This is a subject that gets bought up at the shop a lot, and its not as easy as you may think it is to do. If done right it can be really therapeutic.
The process is different for everyone and not everybody is going to want to downsize, unfortunately sometimes life has a way of creating circumstances that lead to the need. So how can you make the process easier on yourself?
Deciding what is important to you
I'm a big believer in surrounding yourself with the things that make you happy and that is where you should start?
Make yourself 3 categories:
This is definitely coming with me
I want to keep this but I may not have enough room I'm undecided
and then finally I can do without it
Narrowing it down to these categories should be easy if you listen to yourself. If something brings you joy and enhances your mood you should definitely keep it. If you look at something and you feel a sense of I should probably keep it than you need to put it in the middle category, it doesn't mean we cant revisit it later but for the time being it should stay there. If you have no attachment or feelings for an item or it has no necessity in your life you should put it in the last category. So lets look at this in more detail.
1 - Definitely keeping
There are items that you will need and these are just a given, such as furniture. Where it gets difficult is with our keepsakes, there is a lifetime in your current house that you may be trying to fit in a much smaller accommodation. These items come with emotions and inheritance and can often be hard to sort through.
Lets just simplify it for the time being. If an item brings you joy and fills you with happiness just from looking at it, its a given you should put it in this category. When you start to select these items you will start to see that you will have different levels of emotion or need for it, you should use this feeling of importance to categorise them. If your unsure of anything put it in the next category.
Now if you get to the end of this and you can fit everything in this category into your new accommodations easily then congratulations you nailed it.
If you still have too much than you need to make a list of all your items from top to bottom in value of importance. Now the next step is going to hurt, your going to have to sever the bottom of the list and move it to the next category.
If you have room for more things in your new accommodation than we can look at the next category.
2 - The undecided
This is probably the hardest category, you put them here because they mean something to you. It may have been handed down to you, left as a family keepsake. Maybe you picked it up on a holiday and holds memories of times past.
Now if you did an amazing job with the first category and have room for more than this is where you should make a list from top to bottom of preference. You can only afford to take the top of this list and what that amount is will be up to you. Keep in mind that if you over crowd your new accommodation your quality of life will be affected and can be emotionally crippling if you have to live with clutter.
Now what do you do with what's left, there are a few things that you can do here to make it feel a lot better about parting ways with your possessions. Invite your family and loved ones over and treat them to a much loved possession, one that they will love, let them choose no sense in forcing things onto people if they don't want or need it. If you want, make an event of it and relive the stories that go with it. Don't assume that your children wont want any of it, give them the option, they would have grown up with some of it and they will have memories associated to some of it. What's left should be put with the last category, its hard to do but remember why your doing this.
3 - Letting go of the rest
By the time you get to this point you should be feeling better about letting go, you may even be feeling relieved as it has probably been weighing on you for some time. Your next step will be in deciding where the rest should go, this could be to a charity of your choice or you could have a garage sale, or perhaps sell online or to a dealer or auction. This is a whole other area of discussions which we can visit at a later date.
Obviously I have never had to do this myself, my experience and advice comes from the people I meet through the shop. This method is not going to be for everyone, but I believe that it is the better approach and most people naturally follow this approach without even realising it. If you can approach it with a plan to begin with, it will save a lot of time and emotion.
Inviting family into the process can be tricky, if you stay in control and have a plan you can make the process a lot more enjoyable. Relive the memories and the feelings that come along with all these keepsakes and hand them on with the story.
Thankyou for taking the time to read I look forward to hearing your thoughts.