Planning and Organizing: Tips for Downsizing to a Newer, Smaller Space

DownsizingBy Lydia Chan

The need to downsize can arise from many different circumstances; some positive, some negative. You may decide on your own that it’s time to opt for a smaller, more manageable living environment. Or an unforeseen situation may force your hand and leave you without much time to figure it all out. Whatever the reason, getting rid of belongings that hold a lifetime of memories is never easy. It’s an emotional ride that requires time for contemplation. It shouldn’t be done in a rush, where you’re forced to make decisions without the time to get organized. Taking a methodical approach can help take some of the sting out of an often heartbreaking ordeal for many people. Getting rid of a departed loved one’s belongings can make it feel like you’re losing them all over again, when what you need is time to grieve and heal.


Organization is the key to making it all run smoothly. Some downsizing experts recommend making separate categories for your stuff. Begin by setting aside all your precious family heirlooms, then assess everything else based on whether you’d want it or need to replace it if all went up in smoke. Then, divide the remainder into categories, one for the things you’ll take with you, another for those items you’ll donate, and another for what can be thrown away. You can do this on a room-by-room basis, or collectively. However you approach it, rest assured that it’s an essential step if you’re moving into a smaller home that won’t provide enough storage space for all your possessions.


Record keeping

Everyone has important documents they can’t afford to lose, things like birth certificates, passports, tax records, medical information, pension plan documentation, and more. Keep them all together in a binder, locked in a safe or strong box. If there are any documents that can be stored electronically, scan and file them on your hard drive for safekeeping. Remember, you’re trying to declutter, so the less paper the better.


Bathroom and kitchen

Most people tend to accumulate a lot of extra items in the bathroom and kitchen. Get rid of or donate extra pots and pans, old cutlery, coffee mugs (everyone has too many of these), extra bed clothes, old towels and washcloths, expired medications, and any other items you won’t use and don’t need. Many of kitchen and bathroom objects can be donated to Goodwill or a homeless shelter.


Books, DVDs and CDs

It’s well worth the time and effort to go through your collection of books, movies and music – they take up a lot of space and they’re awfully heavy to load and unload once boxed up. Books are somewhat different than your other possessions. Sometimes, older editions have considerable value, and they can often be sold to a local used bookstore, an efficient way to unload things you’re getting rid of anyway.


Senior move managers

If you’re looking for someone who specializes in the downsizing process, you’re in luck. Today, there are many local and national senior moving firms that have experience and considerable expertise at helping people get organized and make difficult decisions about what to keep and what to leave behind. These firms will help you carefully pack to prevent in-transit damage. They can also help you decide where furniture and objects should go in your new, smaller space. They’ll help arrange things based on your previous layout, to the extent that space will allow.


Downsizing takes an emotional and physical toll on people, particularly those who are still bereaved. Bear in mind that having a plan and being organized is essential if you’re looking to get through it all as quickly and efficiently as possible. And it’ll make it easier to settle into your new home and transition to a new life.


Clip Art Courtesy of Pixabay




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