Preparing for “Rightsizing”

This is the third in a series of articles in answer to requests for more informational help with “downsizing” issues for seniors. The focus here is on getting started with the process in a systematic and gradual way.

Table of Contents

Focus on the Positive Aspects

Once you have realized or decided that downsizing is necessary and the right thing to do, getting started is often the hardest part.  You may experience a sense of anxiety or a feeling of being overwhelmed. If so, it might help to focus on the positive aspects.

“Rightsizing” can be a liberating experience and may enable more freedom and enjoyment of life and it can be done in an organized and comfortable time frame.  You also may have family members who would like to help with the process.

How to Make Decisions About What to Do with Certain Items

It may become easier to let go of things gathered over many years by asking yourself questions. For example, “Is it likely that I or anyone else in the family will really ever use this, and does this still bring me joy?” If the answer to these questions is “no”, it may be time to donate or discard the items.

Memorabilia is often stored in boxes in the attic or closets.  If they are kept for the memories they evoke, digital photos of those items will save a lot of space and can be viewed at any time and place. Technology has provided a way for photos and documents and letters to be scanned and preserved for the future. In this way, family members will have the opportunity to more easily access the memorabilia for their enjoyment.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

From a practical standpoint, it will help you to have a plan and commit to some schedule.  A large house and garage may be filled with articles collected and accumulated for many decades. The prospect of clearing it up may at first seem completely overwhelming. However, done gradually and comfortably, the process can usually be accomplished in just a few months.

It may help if you rent a dumpster so you’ll have a place on-site to discard things as you sort through the drawers, boxes, and rooms. You can decide on different charitable agencies or organizations that would benefit from your donations.  At the same time, you are in this process, it may be helpful to be packing items not needed before moving and store them in labeled boxes in the house or garage until it is time to move.

It May Surprise You

You may be surprised to notice a gradual increase in energy as you continue the process. People can actually feel years younger after a few weeks of letting a lot of stuff go. And, of course, it is much easier to make the eventual move when the “rightsizing” is to a smaller place.

If you feel that you simply are not able to do the process on your own, and family members are not available to help, there are alternatives you could consider. For example, many people offer packing and related services on an hourly basis. With the extra hands working under your direction, you may be able to accomplish far more in a short time.

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