When it was time to sell my mother’s house and pretty much everything in it, it was heartbreaking to know how little of what was in the house was going to find a new home with me or any of my siblings. Her beloved bow-front china cabinet, about which she had told so many stories, was sold at auction and brought more than anything in the house. It just wasn’t something that would suit any one of her four children. I kept her sterling and a few lovely little things and each of my siblings has a few sentimental items. But when we needed to sell her place and the furnishings in the home in which we grew up, with homes of our own full of our own special stuff, we just had to turn our backs on Mom’s and Grandma’s stuff and hope new owners would appreciate that it was deeply meaningful to my mother.
If you’re considering downsizing, start early and start with a plan. Read books on decluttering, such Marie Condo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up; it’s a little tedious — some say silly — but if you dive in and get it done, you’ll be more lighthearted than you’ve been in a while. Or read an oldie but a goodie, Keep, Sell or Toss by Harry L. Rinker. He’s been around a while and has great advice. Or look at “Downsizing the Family Home” by Marni Jameson. And if you’ve resisted getting rid of sentimental items, give this blog post from The Spruce some thought, then commit to making the hard choices about parting with beloved items which have no place in your new space.
If you’re facing an elective downsizing, consider starting immediately selling your best and most precious items. If your new space will be half as large as your current home, you WILL NOT have room for most of your sentimental items. Start putting a green dot on the ones that you want to sell and consider listing them on eBay or download one of the many apps that will help you sell items.
Hire a professional organizer. National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals has about 4,000 members from across the country. The idea is to get started before you think you need to, because once you KNOW you need to, it’s so much harder: you’re older and more exhausted and usually in a bigger hurry.
Even if you start small, start getting rid of STUFF now that you don’t need, don’t want, and don’t think your children will want. Check out this Houzz story on decluttering tips and techniques.