For empty nesters and others, moving into a smaller space can mean less maintenance and a welcome bump in discretionary income. But what to keep and what to toss can be a difficult, and sometimes painful, decision.
The editors at after55.com offer 10 good tips for making the move without losing your mind:
Don’t do it alone. Get the kids involved. Half the stuff in your home is theirs anyway! Ask them to help you sort through it, and share some memories. Keep what you want and let them take the rest home–or toss it.
Give stuff away. If you will no longer need a lawnmower, why keep it? The same goes for those extra sets of dishes, the closet full of linens and only you know what else! Be as ruthless as possible in deciding what you will need and use in your new home.
Tackle one space at a time. Staying in one room, or even one closet at a time will help you stay focused, and will give you immense satisfaction when that task is done.
Decide what to do yourself. There are some areas, like the bathroom cabinets, that nobody can help you with. Put on some music and just get through it.
Set a timer. When sorting, setting a timer will get you going but also set a time to stop. Then you can choose to continue, take a break or quit for the day.
Make three piles. Toss. Keep. Maybe. But if the maybe pile starts growing the fastest, it’s time to go cold turkey and toss it. Otherwise, it’s a useless exercise.
Ask yourself, how often do I use this? Really use it–not just once or twice a year. Unless it’s a family heirloom, or part of a holiday tradition, put it in the toss pile.
Disperse and dispose. Once you’ve sorted through your treasures, begin to toss, gift and donate. Or have a garage sale or sell your castoffs at a consignment shop or on eBay.
Throw a packing party. Take your friends or the kids up on offers to help. Gather the boxes and have a packing party. Be sure to label each box so the movers know where they go.