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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

Navigating Downsizing: Dealing with Our “Stuff”

Downsizing! Taking care of your spacious family home, tending to the lawn, snow removal, maintenance, and cleaning—it's a lot to keep up with in the place you've called "home" for so many years! Now, with the kids grown and on their own, many of us are ready for a change. For us, it’s time to “downsize”.

In my work with seniors in the real estate market, I’ve had many folks reach that decision. Today, I’d like to focus on one common challenge associated with downsizing: “What do we do with all our things?”. Our “Stuff”. We've accumulated a lifetime's worth of “stuff”—some we need and cherish, while others are simply taking up space.

Start by going through your belongings when you have the time, ideally BEFORE you decide to make a major life change. By doing this in advance, you'll alleviate the pressure of dealing with everything on a tight timeline or facing an immediate need. Taking it one room at a time is a great way to tackle this initial task.

The easiest things to part with are the items you no longer want or need. Will you still need a lawnmower or snow shovels? Consider selling or giving these away, along with unused tools and accessories. Hobby and craft items that you no longer spend time on can also be let go.

Start with obvious things and your mindset will be in the right place as you go forward. Having a “cleansing” mindset is critical to purging things you won’t need or use. If items could be useful to others, I can tell you firsthand, it feels good to give them away. Family and friends, church members, or your social network are good places to start. Goodwill or similar organizations are regular stops for our family. It feels good to give things away to those who need or want them, have less cluttered space and to know that what mattered to you will be loved and valued by others.


You can also sell items online, hold estate or garage sales, or utilize consignment or auction stores and services.

Believe it or not, some items may hold no value for you or others. With these, I urge you to be ruthless! Do you use it? Does it hold sentimental value? If you answered "No" to both, get rid of it! Initially, you will have second thoughts, but I promise that if you embrace your goals, you’ll realize how good for you “cleansing” in this way feels.

Fill trash bins, or, if need be, order a trash or recycling dumpster for this project. These are available locally, with the service provider delivering it to your home and picking it up when full or at the end of the predetermined time.

Successful downsizing begins with addressing your “things”. I can promise you, when done well, most folks are glad they took the time to do this important step first, and feel relieved and ready when it is time to make that move.

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