Courtesy of Gordon’s Estate Services. Downsizing or making a major move can be overwhelming. There is so much to think about: the sale of your home, organizing finances, cleaning, sorting, packing and sometimes most importantly, choosing what to take with you. Despite everything that needs to be managed, the number one concern time and time again is, “what will happen to my things?”
Everyone tends to collect things over the course of their life. If you are moving from your home of 30 or 40+ years you will probably find that you have accumulated more than you ever imagined. Even if you know you don’t need everything in your home, it can be difficult to part with things because they are attached to memories and emotions.
Here are some things to consider when moving into a smaller space:
- Remember that you are moving because you have made a choice to improve your lifestyle. An overwhelming number of possessions can create a stressful living environment. Think of the energy required keeping everything clean and orderly, we may not be able to enjoy our memorabilia if it’s lost in clutter or we may be neglecting other pursuits to take care of all our things.
- Consider that we only use 20% of our possessions 80% of the time. Approach downsizing as a unique opportunity to assess what you truly love and need in your life. It is a chance to learn what you can live with and what you can live without.
- Consider a test period. Choose a smaller space (like the main floor of your house) and spend time living with the smaller group of items you’ve chosen. This may help you to realize that you can enjoy living with a reduced number of possessions or help you better see what you do and don’t want.
- Think of more compact ways to take your memories with you. Create a photo album or scrapbook of your home rather than taking the actual things with you. Digital picture frames are fantastic ways to show off your photo collection without the need of a large heavy album.
- While it may be difficult, be honest when assessing the value of your items. Does this item fit with your new living space/lifestyle? Is this item worth the time and expense of packing and moving? What is the comparable emotional value of two similar items?
- Create a scale floor plan of your new living space to give you a concrete idea of how many things you can take.
- Consider giving gifts back to the giver or donating collections so that someone else can enjoy them as much as you have.
- Try a ceremony when parting with certain items. It will help you feel that they have been given the respect they deserve.
- Think about consulting an objective third party. It can be helpful to get advice and assistance from someone who isn’t attached to your things like you are.
At the end of the day you’re not defined by your possessions, rather by the experiences and memories which they hold. It’s those intangible things who make you who you are. So don’t let your stuff get in the way of your exciting future!