There comes a time when our homes become overrun with dusty belongings that it’s impossible to pinpoint what you’re looking for.
Match that with downsizing to a smaller abode and you’ve got a ton of work to do. If you’re anxious about downsizing the family home, don’t fret. Here are tips to help you.
1. Give Yourself Time
Start the process early instead of squeezing your downsizing into two days. Dedicate three weeks to a month to survey your belongings and figure out which load has got to go.
Go through each item and spend a second or two deciding whether it’s worth keeping. Doing this will improve your decision-making system so it’s easier to choose which belongings are important to you.
2. Only Create Yes or No Piles
When you’re downsizing your possessions, there’s no room for a ‘Maybe‘ pile. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a heap of sentimental belongings that will send you tumbling down memory lane.
The easiest way to decide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is seeing if you’ve regularly used the item. If it’s sat on a shelf for a year, then there’s no point in bringing it to your new home.
3. Sell Anything Unwanted
As you’re moving to a smaller home, sell old belongings on Craigslist or eBay. You could also consider yard sales as they are a quicker option but you may not sell your items for as much.
4. Use Downsizing as a Chance to Bond
Get your kids to help and you can tell them the stories behind your favorite trinkets. They can help you pack, ask questions, and spend time with you. Also, your kids can help post items online to sell.
It’s also your last chance to create magical memories together in the family home. Reminisce about your kid’s kindergarten drawings, trophies, and beloved stuff animals before emptying the room.
5. Give With No Strings Attached
When you’re downsizing from house to apartment, be generous and give away your items. For example, let your daughter have your favorite cushions but don’t go over asking for them back.
You should send an e-mail out to your kids with a list of items you’re planning to give away. This way, your children can decide what they want to hold on to and it stops you from throwing everything out.
6. Get Rid of Any Duplicates
One of the major downsizing tips for seniors is to chuck out any clutter. You’ll find plenty of duplicates in the kitchen from spatulas to stockpots.
Also, unless you’re inviting guests regularly, you won’t need multiple sets of drinking glasses. If you don’t want to give away any of your old roasting pans, then give it to your kids or grandchildren to take to college.
Next, browse through your pantry and toss out any food or ingredients that have expired. It’s surprising how much you’ll get rid of.
7. Eliminate Rooms You Won’t Have In Your New House
If you’re moving to a condo or an apartment, you may not have room for a garage or office space. Go to these rooms first so you can ensure everything gets sold, donated or thrown out.
Also, attack the more cluttered areas of your home first. Garages, attics, and basements accumulate boxes filled with holiday decorations, old sports equipment, and other items.
8. Now’s the Time to Hand Out Heirlooms
Are you planning to leave your antique coffee table with your daughter? Or does your son still have his eyes on your grandfather’s clock?
If there are certain gifts you’re planning to leave in your will, consider giving those gifts now. Not only will you relieve yourself from these items but you get to experience the delight of handing out gifts.
9. Stop Buying More
Even though you’re downsizing, it’s tempting to buy items for your new home. If there are things you need to buy, then make sure you get rid of an old item to balance everything out.
10. Label Your Photographs
We all have so many family photographs to cherish but it’s essential to organize them first. Start by collecting all your photographs and make notes on the back so you know who’s in them. If you don’t know the people in the photo, then toss them.
For the ones, you want to keep, take high-resolution photos of them and compile them into a photo book. You can even keep it on the coffee table so guests can enjoy them without drowning in clutter. There is even nifty software like Footbridge which converts photo negatives into digital files.
Also, your drawers may overflow with documents such as old bank statements and appliance warranties. Be selective about the files you keep but shred any that display personal information for extra safety.
Now to Start Downsizing the Family Homes
Let’s be honest, downsizing the family home is a difficult and emotional process. Whether it’s clearing out vacation souvenirs to old photographs, deciding what stays and goes takes time and discipline.
To make the process less daunting, invite the family over to help. You’ll get to reminisce over good times and they can take home any of your old belongings to make the job easier. Good luck!
If you need somewhere to store your belongings as you move, we’re here to lend a hand. Contact us here for any inquiries.