Downsizing: We hear the term over and over but what does it actually mean? It almost sounds like a Lilliputian dream where miniature reigns supreme.
Downsizing is ultimately a sexy term for “getting rid of stuff so the rest will fit into a smaller living space”. For people living through a downsizing experience, it’s a time of stress with a confusing array of details and decision-making. For seniors going into a retirement home it means reducing a lifetime of collected belongings.
Therefore, it’s vitally important to consider these Top 3 Decluttering Tips when you find yourself faced with downsizing dilemmas.
Downsizing Dilemma #1
I’m stressed out!
At the best of times, moving is stressful. Life doesn’t stop so you can get all your packing done. Add downsizing to the mix and your anxiety can go into the stratosphere.
- Start sorting and purging belongings as soon as you know you’re going to be moving; ideally you will have at least several months for this process. The more stuff you have, the more time you’re going to need.
- Make as many decisions as possible based on how they will affect your stress level. For example, choose a thrift store that will pick up all your donations rather than trying to run around town and drop things off at your favourite charitable organization.
- Know when to ask for help, and be specific about what kind of help you need. Decide if family or friends will be helpful or simply add to the level of anxiety.
Downsizing Dilemma #2:
My stuff is not worth much money!
Downsizing means letting go of some of your treasured belongings. Most people like to think they can sell their furniture and recoup some of their money outlay. Discovering that your expensive stuff is almost worthless on the market can come as a shock. Even the most concerted efforts to sell items can produce little financial rewards.
- If you have time and need to make as much money as possible from your belongings, contact your local auction house to determine if your belongings have any value. You can take pictures and send them via email to get a quick response. Alternately, check out a neighbourhood second-hand store and ask if they are interested in buying your unwanted items. Consider selling your belongings via an internet classified ad such as Kijiji, Craigslist or Used “Your city”. This is often your best option for recouping some money for your items. **
- Embrace the art of donating to charity. If money is not your prime concern then “paying it forward” is a lovely philosophy to consider.
** Words of caution: Decide ahead of time if you can manage the added stress of trying to sell your items. Once again, all this work can add significantly to your stress with little financial return. Consider the costs of getting your furniture to the auction or second-hand store and decide if you’ll make much money. When selling via an internet classified column, personal safety is always an issue if strangers are coming to your home. Ensure you follow the recommended guidelines for selling on these sites.
Downsizing Dilemma #3
How can I fit all my stuff into my new place?!
You almost need a math degree to accurately measure all your furniture, the dimensions of your new place and figure out where it will all fit. Okay, either that or a great deal of patience.
If you have access to a floor plan of your new space this will be extremely helpful. Cutting out tiny little pieces of paper furniture and moving them around on a paper floor plan is not for the faint of heart, however. A great alternative to this (and for those of you who are tech savvy) is to find a user friendly app to help out with this task.
There are, of course, many other details to consider when moving and downsizing. Here is a Moving Checklist to help with the process.
If you’ve never considered hiring a Professional Organizer before, this may be the time to do just that. Professional Organizers can bring a great deal of expertise and support to facilitate the downsizing and moving process, and reduce the amount of stress and confusion.
What downsizing dilemmas have you had? How did you manage them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
With calm, cool thoughts,
~ Maggie ~