The children have moved out. It’s quiet for the first time in years. Suddenly, your four-bedroom house looms like a four-headed monster. The solution seems simple – downsize to something smaller.
That is all right in theory, but in practice both the emotional and financial ramifications of downsizing your life are traumatic. Disposing of extra belongings takes time, planning and above all else, sensitivity.
- Letting go emotionally is a big step – and a step that must be taken before starting the downsizing journey. By giving yourself permission to abandon the family home and move on, selling and/or giving away possessions won’t tug so much at your heartstrings.
- Make a list of what you will use in your day-to-day life. Then, make a list of things with sentimental value that you can’t bear to part with.
- Start giving away most of your accumulated possessions. Let your children and other family members choose what they want.
- When visiting friends, give them small gifts – like that figurine or tea service they’ve always admired.
- If neighbors are having yard sales, ask if you can drop off a few unused, small things (prices attached) and let them keep the money earned from the sale.
- Gather together items of value that you may not want to keep or give to relatives and either sell them at auction, have a tag sale or work with a consignment shop.
- Donate unwanted items to charity. Get a receipt for tax purposes.
After reducing your possessions, give yourself time to say goodbye to your old neighbors – and your house. This type of closure is important since relocating is, in fact, a type of loss. Mourning the “loss” helps open the door to the new life awaiting you.