Downsize without Losing Your Mind

You say your kids have grown up and moved out of the house? Now that you’re an empty nester, you may be thinking about downsizing. Even if you’ve relocated many times, moving from larger quarters to smaller ones is never easy. And when the place you’re moving out of has been your family’s home for decades, downsizing can be a very stressful experience. But don’t let it get you down. Instead, consider it a golden opportunity to weed out all the extraneous clutter in your life and focus on things that really matter.

Even if your move to smaller quarters is a year or so off, it’s never too soon to start getting organized. Here’s why:

  • The sooner you start getting rid of things you don’t really need or want — or at least deciding what you’ll do with them when the time comes — the less you’ll have to deal with as moving day approaches. The result: a big reduction in your stress level.
  • The less stuff you have to pack up and transport, the simpler — and less expensive — your move will be.
  • It’s a whole lot easier on your physical and mental health. Just the thought of clearing out an entire house on a tight deadline can make your whole body ache and your stress hormones hit the stratosphere.

The best place to start your weeding-out campaign is the attic or the basement because that’s generally where most clutter piles up. And much of it is probably useless junk that you can easily toss. The instant results should spur you on to tackle the rest of your house. If you don’t have a basement or an attic, or you’re simply not ready to face those areas yet, start in whatever other space meets these two criteria:

1. It contains a lot of items that are being stored rather than displayed or used on a regular basis.
2. For the most part, the contents have little sentimental value.