The decision to downsize has been made. You know where you want to live after inspecting a variety of locations and units, townhouses or villas. You have real estate agents vying for your business and you’ve been focussing on which bits of furniture you will take, which you will pass onto family members or friends.
You may have already decided what will happen with your valuable possessions, but what about the minutiae of household goods you need to declutter?
Decluttering can be a very overwhelming task. You can’t easily free yourself of 20, 30 or 40 years of accumulated possessions in just a few weeks unless you have a very clear plan and a small army to help you. Decision fatigue is real.
So, instead of a “successful move” the result is a tragedy of lost memories, lost income and landfill. This is especially true if your downsizing journey is imposed on you by circumstances not choice. Illness or injury means you have to give up your current home before you are ready. Have you seen this happen to friends or family before?
You can eat an elephant if you do it one bite at a time.
That’s ok, just Here are a few helpful pointers to start.
- Create your masterplan of the “What”.
The “what” being the contents of the rooms and areas in your home in broad categories. Your kitchen list might be foods, plastic, cookware, cutlery, electrical appliances, and so on.
Then group repeated items together that may be found in more than one place in the house. Electrical appliances, books, household cleaning products and chemicals are just some of the items that are often in more than one room of your home. This will give you an idea of the volume of items you are dealing with.
Whether it is on a notepad or an IPad, jot down ideas in a way that suits you. A brain dump of ideas or an Excel Spreadsheet, just keep it all in one place.
- Add the “Who” to your masterplan.
The “who” falls into two categories. Those that will give you a hand with the physical work involved in decluttering, whether family members, friends, neighbours. Or the professionals you might engage like Removalists or Professional Organisers.
Don’t forget your “brains trust”. Not everyone will be able to give you physical help, but they may have similar experiences to share about how they solved problems with their move, and the experts they relied on.
The intergenerational “brains trust” is invaluable. Children and their children, (whether yours or of family and friends) dispose of unwanted but still useful items in a completely different way. They will use social media platforms that you might be unaware of to put items through the “circular economy”. That can be as simple as a crate of household cleaning products on the “Buy, Swap and Sell” Facebook page in your local area.
- Finally, don’t forget the “When”
Time planning is everything. If you are thinking of having donations picked up from major charities then you need to ring them. Not only to book a pickup but to see what they will and won’t take. Big charities may have a lead time of 3 or 4 weeks in particularly busy areas.
Others may have a calendar of scheduled pickups and drop-offs based on localities if covering large metropolitan or regional areas. The classic example is the NSW E.P.A. ‘s calendar of Household Chemical Cleanup. These are generally run in conjunction with your local Councils twice a year. You cannot put chemicals and poisons out for your Council kerbside pickup, nor can ordinary rubbish removal companies take them. Heaven forbid you tip them down the drain and kill off already endangered species just because you ran out of time.
Does the idea of project managing your declutter-to-downsize journey still feel a bit overwhelming? That’s ok, just get in touch, I am more than happy to help.
Ps: I will be speaking at the Seniors Expo in March if you would like to hear me talk about this exact topic. Get in touch for all the details.