It’s human nature to save and tuck things away just in case we need them. This is the time to simplify! Think of this as your chance to free yourself from all the “stuff you really don’t need or use. In this later life move, you are doing more than decluttering. You are downsizing-which means selecting only those things that you truly USE and LOVE in a new lifestyle. Instead of picking a few items to get rid of, you are now picking the best of the lot, and leaving the rest behind.
1. Take time to look around your home and think about the items you love and use – these are the first to go with you. They can be sentimental or practical. If you value them, take them. Surrounding yourself with the things you love will help- you feel more at home when you move.
2. Simply and remember the 80/20 rule. Most people only use 20%of what they have. The other 80% is just taking up space. We all keep things “just in case” – now you can let go of these.
3. Start with the major items in your home and decide what you want first. Later you can decide what to do with the items you no longer need. Your first job is to figure what you want and will use.
4. Use color-coded stickers. Start marking larger items in your home- furniture, mirrors, pictures, lamps. The green stickers will let you see how much you are planning to take. You can always change your mind later- just add or remove the sticker. (Be sure to buy the “removable” stickers.)
5. Have an estate sale for all the excess household items. If you are having a sale, don’t throw items away. It is amazing what people will buy at these sale’s. You can donate or discard any unsold items after the sale.
6. Create a floorplan drawn to scale and place your furniture on it. This will help you decide exactly what will fit, and where you will place it. You don’t want to pay to move furniture that won’t fit (and you’ll have to have someone come and get it). On moving day, the movers will work quickly.
7. Select ¼ of a large collection-jigsaw puzzles, books, videos, cd’s- set a limit (say one-fourth), choose your favorites, and donate or sell the rest. Your storage space will be limited, (and you can always get more for birthdays or holidays!)
8. Make sure you have storage and a display space for the items you are keeping. If you currently have built in bookcases, you may need to buy an additional storage piece for your new home. Custom shelves in a closet, a small bookcase or curio cabinet. Under the bed storage boxes are great for momentous, old family photos and small treasures.
9. Start to tackle closets, drawers and cabinets. Set goals, tackle one area at a time. Sort your linen closet one-day, and your kitchen cabinets another day. Again, decide only on what you want to keep. Begin to assemble these items on a spare bed or card table. When you have finished one area- linens for e4cample- then you can pack those item’s in a clearly labeled box and you will still have spares to use until you move.
10. Be realistic when sorting through your clothes closet. Keep your new closet space in mind, and get rid of things you haven’t worn in a year- things that don’t fit or need repair -and any clothes you won’t likely need (business suit, formal wear or an extra bulky winter coat). Do the same with shoes and belts, purses, ties and other accessories. You can always donate or sell unnecessary item-and throw away things that are beyond repair.