Moving to a Simpler Life, But Where Do I Start?

By: Janet Nusbaum

Does the thought of simplifying your surroundings and life sound wonderful, but the challenges of the making the transition keeps you from making a change? You are not alone! Regardless of how attractive it may seem, downsizing a lifetime can be an emotional and organizational nightmare.

To assure that the transition is less stressful, consider these downsizing tips:

Start with a plan As the old adage goes "if you fail to plan you plan to fail." This is so true when it comes to planning a successful downsizing move. I recommend starting a 3-ring binder with tabs to collect all the information in one place related to your move.

Start sorting now Sorting through a lifetime of possessions can be overwhelming, but it must be done. Schedule regular sessions with yourself or with a Professional Organizer. Pick one area to start, ideally an area that you are not currently using. The important thing is to begin and to be consistent.

Decisions, decisions How do you decide what to take and what to part with? In my work with clients, I always stress visualizing and planning for the lifestyle you are transitioning to, not the lifestyle you are transitioning from. When moving to a smaller space, every item kept should have a function and a specific purpose. So let go of that 20-year-old console TV that may still work, but takes up half the room and keep the newer portable cable-ready TV that can easily fit anywhere.

Make a floor plan As soon as you have a new home confirmed, begin planning the floor plan. This makes deciding what stays and what goes so much easier. Even if you haven't decided on a specific new home yet, it's never too early to give some thought to what items you know you will take with you and plan main rooms like the living room, master bedroom and kitchen.

What to do with all the stuff? It takes time to find homes for all the stuff you will not be moving with you. By starting early you will have the time to find just the right home for your belongings. Make a list of all the items you will not be taking and begin talking with family and friends to see what they may be interested in purchasing or taking offer your hands. Also begin collecting resources like auction houses, antique stores that buy items, storage facilities and haulers.

Experience the emotions of the transition You will experience many emotions as you sort through a lifetime of memories. Moving is a transition at any age, but a downsizing move represents a transition from one lifestyle to another. All transitions contain an element of loss and excitement, as you experience once again memories of the past and anticipate the new life ahead. Expect to feel some grief along with your excitement and anticipation.

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