1) Pace yourself - It’s ideal to to begin the downsizing process months, not weeks, ahead. It’s much easier to sort and de-clutter a few hours a day or even a few hours a week rather than pack it into exhausting and stressful days just prior to the move. You will be less likely to make regretful decisions about your prized possessions if you pace yourself and take your time.
2) Divide and Conquer - Select an out of the way area or perhaps an unused bedroom and designate four specific areas/sections; 1) Keep 2) Give to friends or family 3) Sell 4) Donate to Charity. If you’re using cardboard or opaque boxes, place colored tape on each box to indicate the designation. For example, boxes with green tape indicate that they “go” to the new home.
3) Moving to a smaller home can be a time of mixed emotions. It’s difficult to say good bye to things to which we associate so many good memories. Think about the space in your new home. If you won’t have the space to truly value and honor your keepsakes, consider passing them on to relatives. Or take pictures of keepsakes. If you’re helping a relative move, don’t force them to give away their treasures. Listen to their stories and memories. Often times, when they re-live their special memory, it’s easier to pass along their belongings.
4) Choose furniture and household items that are smaller scale and dual-purpose such as ottomans that have a lid that can be used for storage. Avoid keeping high maintenance items. Downsizing is about simplifying. Remove photos from the frames, scan onto your computer and create a DVD or load onto a digital picture frame.
Hiring a Professional Organizer or Senior Move Manager can be beneficial if adult children or extended family members are involved in the downsizing process. Having a 3rd party professional can alleviate much of the added strain that many families experience during this emotional time.