The kids have all moved out. Really moved out. Even the last few things they kept in their rooms while in college are gone. You know downsizing is in your future. This is your time to live and maintaining a home that’s too big for you is the last thing you need.
If you are considering downsizing, it’s time to start thinking about what that will really entail. Realistically, you won’t have room in your new home for everything that has accumulated over the past two or three decades.
Don’t make the same mistakes many of those who are getting ready to downsize do by holding on to – and moving – things that should have been purged. Now is the time to brainstorm a decluttering and home organization plan that will allow you to really enjoy your new space.
Taking Stock of What You Have
Before it’s time to move, take stock of what is in your home. Have you kept anything for your kids that they really don’t want? Have an open, honest conversation with your children to figure whether what you consider a possible precious family heirloom would just be clutter in your child’s home.
Put the following items at the top of the list to discuss. These are three of the most common things parents keep that their kids would prefer never to inherit.
Even if your children love to read, it’s likely they don’t want your old books (and they probably have their own growing collection of their own they will have to purge some day). If you suspect any of your books are valuable, do a search online or contact a book antiquarian. Otherwise, consider donating the books to a library or used book store.
Has your child ever used a cup and saucer for morning coffee? Would he or she really use silver flatware? For that matter, have you used any of these dishes in the past year? Or decade? Or have they been sitting in a cupboard for years just because you got them from your parents or grandparents and felt obligated to hold onto them?
Children and grandchildren rarely want to store multiple place settings of porcelain dishes. Go ahead and sell them to the consignment shop or to a company that offers replacement pieces for consumers seeking specific patterns.
Do you have shoeboxes of greeting cards, letters, and photos stashed under your bed? Piles of paper are overwhelming and nearly impossible for others to sort through.
Before downsizing, go through these papers and say goodbye. Read through cards once more; then recycle them. Scan photos to create digital files, or frame your favorites to pass along. Then get rid of the rest.
What Downsizing Can Do For Your Neighbors
I would never suggest that you throw things away without thought, or that you purge things just for the sake of it. The point of the conversation I mentioned is to discover if there are things – perhaps unexpected things – that your kids do want to inherit from their childhood home, as well as what they don’t.
During this conversation encourage your children to be honest. If you’ve loved an old chair for years – and hung onto it for way too long when it had no real place – because it held special memories for you it’s not really fair to force those on your kids just because they don’t want to offend you.
There is one more thing. As long as they are in decent shape, many of the things you will be purging can probably be donated to the local thrift store. In this way they’ll be given new life, and perhaps even help your neighbors build new memories of their own, instead of rotting away in the basement of your new home, the place where you are heading for a fresh start on the next exciting chapter of your life.
Need help with decluttering – and with those sometimes awkward conversations about heirlooms? We can help. An impartial party can help make sure you make the right decisions when decluttering for downsizing, as well as help you find out how to potentially give your old stuff a new lease on life some place else.