Whether with a professional or on your own, here's how to get started
I am so thrilled for the children of those who hire me to help them downsize. But you can also do it on your own! Either way, it's a great gift for yourself and for your family members.
If you've lived in your house forever and are starting to think about a smaller place, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. I recently spoke to the members of Home Haven about this topic, and here's a combination of the advice I gave them and the lessons they taught me:
Gather your resources: Your team (family, friends, professionals); organizations (charities, estate sale companies, junk removal experts); and items (boxes, trash bags, grocery store bags, sticky notes, painters tape, packing tape, etc.).
Start as soon as possible: It's best to start this process before you're under pressure to do so, and feel free to start with easy stuff so you build momentum (i.e. a guest bedroom closet, winter jackets, expired medication or food items, old receipts, anything broken, etc.).
Stop accumulating now. I repeat: Stop accumulating now. If you need to buy something, be sure to purge yourself of an item too: "one in, one out."
Focus on your future: You may have loved certain hobbies in the past, but in starting this process, it’s best to consider your present or future lifestyle. Make a list of current hobbies; sell or give way the past. Downsizing is a chance to reset and revamp – so take advantage of that!
Set rules: When you’re deciding whether or not to keep an item for your smaller home, ask yourself these questions: Do you use it? Love it? Does it work? Fit in your new space? Would you buy it again? If not, say goodbye to it.
Oh, the places your stuff can go: Donate to your favorite charity (or whichever one picks up in your neighborhood); sell or consign (I can connect you to people who can help if this isn't your thing); gift only to someone who wants the item; recycle; or trash.
I want to reiterate that this process is hard. But, you can do it! Reach out if you need motivation or resources, but please start now while your mind is sharp and you’re not under pressure. You’ll be glad you did...and so will your kids.
P.S. Some junk removal companies will donate select items, recycle when possible or even sell and give the proceeds to charity. Be sure to ask! And did you know they'll also go anywhere in your home to get anything you want out?