The rightsizing process commonly triggers strong emotions, due to the sentimentality of items and lifetime mementos.
Here are the top 10 things you can do to ease the process:
- Start with easy stuff. Get rid of anything that's broken, damaged, or no longer wanted. Next, go to the out of the way spaces like attics, crawlspaces, and garages. Making progress in easier areas will build a momentum to go through the harder to decide areas.
- Ask yourself, "if this disappeared tomorrow, would I run out and replace it?" If you said no, then it's probably not worth keeping.
- Don't be a storage unit for others. Be tough and set a timeline for their action or response to your request for removal of their items. It's time to ask them to pick them up - or arrange to have them shipped. You may need to dontate the items if your requests go unanswered.
- Ask For Help. Two hands and heads are better than one for this task. Although you can do much of this work on your own, a family member, a good friend, or even a professinal organiser can help make the job more manageable.
- Decide what's really important. Look at it this way; pretend you are moving overseas, and the number of items you can take will be severly limited and it will cost a small fortune to ship things. What items belong on your list? These are the things that matter most to you!
- Is this something from a lifestyle I no longer have or want? Cooking items are the first that come to mind. For example, if you have three cabinets full of plastic containers, but only cook for one or two people, you probably can lose a few plastic sets - and dishes, pots and pans, etc.
- Mark your calendar! Schedule a regular time each week - or several days per week - to work on rightsizing. Realize that rightsizing is a life-changing marathon, not a sprint. You didn't accumulate everything overnight, and you won't sort it all out overnight either.
- Value what you keep. Remember this is not the easiest to do. The fewer things you keep, the more you will treasure and enjoy what you have, instead of tucking them away in a closet or stacked among dozens of other things. These are the few, meaningful items worth having in your personal space.
- Prevent new collections from forming. Instead of material gifts, ask people to make a donation in your name or spoil you by sharing time, enjoying new experiences, and indulging in luxuries (spa certificates, imported chocolate, a musical or other theatre productions. gift certificates for dinner out, etc.) - the things you love and want, but don't always buy for yourself.
- Use age to your advantage. This is the best time to do this. Now is a great time to "gift" items that you "eventually" want family members to have. Take a photo (preferably a digital one) of them holding holding the special item and create a digital scrapbook of "next generation" memories. Making your special people happy and freeing yourself of extra "stuff" that you have been charged with keeping for posterity.
If you are downsizing in Chicago, Chicago North Shore or Chicago Nowrthwesrt suburbs, I am a great resource for you. Real Estate Tips on Homes By Haris.
Haris Dedic is also a Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist
Ral Estate Tips on HomesByHaris.com