The changing of seasons brings the annual tradition of spring cleaning. Whether you simply want to organize your surroundings, or you are moving to a smaller dwelling, downsizing can be a highly emotional and stressful task.

Putting a household together over decades can cause us to become very attached to our possessions. It might be difficult to part with a bedroom set we saved up to purchase or a collection we added to for years. These useful tips can help ease the transition and provide a guide to prioritize what is most important.   

April Blog Downsizing

Take it slow. To lower the stress of organizing a lifetime of possessions, go through one room or space at a time. Try setting a time limit and sticking to it so you can have a sense of accomplishment in achieving what you set out to do in one day, without feeling overwhelmed by the amount of possessions you choose to sell or donate in a short period of time. Being proactive allows you to take it slow and maintain control so you don’t find yourself without the time or ability to decide where your possessions are going.  

Keep in mind where you are moving. One way to easily decide what you should keep is to think about where you are moving. If you don’t have the space for a large piece of furniture in your new dwelling, it may not be feasible to take it with you. 

Focus on the most-used items. Keep function in the forefront of your sorting. If an item is used daily or weekly, keep that item in exchange for an item with the same function that hasn’t been used in more than a year. 

Pack favorites of a collection. Pick your favorite piece or two of your collection, and photograph the rest to keep in a special album. If the collection was intended to be a gift someday, consider gifting it before the move and let the new owner enjoy the collection longer. 

Give to a cause that gives your donation meaning. Sometimes, giving belongings to strangers or not knowing how the possessions will benefit the recipient can be difficult. Do research on organizations with causes close to your heart so you can feel your contribution makes an impact. 

Call in the professionals. If you are having trouble parting with your possessions, or your loved ones don’t agree with your choices, you can call in a third party who specializes in downsizing and knows the ins and outs of the best ways to store, donate and sell. Often, calling in a specialist can relieve the stress for all parties involved. 

It’s never too soon to plan for the future. Even if you just recently retired and simply want to organize now that your kids have moved out and started their own homes, it is a kindness to your family to plan for the future. Simple tasks like estate planning or making and updating a will and trust while you are still able to make decisions about your life’s possessions can eliminate stress later in life. 

Whether you are moving or not, these tips will help you eliminate extra items you are not currently using, which can eliminate stress now and later.