Sorting trash from treasure seems to be an endless job for us humans who like our stuff. We all have many things we hold onto out of sheer nostalgia. If you are moving a senior from their lifelong home to a retirement community, you will most likely need to downsize their belongings in order to accommodate the loss of space.

This need not be a grueling chore. It is fully approachable if you take some planned steps in the process. The question most often asked when needing to downsize is: Where in the world do I begin? Glad you asked. The following is a list that may help you with that task.


A good place to start downsizing is with your clothing. Take an afternoon and assess what you have in your closet and drawers (don’t forget your shoe rack and accessories shelves). These are clothes you would label in your mind as your current clothing. Try each of them on and make a decision as to whether they actually have a place in your future wardrobe.

Know that the clothes that occupy the closet and drawer space in your room are probably not all the clothes you have. Do you have clothes from when you lost/gained weight? Or do you have a set of clothes that corresponds to another era in your life tucked away in an old suitcase? Did you purchase items when they were on sale (with a no return policy) and find that you did not like them after all, but you are still holding on to them? How about the outfit that you could wear if only you had the right accessories? All of these items, together with worn clothing and such, are candidates for the clothing purge you are about to undertake.


Another category of belongings is books and magazines. If you are a reader, then you probably have a pretty good-sized collection of both books and magazines. You probably have even more if you frequent used book stores. Books are great items to pass on and can easily be donated to libraries, used book stores or thrift shops for resale. Sometimes, you can even get a book credit or else cash from certain book stores where you donate. If you are industrious, you can also sale marketable books on Amazon.

Magazines can also be donated to libraries, or even to schools for arts and craft projects. Be creative when you think about where to redistribute the wealth of a book or magazine. You will feel good that you cleared out your collection and that you were able to pass them on so some other eager mind can enjoy it.


If you no longer participate in a sport, but still have tons of equipment that are connected to that sport, you may want to consider eliminating these items from you belonging when downsizing. Perhaps you could find a charity organization that would profit from the use of that equipment. Or a relative that has recently taken up that sport.


Ditto from the above information on sports, only now we are addressing your musical collection. Again, if you are no longer using these items, a child coming up in grade school may profit from (for instance) the use of the trombone that is sitting in the back of your closet. Or if you are a retired piano teacher, you may have loads of instruction books and manuals you collected over the years. Of course, you don’t have to have been a teacher. You may be a musician you have also collected material and equipment. Think hard through these items, as you don’t want to have regrets in giving them away. But if you are downsizing, this may be another category to consider.


“Bric-a-brac and such” is a generalized term meaning all the stuff you collected from years of birthdays, anniversaries and days of browsing through thrift shops and attending garage sales. Your bric-a-brac may or may not have sentimental value, but now is the time to harshly evaluate which is the most necessary of these items to keep.


Your kitchen is another place where you need to be firm about what you really need to keep or not. You may have a collection of items related to the days when you actually wanted to make homemade pasta. Today you may find you no longer want to be the avid entertainer you were in the past. Thus, you should be able to free your kitchen of the excess dinnerware and flatware you own.

There are loads of other areas you can attend to as well (DVD and CD collections or even unused furniture). Hopefully, the above has given you the inspiration you need to start clearing out the clutter and deciding which of your belongings are trash or treasure.

Call Missy Donaghy with Interiors for Seniors for a FREE consultation 321-279-3301.

Interiors for Seniors is proud to have been chosen as one of the top 100 moving blogs on the Internet.


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