June 18, 2014 — Downsizing and raising children have at least one thing in common- it’s a lot easier to tell other people how to do it than it is to do it yourself! Topretirements has published several articles about downsizing (see Further Reading at end of article) due to member interest. In this article we will explore some new tips from all over, and hope that you will contribute your own suggestions in the Comments section below.
1. It is never too early to start.
We can’t tell you many of our friends didn’t leave enough time for it. The result was a horrible rush and more stress than was needed. Start today!
2. Keep the memories, lose the stuff.
This could be the best advice we ever heard on the subject of what to keep vs. what to throw out. If you have things that mean a lot to your family but just don’t make sense to keep, celebrate that. Take photographs of the items and share stories with family members – then find a new home for them, wherever that might be. Don’t overlook digitizing your physical photos.
3. The 3 piles strategy
Be realistic – what will fit, space wise and stylistically in your next home? With that in mind and well before any moving day is on the calendar, you and your partner, if you have one, should agree to put all your stuff into 3 categories/piles:
– Must have
Now, move all of the Maybes into the No pile. Either toss it or donate it – do not keep it. Otherwise you will just end up moving it and having to contend with it all over again. Do you really want to pay to move stuff only to have to store it or throw away at your new destination? You would be surprised how many times this happens.
4. Make a list of what you can’t take and ask the kids/family/friends what they want.
If they don’t want to take items that need a new home in the short term , they need to go somewhere else. You are not a storage unit!
5. Have a family auction
After you’ve decided what you can part with, an idea we’ve heard about is to have a family auction. Numbers are drawn and family members can select items in the order drawn. This approach also works for heirlooms you are not willing to give away now – it’s a way to reduce family stress down the road. Of course tag sales, estate sales, and giving everything to a charity are other approaches.
6. One step at a time
Tackle one project per (quarter or year). Work on the attic, kids’ rooms, basement, closets in any order you want.
Bottom Line: Downsizing is liberating
Do your kids a favor, and save yourself a lot of trouble. We guarantee you will feel better with your new, leaner household profile. Start now with a gradual approach and you’ll be ready when you need to be.
For further reading:
A Tale of 3 Downsizings
12 Steps to Downsizing Success
Downsizing Checklist and Tips
Topretirements Members Getting Ready for Big Moves
eDivvyup – a Web-based tool for dividing property
How to Run an Estate Sale
About Home Downsizing (eHow)
Downsizing Tips (Yahoo)
Downsizing Baby Boomers Looking to Sell Their Stuff (Smart Money)
Comments? Have you started downsizing already? Please share your thoughts, fears, failures, and successes on downsizing in the Comments section below.