In the first two parts of our rightsizing series, we gave you things to think about pertaining to WHY you might like to rightsize and WHEN may be a good time to do so.
The third and final piece of our series focuses on HOW to go about rightsizing.
Even if the thought of moving to a new home is appealing, we often fail to move forward because of the monumental task of actually moving. Many of us have lived in our homes for over thirty years and have accumulated a lifetime of “stuff.” It’s a big job. Huge, even.
Don’t go it alone. Having others around to share memories with can make the process less painful. It can also make it less overwhelming and time-consuming. Ideally, it would be great to enlist friends and family to help clear clutter and start the moving process. But you might be reluctant to ask friends and family for help for a variety of reasons: your children might be busy and your friends might have similar projects of their own. You are not alone! There are so many people in this situation that there are companies that specialize in the downsizing process. There are small businesses with one person who can either do everything for you, or work alongside of you, so that you can provide guidance about what goes and what stays. You can hire them by the hour, or by the project, and do as much or little as you want at a time. Some will even create memory boxes of certain items so you don’t feel like you are losing cherished items. If your ultimate goal is to sell your home, these experts can also help you stage your home for sale.
Check out these experts:
These companies are not just for those who are moving. They’ll work with anyone who wants to clear clutter and get organized.
Resources found at Senior Move Managers help the elderly downsize their possessions and are experts at helping with the transition into senior living. A Place for Mom has excellent resources for moving and housing options for you and your loved ones.
Take Your Time. Keep it Simple. Start Small. Break the process up into easily managed increments. Start with the room your family uses least. Then focus on a single closet or drawer, working your way outward from there. Take it one step at a time and try to avoid dividing your attention between multiple rooms and tasks. Start with a garbage bag and a bin for items to donate. Once the bag and bin are full, take the garbage out immediately and put the bin in the back of your car for the next trip to Goodwill.
Even if you are not planning to move anytime soon, one of our clients suggests taking one room a year, and pretend you are moving. Edit down items you wouldn’t want to take with you. Then, when you are really ready to move, you’ll be that much further along.
Once you are done discarding, sell or donate the rest. By minimizing the items that come with you to your new home, you can significantly reduce moving costs. If you have items of value, it might be helpful to contact local auction houses, antique dealers and consignment shops, as well using eBay or Craigslist. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Though you may no longer want these items, it’s like that there are people who could really use them. One of our clients contacted United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County with her list of donation items. United Way put the offer out to a variety of organizations who then contacted the client directly and arranged to come get the items.
Here are a few examples:
- Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative sets up furnished apartments for homeless vets, will come to your home to pick up your things, and takes almost anything.
- Habitat for Humanity Restores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used home items.
Estate Sale. You may have so many things that an estate sale makes sense. One of our clients has used Caring Transitions to facilitate her estate sale.
Lots of ideas, but where do you start? Set a few goals – Focus on the 3 P’s.
Create monthly goals and work your way through them one at a time. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Pills: You’ll be surprised what you find in your medicine cabinet. Many over the counter drugs have expiration dates. Old prescriptions should be discarded. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, almost all medicines can be thrown away in the household trash after mixing them with some unpalatable substance (e.g., coffee grounds) and sealing them in a container. OR set a goal to clean out your Medicine cabinet by May 13th and take your unused medications to events like the AHS Pill Drop.
If your prescriptions contain narcotics or other controlled substances, contact your local police department to find out if the police will accept them. Some police departments will accept non-controlled substances too, but you should be sure exactly what yours will accept before dropping off items.
- Paperwork: Sort through all financial documents, letters and cards. Discard any non-essential documents. Shred any documents with personal information, account identification and especially social security numbers. Set a goal to have your paperwork sorted by June 10th and bring your “shreddables” to our Shredding Party!
- Pictures: Sort through photographs, keeping only the important ones and sharing the rest with family members. Consider scanning photographs for viewing on a computer or TV. Many photo departments will scan photographs for you. Walmart charges $24.96 for the first 165 photos. Pick one or two boxes, and set a goal of going through them by the 4th of July, so you can share unique pictures with friends and family at your holiday picnics.
Organization and moving can seem overwhelming and even impossible at times. Remember, get help, take things slowly, and set small, attainable goals. You can do this; and once on the other side you’ll be able to focus on enjoying the results of your work, whether that is in your current home or your next.
We hope to see you at our Shredding Party on June 10th and to hear about all of your progress and ideas!
We will have a professional speak briefly on the topic of organization.
You will love it!