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Up until the Home Downsizing process starts, most people have been "accumulating", i.e., buying things first for themselves, and then later in life for the children, and rarely throwing things away. Today the children are usually no longer at home, and you are probably no longer accumulating things at the rate you did earlier in life. In fact, for many this is the first time in their lives that they have really had to de-assess, or sell things off, in order to make more room.
It can be hard enough if there are two of you to share in the downsizing process. It can be significantly harder if only one of you will be involved in the process. For many the key is simply to get started. Once you get started, the process will go along more smoothly, and will even pick up momentum as you see yourself making some progress.
Remember, your ultimate goal here is to simplify your life. This article includes 11 Home Downsizing Tips designed to help you to get started in the Home Downsizing process, and to simplify your life. Our next article will provide 16 Downsizing Tips & Strategies designed to keep you moving...once you've started the Home Downsizing process.
• Home Downsizing Is Not An Easy Process. Rather, it is an ongoing process, something that will probably take many months to complete properly.
• Take Your Time. The Home Downsizing process does not happen overnight. It has taken you much of a lifetime to accumulate your houseful of assets and memories. Don't expect that you will complete the Home Downsizing process quickly.
• Usually Plan At Least 6 Months Ahead. As we said, this process will take time, both physically and mentally.
• Planning Is Crucial. Don't just jump into it blindly. Think about what you want to do, and think about how you can best accomplish what you want to do. Set a Plan of Action.
• Develop A Sorting System. Develop your own sorting system. Although we usually recommend up to 10 Sorting Categories in our consultations and workshops, you should sort in any meaningful manner that works for you. Color-coded labels, magic markers, computer spreadsheets, keeping detailed listings, making piles, and taking digital images can all be helpful. Use whatever works best for you.
• If In Doubt, Keep It for Now. Once it's gone, it's gone and you cannot get it back. You can always sell it at a later date if you change you mind. If in doubt, put it in the "Keep" pile for now.
• You Are Allowed To Change Your Mind. Expect that you will change your mind many times over the coming months. One day you will want to keep something because of the memories attached to it. The next day you will want to dump it. That's perfectly normal and acceptable. You can change your mind as many times as you like. But place it in the "Keep It" pile until you are sure.
• Double Your Initial Time Estimate. Unless you are experienced at Home Downsizing, take your initial time estimate...and double it.
• Remember That You Are In Charge. Family and friends can, and should, have input with your decisions. However, you are the one who must ultimately live with these decisions. And you should be the final decision-maker.
• Be Patient. It probably took you 10-20-30+ years to accumulate all of the items in your home. Don't expect to dispose of it all in only a matter of a few days. It often takes 6-12 months to finalize a complete downsizing.
• Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help. This process is easier for some people than others. If you are having a difficult time, don't be afraid to ask friends and loved ones for help.