Downsizing and Decluttering 101

It is inevitable. One way or another, you’re going to downsize. It is part of letting go and moving on. Some even do it more than once! Downsizing is a physical, emotional, and mental act. Sometimes it is even a financial act. Because downsizing effects so many parts of life, it can feel intimidating or even daunting but with a little preparation it can be both a fluid, and perhaps even an enjoyable, process. 

In a 2018 article published on Investopedia, Tim Parker notes, “As a retiree, you hope to be able to make some choices about how you live that don’t center on money. If you love your home and all the memories it holds, you might stay even if it makes little financial sense. Why? Because you can.” 

Is A Tiny Home Right For Me?

How do you know if you should sell? Crunch the numbers. Calculate the upfront costs of moving and compare them to the yearly savings you’ll realize.” Whatever the case, be it for transitioning into empty nesting, becoming a better parent to adult children, learning to live with less, or just downsizing for a smaller, more manageable home, there are tips, tricks, experts, and resources that can help. 

The first step is simple recognition. I need to downsize!  

The second step, and sometimes the most challenging, is preparing emotionally. A home is filled with memories – both good and bad – and those memories are typically attached to tangible items. Emotional downsizing can be a major transition that happens way before one item is packed in a box or donated to charity. 

Tammy Strobel is a long-standing blogger and author who speaks up for having bravery in the process of downsizing and living more simply. Says Tammy, “In many ways, being brave is more expansive than the traditional definition. Particularly, when dealing with heavy emotions. Bravery can mean reconnecting with a person who hurt you in the past or saying, “I love you” instead of being critical.” Here are a few more solutions for managing the more sentimental parts of downsizing.

  1. Research ways to save memories through technology. Forever.com is a digital preservation company that offers to maintain your photos for hundreds of years so they can be passed on through generations. Your paid permanent content will be available for your lifetime plus 100 years. 
  2. If your children live nearby or they come for a visit, use the time to have a candid conversation asking them what they would like to have from your home.
  3. Make a “keepsake box” for each of your children, filled with a few items you cherish the most. You can even jot down a story about each item to better explain the object.

Some Helpful Downsizing Tips!

In addition to presenting some emotional hurdles, downsizing can bring about practical challenges too. Here are a few basic but effective tips to help you manage the process.

  1. Ask for help. 
  2. Make a plan and a schedule so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  3. Keep only the items that are useful, that you love, and that make you smile. 
  4. If you’re unsure about whether a piece of furniture you love will fit or look right in your new space, bring it along. If it doesn’t work, you can always sell, donate, or give it away.
  5. Take time to reflect on items and enjoy them one last time. 
  6. Stay rested, don’t overdo it. 
  7. When it’s time to walk out the door for the last time, say goodbye. Take time for yourself (or your spouse or even family members) to walk room to room, making one last memory. Say thank you and move on.

Downsizing is not easy but it can be a great step towards enjoying the next season of life. Find a way to embrace the experience and prepare for the exciting adventures that await you.

Simple Life recommends the following resources to help you with downsizing in order to live your best life! Consider the tiny homes for sale in North Carolina and Florida built by Simple Life if you are interested in downsizing!

The Upside of Downsizing: Getting To Enough

A Simpler Space: The Sane Guide to Downsizing and De-Cluttering Effectively

Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home