I often describe myself as an old realtor. More than 25 years in business makes me eligible for that description. What is happening to this old realtor is that my database is retiring. Many clients who I helped when we were all a lot younger are now thinking of retirement and wondering where to spend their golden years. When they think of that move overwhelm starts to kick in. Things people consider are;
Where does my family live and how close do I want to live to them?
What are my hobbies and where can I enjoy them?
Medical facilities are a huge concern.
Safety and amenities of new communities.
Affordability, Taxes & Insurance Rates.
What type of house and what size house will we buy?
These may feel like the biggest & most stressful things to consider. In my opinion, the most stressful thing that affects my clients is stuff. What do you do with a lifetime of stuff? Sometimes people also have a basement, storage unit, garage, and a shed full of things. This is where I see people get stuck. Many people stay in a house they don’t want to live in and don’t move to a place where they could truly be happy for a house full of things they realistically don’t want but just don’t know how to address. Here are 10 great tips for decluttering & downsizing your home.
- Declutter briefly & often -do it in small increments of time like 15-30 minutes every day.
- Add decluttering time to your calendar. Daily, weekly, three times a week. Do whatever works for you but schedule it and just stick to it. Crossing things off your list feels good.
- The No More Stuff Rule! If you are going to declutter you must quit adding stuff.
- The One-In-Two-Out Rule -If you need to purchase something new you can offset it by removing two other items from your home. If you need a new recliner, then your old recliner and another piece of furniture get sold or donated. It cannot go to the basement or storage for later selling this doesn’t count as “Out”.
- Repurpose Things for Charity. The meaningful items are the ones that are tough. Give meaningful pieces to the family. If your family doesn’t want it, then donate to a charity or a family in need. Family china and furniture are difficult to part with but your family who have passed on wouldn’t want their things to be a burden to you.
- Downsize your Storage- With less space, you will find it easier to not hang on to things. In a small home or independent living community you will have limited storage. You will be surprised how good it feels to have a fresh start.
- The Clothing Rule- If you haven’t worn an item in the last year you likely don’t need it. I can hear the women starting their cars to come for me. If parting with clothes is hard start with socks, shoes, worn-out clothes, t-shirts, etc. Turning your hangers in one direction in your closet is a great way to judge. Turn the hanger in the other direction once you have worn an item. If you haven’t worn it in one year, then donate it to a charity.
- One Year & Gone Rule – It’s like the clothing rule above but it applies to all other belongings. Think about those craft items you are saving, the 10,000 extra screws & nails, kitchen serving pieces, table linens, small appliances, etc.
- Get help with your clutter-Call a friend or relative you trust to help you sort. Another person can help you because they won’t have the same emotional attachment. If you need a pro you could call Stephanie with Organized Chick, she is a wonderful resource, 678-697-9609.
- Do one room at a time- It will feel amazing to know you have finished a space. Don’t ping-pong around from space to space.
Downsizing is the ultimate decluttering tip. You are forced to declutter however it’s traumatic. Taking things at your own pace is a lot better. I see panic on people’s faces trying to figure out how they will get rid of so much stuff in a super short amount of time. I don’t want you to panic so I hope these tips help you. Oh, and by the way if you know someone doing a big declutter please tell them about this old Realtor who would love to help them sell and buy.