Downsizing - One Step at a Time

Once you've decided to downsize there are a number of things you can do to prepare yourself for the move to something smaller. It's not an easy task, but unless you're planning to store the things you can't fit into your new home, it has to be done.

Where Do I Begin?

Start with the rooms in your house that you don't use, or haven't used in ages. The spare room, the guest bathroom or the attic are good choices. Beginning this way means you are not creating chaos in the rest of the house, something that really is difficult to live with. Also, you will probably find that the furniture will be easier to let go unless it is a piece you absolutely love and you want to have in your new home.

What Comes, What Goes

After you've dealt with the rooms you don't use, then it's time to dig into the furniture you will want to take with you. Depending upon your new place - whether it is a condo or a smaller house - you can make your decisions accordingly. Some furniture just won't fit into a condo. If you have a huge dining room set and a nook in the kitchen of the new house, then the dining set obviously isn't going with you. You can assess all of your larger pieces of furniture on their suitability when you think of how you want your new place to look. Some people sell all of their furnishings and start again. Often, with the money gained by downsizing, it is possible to buy furniture for your new place that fits perfectly.

Give the Kids Their Stuff

After you've dealt with the furniture, then involve the family in the sorting of what goes to whom. If the kids have left home and you're still "storing" their things, this would be a great time for them to make some decisions of their own about what they intend to keep. It's amazing how many parents end up storing the lives of all of their children for years and years while the kids go on with their lives. Downsizing offers the opportunity for you to unload their things and for them to take responsibility for them at the same time. There can be magic in the words, "I don't have room for it." And, besides, it can be a lot of fun for everyone concerned.

This Takes Time - Don't Rush It

Going through your home is not a weekend activity. This takes time, and you should allow sufficient time for it. You will be going through memories and heirlooms. If you've been in your house for many years, there will be things that will be difficult. You'll need enough time to make arrangements for the things you are not taking and you'll need time for decision making. Don't rush it. You don't want to get rid of something that you'll miss within a short time.

One way to deal with the excess that you don't plan to take (and nobody else wants) is to call a charity. Big Brothers or the Salvation Army are set up to pick up furniture and unwanted things and they manage it quickly and easily. Once those items are gone, you'll be able to move through your house with ease, making more decisions about what you're going to take. If you're uncertain about some items, take them along. If you discover they aren't going to work in your new home, then you can call the charity again. They will gladly come and relieve you of your unwanted goods.

The first culling is the most difficult, after that it becomes easier.