Downsizing: Where Do I Begin?

Posted on February 09, 2018 in Learning

A common question people have when they start visiting and thinking about moving to a retirement community is, “Where will I put all of my stuff?” It’s a big concern, fueled commonly by change and the idea of moving to an unfamiliar space.

The first thing to remember when you downsize is that you’re giving yourself a fresh start. If you’ve lived anywhere for a long period of time—whether it’s been five or fifty years, objects of varying importance start to build up. This clutter demands your attention and can bring unwanted, but added stress to your life.

Now where do you start? How do you even go about it? Downsizing can seem like complicated business, but it doesn’t have to be! That’s why we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help make the process of decluttering your space less hectic, and more enjoyable --reminiscing on the memories you’ve made along the way.

Break it Down

The first key tip to downsizing is to make sure you do not overwhelm yourself. Don’t expect to tackle everything in one day—that’s just not going to happen. Break down your downsizing tasks into categories. Decluttering extraordinaire Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy says that this is the best way to get the job done. If you decide to sort out your house, start with one category, rather than one room. Gather all of your clothes into the same place one day, then books, then shoes, and so on. Keep the things that you can’t bear to live without, and get rid of the things you can. Think, “if I were to lose all of these today, what would I replace?”

Sell, Donate, Give

When you’re downsizing, it might be hard to decide what is deemed keepable and what is pitchable. There are ways to downsize your home without losing your mind. If you come across something that you are not deeply attached to, but might be of value to someone else, like a grandchild or close friend, don’t hesitate to “gift” these items. Your loved ones will appreciate your generosity --remember the famous saying, “My junk, your treasure?”

 Next, take a deep look at things you do not feel emotionally attached to. Is it something that someone else might need? Give away or donate the things you can live without --clothes, extra pots & pans, kitchen utensils, etc. And finally, if you are still struggling to part with items, make it a game. Try the 12-12-12 challenge, for instance. Throw away 12 items, donate 12 items, and return 12 items to their proper home.

Know What You Use

It is easy to cling to things that you “just might use one of these days”, especially when it comes to clothes. If you haven’t worn it in a year, chances are you aren’t going to wear it again. The same goes for shoes. If they aren’t getting any use, what’s the point in keeping them in your home? Can’t remember what shirts you wore this year? Start the year out with all of your hanger hooks pointed in one direction. Every time you take a shirt and replace it later, face the hanger in the opposite direction. At the end of the year, it will be easy to figure out which shirts you have and haven’t worn. If you haven’t worn it in over a year, donate it to a local Goodwill or shelter.

Unexpected Joy

As you work through the process of downsizing, you may find that it brings you much joy. Often, people who downsize uncover tucked away and forgotten treasures --old photo albums, assorted dishes, the quilt that has been passed down from generation to generation. Reminiscing on these old memories, and sharing them with loved ones, can help make the process easier and more enjoyable.

 Ready to begin downsizing and move to a smaller space in a vibrant retirement community? Contact Ohio Living Breckenridge Village today to schedule your tour!