A 3-Step Downsizing Plan for Seniors

Moving into a new house is always bittersweet.  You are excited for the change, but sad to leave a home so full of memories.

Downsizing is even harder-a smaller place means you do not have room for all your current possessions.

But downsizing is also an opportunity to refresh and start anew.  If you get rid of the clutter, you can fill your new place with the things you really love, making it feel like home.

Here are three steps for downsizing without sacrificing your meaninglful belongings.

1.  Make a Plan

Take a trip to your new place and measure the size of your storage area.  This will be your guide for how much you can take with you.  It is better to underestimate than overestimate.

As you’re deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, do one room at a time.  Moving is a big job and you don’t need to tackle it all at once.   Plan to do a little bit each day, and leave extra time so you are not rushed.

Decide on your furniture first.  Going from big to small will help you decide how much space you have to fill.  You don’t want to have to reshuffle everything if you can’t take that bookshelf with you.

2.  Sort your belongings

Will you use it?  Its easy to convince yourself you really need that 10-year-old shirt with the tags still on.  But if you have not used it in the past year it is likely you never will.

Also, get rid of mutiples.  Do you have mutiple coffee pots, or several sets of china?  If you can only use one at a time, you don’t need to keep both.

As you sort, follow a strict yes/no policy-no “maybes” allowed.  Make a “yes” pile and a “no” pile, and force yourself to choose.  If you aren’t convinced the item deserves a yes, then its a no.  “Maybe” piles just mean more work for you later.

Recycle your “no” pile.  You may not want it anymore, but it maybe useful to someone else.  Organizations such as Goodwill will take your appliances, furniture and clothes.  You may want to give fun and special items of clothing to your local theatre group to use in their productions.

3.  Preserve memories

Digitize photos to save space.  Photo albums take up alot of room and how often do you actually go through them?  Digitizing your photos not only keeps them safe, but makes them easier to share with family.  Pick up a digital frame and enjoy all your photos in a rotating slideshow.

For items that bring up good memories, but you don’t have room for, take photos.  You can look back at the memories without actually keeping the items.

To make sure those treasured items are in good hands, pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or close friends.  They will love the gift and you get to enjoy seeing the items being used.

Another strategy is to give keepsakes a new life.  If you love to craft, old movie stubs, letters and photos are perfect for scrapbooking, letting you create a record of your experiences.  Or make three-dimensional pieces of art using shadowboxes.  Gathering up your memories in one place will make them easier than ever to enjoy.

Downsizing is an emotional process.  You will discover items you haven’t seen in years, and you will have to decide what to do with them.  Give yourself some tiime to reminicse, and then make a decision.  Keep in mind your space limitations.  Take with you what is truly valuable- only you can decide what you can’t do without.

Just imagine:  once you’ve finished your move, you’ll be able to enjoy your new place surrounded by the feeling of home.

Article from Fox Business.