The downsizing process is different for everyone. Some individuals may be moving from a 5,500 sq. ft home to a 2,750 sq. ft one and others may be merely simplifying their lives. One of the biggest lessons learned while downsizing is that it should be viewed as a process. You need to give family members and yourself ample time for the transition. This way, the downsizing process will be less stressful and/or traumatic. If you plan to downsize in the coming months, it may be less daunting if you consider this process to be three distinct phases:
During the first phase of the downsizing process, it is common to feel un-phased. Everything will seem relatively easy and like there’s nothing to fret over. It may even feel pretty good to be able to throw away all of your old junk- such as old sports equipment, worn furniture, household items and clothes that you no longer wear. Selling these items or dropping them off at charity collection points will likely be almost therapeutic and can make you feel relieved.
During this intermediate phase, you may come across one or more items that have been in your family for many years. You may have antique furniture that was passed down from your parents or you may own hundreds of record albums and rare live recordings. At this point, you will begin to understand what you have heard before about downsizing, i.e. when these items are finally gone, you don’t really miss them, but they are hard to let go nonetheless.
When you reach the third phase, a sense of inner-turmoil will begin to grow. You will likely have to decide which meaningful or valuable items need to go and which ones to keep. You may decide to ultimately part with a family heirloom or photo albums, oil paintings, World War I memorabilia, and more. It may seem impossible to let go of these items after many years of cherishing them for their historical value to your family.
Your Downsizing Survival Guide
We are aware of the anxiety and stress downsizing may cause. As long as there is adequate planning and organizing, you will be fine! Here are some pointers to keep in mind:
- Floor plans of new home: Peruse the plans and choose only items that you will not have to remove due to a mismatch at the new space. This a great reality check which may show you that there is insufficient room for items such as a huge refrigerator you use in your current home.
- Make a list: All of the items on your list should be possessions you could never live without. If you find it difficult to bid farewell to certain items, at least attempt to do away with most of them. Next, donate, sell or recycle any items that did not make your list. You may want to set a relocation budget to help determine the minimum amount of stuff you are going to take to the new place. After all, your new place doesn’t need the old clutter, right?
- Compare sizes of new and old rooms: This can give you a more realistic idea of what furniture will fit comfortably into your new rooms. It would be silly to take your current sofa to your new place if the space won’t allow it. If furniture downsizing is unavoidable, you should get this task done prior to moving day.
- Pack everything in an organized manner: You can start packing your belongings once you are 100 % sure of what you will be taking to the new place. Use different colored stickers or numbers for each room and mark your boxes accordingly. These practices help speed up the relocation process and will cause you to feel less stressed overall.
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