Families can accumulate many belongings with strong memories attached over the years and reducing the amount of these items can be a very difficult task for all involved. To make it easier on you and your loved ones, we have done the research and complied the top six tips for downsizing. So if you have decided to downsize or you’re helping a loved one to do so, use the tips below to help determine what items to keep and what items to discard or giveaway.
How to Start Downsizing
- Begin the downsizing process as early as possible. Don’t try and do this all at once. If you know you or your loved one will be downsizing, begin planning and taking inventory as soon as possible so you can prepare correctly. The more you plan ahead, the less likely anyone will be to get overwhelmed.
- Do an inventory of the house. It’s important to know and list out all of you or your loved one’s possessions. With this list you can start to ask questions like: Is this important to keep? When was the last time this was used? Would any other family member or friend want this? Will this fit in the new home? Mark down all items (big and small) so you know what to prepare for.
- Map out the new home and identify what is needed. You need to be realistic about what will fit in the new, smaller space. This will give you or your loved one a better idea of how much can be kept, what should be eliminated, and what new items still need to be purchased.
- Identify and segment your things into three distinct categories: move, discard, or giveaway. Go through the inventory you’ve created, keeping in mind the new space, and decide what will or won’t be moved. Remember, if something is important to you or your loved one and there isn’t space for it, storage facilities are always an option. You can use yard sales to remove some items and donate others to charity.
- Engage your entire family in this process. Be honest and open with your family and loved ones. Getting more people involved can help lighten your load, since downsizing can be a lot of work. Once everything has been divided into the three different categories, invite other family members or friends to take a look as well. This will give everyone a chance to make sure items that are important to them do not get thrown out or donated. It’s likely that other members of your family or friends have spent a great amount of time in the home and they may have a sentimental attachment to certain items. Get them involved in the process early on so that nothing meaningful is lost in the move.
- Don’t be afraid to start new. Remember to stay positive. Downsizing from a family home can be hard but moving into a new space can be an exciting experience. Keeping an open mind will help make the adjustment easier overall as you create new memories, while still preserving the old ones.
In the end, downsizing is about finding a space that is more comfortable and conducive to you or your loved one’s needs. Material possessions may be important, but what makes a home is the people in it.