I'm proud to welcome back guest blogger, Hazel Bridges!
For more from Hazel, please check out www.agingwellness.org
Tip #1: Assess Worn-Out Furniture
Did you know you should be changing your mattress every seven to 10 years? Many of us sleep on mattresses that are old enough to vote. When downsizing, be sure to take stock of furniture that is old, broken, unused, or in need of upgrading. When it comes to a comfortable mattress, be sure to research online for reviews and options.
Tip #2: Pare Down a Collection
Over the course of a lifetime we can—intentionally or unintentionally—collect themed items. These collections can really add up. When it comes time to purge, commit to keeping only one or two special or cherished items in a collection.
Tip #3: Find Someone Who Will Appreciate It
Knowing your beloved items will go to a home where they will continue to be cherished can make downsizing much more emotionally palatable. Whether it’s a relative who could use a bigger kitchen table or would appreciate a keepsake from a loved one who has passed away, look for someone who will find value in your belongings.
Tip #4: Eliminate Unused Items
Look around your house. Chances are you have several items that serve a similar purpose—especially in the kitchen. Think of downsizing as a way to consolidate. Do you need a toaster and a toaster oven? When you purge, ask yourself if you can remember the last time you needed that item.
Tip #5: Donate to a Cherished Cause
Getting rid of your possessions is a lot easier when you know they are going to support a cause you believe in. You can unload items in an estate sale and donate the profits or give the items directly to support a charity. Either way, you’ll be making a difference in your life and for others.
Tip #6: Organize by Room
Categorize your possessions so you take full stock of each room and every need before you downsize. Not only will this help with packing before a big move, but it will also help you make decisions about what you need for each room. For example, if you’re moving from a house with two bathrooms to one, you might not need two shower curtains, two bath mats, or two toothbrush holders.
Tip #7: Store Items You’re Unsure of
Many of your possessions are more than just items, they hold memories of a person, time, or place. Though you may not use the item, it holds a priceless amount of sentimental value. Place these items in storage so you have the breathing room to make a decision without pressure or force.
Tip #8: Think About Accessibility
While you may be in tip-top shape today, it’s important to recognize tomorrow could hold a different reality. When downsizing, look for places that emphasize accessibility. For instance, a single-story home will be easier to navigate if mobility issues become a concern.
Tip #9: Get Family Involved
Purging an entire home after decades is a huge undertaking. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you have to go through this alone. Though it may be scary to relinquish control, enlist the help of a trusted loved one to help with the downsizing process. This will reduce some of the stress you face making tough decisions, as well as keep some objectivity in the process.
Downsizing takes time. Doing it well means you cannot rush through it. Downsize at a pace that feels comfortable. Just keep in mind that once you are unburdened by a house that has become too weighty, you’ll find more joy and peace in your golden years.