After you’ve cleaned out the clutter, donated to charity and got your kids what they want, what’s the next step?
When you downsize your home, you suddenly feel like what you have is a burden. You cannot carry all your furniture with you, and some smaller items may also need to be carried. After you’ve cleaned up the clutter, donated to charity and let your kids take what they want, what’s the next step?
Moving is stressful, but when you downsize, there are more complexities. You don’t just pack your bags, you also have to organize your belongings and throw things away. There’s a guide to help you prepare for this and hopefully reduce your stress levels as you sort out your life’s possessions. Here are some guidelines on what to save, what to keep, and what to do with the rest.
For many people who find themselves in your situation, it helps to start by looking at what you want to save. After that, you’ll want to decide what you should bring to your new home. Then there’s everything that’s left after the first two steps are done. Read on to find out what the process looks like.
Small suggestion: Before starting layoffs, you may need to develop a mental health plan. Click here to read 5 tips for staying sane when downsizing your retirement home.
what you want to save
The things you want to keep are not necessarily the things you will take with you to your new home. Instead, they’re items you can’t bear to throw away, like family heirlooms. These may include:
- Items with sentimental value
- anything that brings back happy memories
- That incredible picture of a forest your child drew in second grade might be something worth saving
- irreplaceable things, like photos
- Of course, documents like records, property titles, car titles, old tax bills, and medical records
- Fine Jewelry and Heirloom Jewelry – You can keep, sell or give to your children
- Small furniture, beloved furniture, and practical furniture for smaller spaces
Start the process of sorting out the paperwork early. Otherwise, you’ll be shipping a mess that you may never experience once you move.
what you need to keep
Now let’s whittle down the “save” list and pick what you want to take with you. Here’s a typical scenario for someone downsizing:
- Since your kids won’t want your old tax forms, you need to keep them and take them with you.
- However, for other items, see if your child likes them. They (or their children) might even be interested in old elementary school papers and artwork.
- Those happy reflection items may also leave fond memories with your child, so see if they’re willing to take them with you. These items can include anything from scrapbooks and photo albums to old conch shells you collected on your family vacation in 1982.
For more advice on what to keep, read these 8 tips to downsize your home and keep what really matters.
what your kids don’t want
Now we start reducing stubs by doing the process again. Your kids have visited, you’ve shown your “things to save” item and they’ve made a decision. They’ve taken what they could, and now you’re left with only what you want to keep. Can you take everything with you?
If not, it’s time to make some decisions for yourself. Do you really need to save it all? Heirloom jewelry is often a sticking point because it’s beautiful, sensual, and potentially valuable. But if you’re never going to wear it, why keep it? This is where you learn to let go and separate from things. Learn how to sell jewelry you don’t absolutely love and haven’t worn in over five years.
Keep the following items even if your child doesn’t want them:
- Supplies: Keep essentials for the kitchen and bathroom. You know what you really use regularly. Sell or give away the rest.
- Toiletries: Yes, beauty products and unexpired medications are easy to replace, but they also tend to be a bit more expensive.
- Photo Frames: This may sound silly and most people don’t think about it when downsizing, but photo frames are incredibly valuable. On the one hand, they turned the “living space” into a real home. Second, they can be expensive.
Now, we can help you through the process by showing a list of items most kids don’t want. Millennials and Gen Xers may have different style aesthetics, so what you think makes your home beautiful isn’t necessarily what they want. Here is that list:
- Fancy cutlery: Your kids probably already have their own silverware, and most likely, they don’t even have a dining room. Even with your sterling silver, they probably don’t want it.
- Fancy tableware: Same applies here: If they don’t have a dining room, they probably don’t need fancy china tableware.
- Heavy old dark furniture: That mahogany cabinet that your aunt bought, has no style since she bought it. do you really like it? If not, your child probably won’t, even though it’s impressive and made of solid wood.
- Books: The world has indeed become digital and books no longer have the same value as they once did. Your kids probably don’t want your old-fashioned copy of The Great Gatsby.
For more information on how to eliminate the stress and anxiety of downsizing, read 13 Tips for Adjusting Your Living Space.
So your kids may not want a lot of what you have for a variety of reasons. Times have changed. The new generation wants to create their own way of life with their own stuff. Everything has a life cycle, including your property. So do this: downscale multiple times through this blueprint. For most people, it takes a few of these cycles to strip down their belongings into a manageable collection to take with them to their new home. Finally, when all else fails and there are still too many, consider planning a garage sale and lining up charities.
For more information on retirement, read these articles from Acts Retirement-Life Communities:
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Acts Retirement-Life Communities is the largest nonprofit owner, operator and developer of continuing care retirement communities in the United States. Headquartered in suburban Philadelphia, Acts operates 23 retirement communities in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida, serving approximately 8,500 residents, and employs 6,200 people. For more information on Acts, visit actretirement.org.