For many senior citizens, retirement means a chance to finally slow down and enjoy time that has been poetically coined “the golden years.” One practice that goes a long way towards helping with this enjoyment is downsizing. For many people, the kids have finally moved out on their own and it is time to downsize to a smaller home. But before you do that, there is something else that you need to do—declutter your house.
The first thing you need to do is move from room to room and make a systematic purging of your possessions. You need to have an honest conversation with yourself about what you own and if it’s something you need or use. Once you evaluate your things, sort them into three piles.
Stack #1: KEEP
The first stack will be for the items you want to keep. These should be things you use a lot or that have serious sentimental value. No, you don’t have to keep every single one of your children’s report cards. But ask yourself if this is something you will need or that you will want to look at and reflect on sometime in the next six months. If the honest answer is yes, then hang on to it.
Stack #2: DONATE or GIVE AWAY
This stack will be for the items you are going to get rid of. If you have antiques that you want to downsize, have them appraised. If you have been holding on to comic books from the 1950s in the hopes they will one day be worth something, then today is that day.
Have someone give you a value for these items and then decide if it’s worth trying to sell them on the collectibles market. If not, then set them aside to either donate or get rid of at a yard sale. The same goes for non-antique items that you just don’t want or need anymore. This donation stack can provide you with some much needed tax deductions that can help you in the new year.
Stack #3: TRASH
This may be the hardest one, but create a trash stack. This one will be for things that are broken and you don’t need, don’t want, and can’t possibly donate to someone else. It is also a place for those personal mementos that you have been stockpiling for years. If you honestly can’t bear to part with these items, consider renting a small storage unit for them. If you can get rid of it, though, just trash it. Your memories will still be with you, even when the physical things are gone.
Before you make a move to a smaller home, you are going to need to take a moment and evaluate exactly what you need to take with you. Once you do this bit of soul-searching, then you can start the room-by-room decluttering of your home.