on the item

WHEN YOU INHERIT

  • may feel disloyal getting rid of inherited items, even if no space for them
  • person's things remind us of them in a very strong way
  • keeping their stuff is almost a way of keeping that person alive
  • your feelings for that person are not wrapped up in the physical object
  • you still have the good memories and warm feelings, even without the "thing"
  • allow yourself to reminisce and grieve as you clean out the person's house
  • spend some time reliving special memories as you go
  • tell stories about the person's life as you go through their things
  • don't be in such a rush that you miss the opportunity to really say goodbye

 


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