Top 10 downsizing tips

Downsizing before you move into a smaller space such as a condo or retirement community, takes time and it can be emotional so don’t let yourself be rushed. Work several months ahead of the move and be sure to give yourself small rewards such as a coffee break with friends after you complete your tasks. Stepping away for brief periods to clear your head is healthy and it will keep you focused and moving forward.

To make downsizing easier, consider this advice.

1) Begin six months to a year in advance.
If you’ve been in your home for many years give yourself lots of time so that the process of downsizing isn’t overwhelming.

2) Start de-cluttering in the room you use the least.
This is often a basement room or a room where you don’t spend as much time. It’s easier to start here because you may not be as emotionally attached to these items. You’ll also feel some momentum because you’ll be making progress.

3) Begin at 12 o’clock and work clockwise through each room.
Think of each room as a clock and pick out ’12 o’clock’. Work your way around clockwise. If you take a break it will be easier to see where you left off and how close you are to finishing the room.

4) Decide where an item will go and move on.
Don’t dwell too long about where items will go. It will delay you, add stress and make it harder to let go of objects. Use your instincts and listen carefully to the wishes of family members and then act as quickly as possible.

5) Know where the most important items have gone.
Don’t be too particular about recording everything but it does help to note where items of major importance have been allocated. If there are any questions later on, they will be easy to answer.

6) Take photos of valuables to preserve memories.
Taking photos of your valuables — particularly large items — will keep them close to you and help you and your family recall special events in your family’s history.

7) Reminisce and share stories as you de-clutter.
If you downsizing far enough ahead, there will be time to chat with family and friends as you de-clutter and to reminisce about times you’ve enjoyed together.

8) Consult with relatives before selling heirlooms.
Ask family members for their feedback first and take your time; you don’t want to sell anything before everyone has had a chance to voice their feelings.

Downsizing9) Know that your donations will help those in need.
It’s good to think about how your items can help others who may have much less than you do. It can help take your mind off your present challenges and lift your spirits.

10) Honour your feelings and emotions during the process.
This is a challenging time. Some days you will be upbeat and some days you won’t. Set a time limit for how much work you’ll do each day and take regular breaks. Don’t do too much too fast and be sure to have supportive friends and family nearby.

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