Your Best Downsizing Strategy
Downsizing your belongings is a time-consuming and emotional task, but it is necessary if you are to make the transition to a new home that will improve the quality of your life.
As with any large endeavor, you need a strategy that will help you see measurable progress. Without one, it is easy to feel overwhelmed—and if that happens, you may be unable to start.
Here is a plan to help make your move go more smoothly:
It’s never too early to begin: Start downsizing at least three to six months in advance. Not only will the actual task take longer than you think, but you will also gain and lose interest in doing the work, so it’s best to allow lots of extra time.
Start with the room you use the least: You have the least emotional attachment to rooms you seldom use. That means you will work faster and more efficiently because you won’t be distracted by memories. You will also feel good about your progress, because starting in this room will jump-start the entire process—and that positive attitude will motivate you to move on to the next room.
Work clockwise. There is nothing worse than standing in the middle of a room crowded with furniture, books and other objects and not knowing where to begin. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed, so start at “12 o’clock” and move clockwise around the room.
A photo is worth a thousand objects: Take a photo of large items that you have no room for in your new space. Make a scrapbook or digital keepsake so that you can take them with you in a new format.
Ask family first: You may not think anyone is interested in the miniature poodle figurines that used to sit on the kitchen windowsill, but you never know—ask family and close friends before you sell anything. You don’t want to cause discord at a time when everyone is already feeling emotionally vulnerable.
Take a moment: Although you want to be as efficient as possible, take time to honour the memories present in your family’s treasures. Reminisce and share stories as you move along.
Don’t work alone: This is an emotional job and there will be heavy lifting, so enlist the help of family and friends who are sensitive to what you are going through but who can also make you laugh.
Reward yourself for a job well done: Make sure to give yourself rewards as you work through the house. This may be a coffee break, a walk or a trip to the movies. Do whatever you like as long as it refreshes and reinvigorates you.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations: Don’t be too hard on yourself if the process doesn’t go smoothly in spite of your best efforts.
When emotions and memories are involved, there will be disagreements and misunderstandings. You will get through it.