“Many baby boomers are willing to downsize their home, in order to lower their retirement costs. Moving to a less expensive house can simplify your life, get your expenses under control and help you live out your life in financial security.”
If the very idea of going through your four bedroom, two and a half bath ranch and getting rid of everything you don’t need or want gives you a stomach ache, you’re not alone. However, as reported by U.S. News & World Report in its article “7 Tricks for Downsizing Your Clutter,” there are seven smart steps that will make it easier to get started or finished.
Get moving. Sometimes you need a concrete reason to begin, not just the sense of impending doom that will happen if you don’t. Maybe you have an adult child moving back into the house and they need a room, or you’re putting the house on the market and getting ready to go south. You need a good reason to get going. If you don’t have one, make one up—like getting the job done before the year is over or you go on a long-awaited vacation.
Stop buying new stuff you don’t need. At this point in your life, maybe you’ve moved past the superficial need to buy and are more concerned with what you are doing with your life, not what you own. Getting rid of clutter means tossing things that don’t have a lot of meaning but keeping the things that do. You might enjoy a painting from a memorable trip, more than a houseful of trinkets.
Start planning. If you love to make lists, here’s your opportunity. Come up with an order of how you want to tackle this big task, breaking it out into separate pieces. Who will share these tasks with you? Do they work better with a firm deadline? You should also create a strategy: will you donate certain items and what organization will be the recipient? Do your kids need to make a trip home and move their stuff into their own homes? Delegate and set deadlines for everyone, not just yourself.
Pivot the concept. You’re not getting rid of everything, you’re selecting out what matters. If an item brings you joy just to look at it, keep it. However, get rid of everything else. If you think someone else wants an item, ask them. Your goal is to curate your “stuff.” You should love what you have, but only have what you love.
Be decisive and accept that it may take time. You may not yet be ready to get rid of certain things. You may need to go through this process in stages, especially if you’ve recently suffered a loss. After going through everything in the house once, you may start to become comfortable with the idea of letting go. Take a break between purges. What seemed important one month ago, may not seem important now.
Rent a storage space. If you really, truly, cannot part with a lot of stuff and you’re moving, put your stuff in a storage space. Go back in a month, after you’ve had to pay for that space, and take another look. You may find it doesn’t matter quite as much.
Relax and enjoy your new decluttered life. The focus of decluttering is to stop carrying the past around with you. Consider yourself as having a fresh start, with little or no baggage. Then go out and live your best life.
Going through this process may also prompt you to think about your legacy. If you don’t downsize during your lifetime, all those “things” will be left for your heirs to sort through after you’re gone. Make sure your estate planning is up-to-date so that your heirs receive the things that matter from you.
Reference: U.S. News & World Report (July 13, 2018) “7 Tricks for Downsizing Your Clutter”