From the time you set up your first home, life is a steady stream of acquiring possessions. It starts with household goods, furniture, and lawn tools. Then along comes kids and all the gear that goes with every growth stage. Somewhere along the line, you probably receive items from your parents. And the next thing you know, you have a house overflowing with “stuff.”
Maybe you “lightened the load” a bit when you moved to your current home. Even so, you probably have more possessions than you want or need. So how do you tackle this next phase of downsizing? The best advice is to chip away at it, one project at a time. That way, when you’re ready for a move to a smaller home or a life care community, you have a head start on downsizing.
Here are a few tips to help you get started (and keep going) with your downsizing project:
- The “one-drawer-at-a-time” rule.
Instead of tackling your entire kitchen, set a goal to clean out one drawer or one shelf each day. For instance, start with the spice rack in the kitchen. Throw away old spices or items you never use. The same goes with the medicine cabinet. By dividing the tasks into small chunks, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and avoid burnout.
- Put your closet to the test.
Ask yourself, “When was the last time I wore this?” and “Will I realistically ever wear it again?” Be honest. If you have shirts, pants, coats, or shoes you haven’t worn in a year or more, then it’s time to let those items go. Goodwill of Arizona and the Salvation Army will gladly accept your donations.
- Eliminate unnecessary paper.
Tackle your file cabinet—one drawer at a time. Start by reviewing guidelines for how long to keep documents. For instance, you only need to keep tax records for seven years. And there’s no reason to keep records for cars, appliances, or other property you sold years ago. Be sure to shred documents that show your Social Security number or bank account information.
- Pass along family mementos.
Though you may have already downsized once, you probably still have plenty of family treasures—items such as projects, photos, and mementos from when your children were growing up. Though you may not want to throw those items away, it’s time to pass them along to the proper owners. Gather everything in a box for each child. Maybe wrap up the box and give it as a birthday gift! Your children will enjoy the trip down memory lane. And you’ll enjoy shedding those boxes that haven’t been touched in years.
- Clean out your china cabinet.
Just like the family mementos, it’s hard to let go of china, silver, and linens. But if you’re not using those items regularly, now is the time to ask your children or grandchildren if they want those items. You might be surprised to discover that a teenager has a real appreciation for grandmother’s china. Giving family members these items now will bring you great pleasure and will make things simpler when you decide to move.
Overall, you’ll be surprised by how good it feels to eliminate unwanted and unnecessary possessions in your home. Once you get the ball rolling, you might even want to consider the idea of downsizing and enjoying a worry-free lifestyle at Sierra Winds. Call (623) 977-0807 to schedule a tour and complimentary lunch in the Sierra Bistro.