It Can Be Done
Before many members of the boomer generation can get on to the business of finding and planning the home of their dreams for their next stage in life, they need to develop a strategy that will allow them to go to the next- stage housing , clutter free. There are more avenues for disposing and distributing unwanted belongings than ever before, but it critical to understand your objectives. Is getting money your primary motivation? Do you just want your things to go to a good home and become useful again? Do you want your excess possessions to support the work of non-profits? Are you concerned about the environmental impact of discarding so much stuff? How can you keep the cost under control?
We have helped countless families through the process and have learned a great deal concerning what works and what doesn’t. It is hard to do when you don’t have a plan. If you have already found a new place, you will need to evaluate all of your current belongings for their suitability and practicality. Measuring rooms and furniture is mandatory. If you haven’t decided where you are going, you still need to examine what activities need to continue in a new environment, and which belong to a past life. Then figure out which possessions are associated with those interests, work and pastimes and downsize accordingly. The following are the critical factors to keep in mind when undertaking a project of this magnitude:
- Don’t Underestimate
The TV shows that demonstrate how to de-clutter have motivated thousands confront their demons around stuff. However, sometimes they give the impression that results are instantaneous. As the Australian study “Stuff Happens” Unused things cluttering up our homes confirms, people who have lived in places for a long time, generally have more work to do. We recommend beginning 6 months to a year in advance of a proposed move to sorting and purging. You don’t want to get into a time crunch that forces you into making bad decisions, or worse, taking things with you that won’t fit with the new décor or lifestyle.
- Start with Areas of the House You Are Not Using
Some of the most cluttered areas in homes are rooms that are being used for storage, like spare rooms, basements and garages. If you find the idea of getting rid of things to be daunting, these areas generally contain articles that are rarely if ever utilized.-discarded clothing, extra sets of dishes, holiday decorations, old blankets, schoolwork, furniture that has replaced in the front rooms, etc. all seem to wind up in these rooms. It is a good place to begin, as decisions will be easier to make.
- Stick with One Room at a Time
Whatever you do, don’t fall victim to zigzagging. That’s when you start in one area, go into another room to get something, become distracted by a project that requires attention, and open a second front of de-cluttering. This is a success- prevention strategy of the first order. You will feel like nothing gets accomplished and you will create at atmosphere that will dissolve into chaos
- Sort by Category
No matter where you start, arm yourself with boxes and appropriate containers fro sorting. Decide on what you want to take to the new place that can be packed up and labeled until you move and designate an area for storing it- either inside or out of the home. Key categories include Donate, Toss, Sell, Move to Another Room and I Don’t Know. There can be sub-categories for sale to consignment, on-line or garage sale.
- What About Emotional Attachment?
Many people maintain a strong emotional connection to specific items. Sometimes we feel that we are the custodians of our family’s legacy, embodied in the heirlooms we inherit. People feel guilty if they choose to part with these. It is often easier if you can photograph something, incorporate it in an art project or find somewhere to donate this type of things where it will be appreciated by the recipients. If you have a large collection, it is permissible to save a representative portion and allow yourself to donate what you don’t have room for.
As easy as they may seem, these first 5 steps will require time and effort to accomplish. Thus, I will stop here for this week and let you get started. The next 5 steps will be posted next week so don’t miss out!
If you have any question, simply comment below or even better, contact us at Good Riddance! We’d love to hear from you.
P: 604 421 5952
Co-author of Good Riddance: Showing Clutter the Door.
Good Riddance Professional Organizing Solutions
Practically Daughters Senior Move Managers