Tips on where to start! An overwhelming thought!
Well, if you’re like me, have been in your home for several years and your ‘stuff’ has found its way into every available nook and cranny, then very likely, the thought of trying to downsize will be overwhelming at best.
As a past downsizing seminar presenter, I found the most common denominator for people avoiding a downsizing move, was the anticipated arduous task of sifting through and ridding themselves of those ‘things’ they no longer wanted or needed- they were not even sure where to start.
As an empty nester (most of the time), I am now ready to make that shift into a smaller, more manageable space. But, how to start, even as a past seminar presenter on this topic, has me running for the hills!
While home on their college winter break, I enlisted the help of my twin boys to help start the laborious process of sifting through our stuff. I won’t lie- the basement and garage is the bane of my existence- the boxes of art work from our four children, irresistible baby clothes (how do you part with that?), the unused exercise equipment, games and books…. I could go on… but I think you get the gist.
How do you get ride of that trinket from a memorable trip 30 years ago or a gift given to you by a good friend that never had a place in your home? This could be the time you start offering your ‘treasures’ to other family members… be careful…. not everyone wants your ‘stuff’. They have their own!
Perhaps you don’t want anyone to help you go through your valuables. You want to do it yourself! In fact, my good friend and colleague, Barbara Berman owner of BB’s Clutter Solutions, a de-cluttering and organizing guru, has a running joke with my husband – He has a greed to pay her NOT to help him organize our garage!
But getting started is always the hardest part. How do you rid yourself of all the things you have accumulated over the years and where do you even discard those items?
Here are several tips to better assist you in starting this potentially grueling process. Once completed, you will feel like a load has been lifted.
1) Attack One Room At A Time.
Choose a room to start this process. I get it, multi-tasking is considered a strength… but not for this! Instead of “one day at a time”, make it ONE ROOM AT TIME!
2) Sort Efficiently.
Create 3 piles… discard, keep and not sure. Once you have determined the definites, go back and revisit the not sure pile. Rule of thumb – if you haven’t touched or looked at it for 2+ years… say bye-bye now!
3) Dedicate Storage Space
Once you have sorted through a room, store the labeled boxes in a dedicated corner or closet.
4) Properly Discard Papers
Do NOT throw your papers into a trash bag. Dedicate boxes for any papers that have your personal information. Avoid identity theft and take it to a licensed shredding company. It’s worth the money!
5) Separately Sort Sentimental Items
This is the tough part — artwork from the kids and old baby clothes. Decide what you cannot part with and if possible, ask the kids to take what they want. Discard the rest. NO room for leftovers.
6) Consider Consigning
Check out your local consignment shop(s) and contemplate bringing them your gently used unwanted items.
7) Have A Garage Sale
Despite the organizational hazard, it can be a great way to dispose of your belongings while making a few bucks!
Garages and basements typically take the brunt of stored items. Don’t let this discourage you from doing what is necessary. Approach it like a room- section it off and sort from there.
HINT: WANT FREE BOXES? VISIT YOUR LOCAL CLOTHING STORES! THEY GENERALLY VERY HAPPY TO HELP. AVOID GETTING FOOD BOXES – YOU NEVER KNOW IF THEY HAVE INSECTS THAT ARE NOT VISIBLE.