Are you think­ing about down­siz­ing?

Here are some tips to make the tran­si­tion go smoothly

The Southern Gazette - - Saltwire Homes - Patti Ross REAL Ad­vice Patti Ross is a full-time pro­fes­sional Real­tor® and home im­prove­ment ex­pert help­ing peo­ple buy, sell and im­prove their homes in HRM for more than 10 years.

Whether you are an empty nester sell­ing the fam­ily home to pur­chase a smaller more man­age­able condo, trad­ing sub­ur­ban life for the city, or just adopt­ing a more min­i­mal­ist life­style, re­duc­ing your pos­ses­sions to fit a smaller space is an ob­vi­ous must. The tough­est part of down­siz­ing is not sim­ply the act of getting rid of stuff — it’s cop­ing with the mem­o­ries and emo­tions that are as­so­ci­ated with cer­tain sen­ti­men­tal items. It is this emo­tional con­nec­tion that can slow down the process.

Here are some tips to make the job less stress­ful and more man­age­able and help you move to­ward a sim­pler life­style in the process.

If pos­si­ble, take your time and start the process early be­cause it is typ­i­cally a big­ger job than most peo­ple ex­pect. You can start plan­ning your down­size as early as six months or one year be­fore your ac­tual mov­ing date. Pre­pare a sched­ule with com­ple­tion dates for each phase of the de­clut­ter process

1) Set a sched­ule -

to help you keep on track. Be sure the dead­lines are re­al­is­tic.

If the en­tire process seems daunt­ing and over­whelm­ing, start by break­ing it up into smaller and more man­age­able time­lines. Start with one- or two-hour blocks of time where you can con­cen­trate on one task. Take a 20-minute break be­fore go­ing back at it, or re­sume again the next day. When you set a spe­cific time frame to get a job done, it re­duces the time to hes­i­tate and sec­ond guess your de­ci­sions.

Tackle one space at a time. It can be easy to get dis­tracted and put off start­ing the process. Start with one room or one area such as a closet or even a drawer. This can help you fo­cus and give you im­me­di­ate sat­is­fac­tion once that task is com­plete. Start­ing with small, man­age­able ar­eas will give you the con­fi­dence to work to­ward the larger, more time con­sum­ing tasks.

Your sort­ing sys­tem should be sim­ple. Three piles — keep, toss and maybe. You can fur­ther sort into sell, do­nate or give away af­ter the ini­tial sort­ing.

Take in­ven­tory of all the items you own. Go through ev­ery room and make a list. De­cide what items are truly go­ing to fit your new space and life­style. If you know the mea­sure­ments and num­ber of rooms in your new space it can help in the de­ci­sion process of what items to keep and what to dis­card or do­nate. Think about each item care­fully. Be ruth­less


2) Cre­ate a sort­ing sys­tem

in this process. If you haven’t used the item in a year and it doesn’t give you joy or it’s not use­ful, then you prob­a­bly don’t need to keep it. Re­sist the temp­ta­tion to rent a stor­age locker and “deal with it later.” This will only cost you money and add to your stress of hav­ing to deal with it an­other time.

For the items that are in your maybe pile, have a box you can tem­po­rar­ily store these items in. Put a date of three or six months away on it. For sea­sonal items, a longer time line may make sense. What­ever date you choose, re­visit the box on that date and any items that you have not gone look­ing for in the time can be ei­ther sold, do­nated or tossed.

If you are feel­ing brave, do not even look in the box and sim­ply do­nate it to a char­ity or a sec­ond hand drop-off cen­tre. You can take com­fort in fact that by do­nat­ing these items to a char­ity they will be used by some­one who re­ally needs them.

For items that have sen­ti­men­tal value but are not nec­es­sar­ily needed or take up valu­able space, con­sider tak­ing a dig­i­tal photo of that item and dis­play in a frame or photo al­bum in­stead of keep­ing the item it­self. Hav­ing said that, it is im­por­tant not to get too caught up in the purg­ing process and get rid

3) Get rid of the clut­ter -

of ev­ery­thing — you may one day re­gret that. There should be some con­straint where a se­lect few items are in your home sim­ply be­cause they bring you joy and hap­pi­ness.

Stop be­ing the “keeper of stuff.” If you are stor­ing items for friends or fam­ily or still have items from your chil­dren’s child­hood, it’s time for them to come col­lect their stuff. In­vite them over and make time to sort through the items to­gether and share some mem­o­ries.

4) Con­sider hir­ing a pro­fes­sional

- Down­siz­ing is a big un­der­tak­ing so ask for or ac­cept some help. Whether it be a friend, fam­ily mem­ber or hired pro­fes­sional, this should be some­one who has an ob­jec­tive opin­ion who can help you de­cide what to keep, what to throw away and what to do­nate.

The goal of de­clut­ter­ing is to make room for the things in your life that mat­ter. Your real es­tate pro­fes­sional can help put you in touch with a pro­fes­sional or­ga­nizer who can as­sist you. It will speed up the process and be well worth the money. And soon you will be on your way to a stress-free, clut­ter-free life in your new space.


When you are ready to part with some of your things, cre­ate a sim­ple sort­ing sys­tem. Three piles — keep, toss and maybe. You can fur­ther sort into sell, do­nate or give away af­ter the ini­tial sort­ing.

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