'With less things to care for, you have more time to enjoy life'
Downsizing a home can be bittersweet — sometimes it is being done by adult children or grandchildren. They often express they feel guilty about the process — however they don't like, want or need many of their relative's things.
So, what's a graceful way to undertake downsizing?
1. Take your time, if possible
It is going to be a much larger job than you anticipated so start early. It is a huge undertaking and can often take six months to a year to clear out a house.
The job of clearing out a house is often left to adult children if elderly parents become sick before they have had a chance to do it — a stressful chore.
2. Be ruthless
When deciding what items will be moving to your new location, be ruthless. Only take items that fit your current lifestyle.
Once the sold sign goes on, the clock is ticking to moving day. However, a caution on ruthlessness for adult children helping parents downsize, remember — it's not your stuff.
If possible make sure your parents are the primary decision-makers about what to keep (with a little prodding). It's really hard for elderly parents to make such a big change so every little decision seems very important.
3. Give up your role as 'keeper of the things'
You can no longer be the keeper of the items. Stop storing things for your children/parents/friends.
4. Take only what fits
If possible, know the dimensions of the space you are moving to. Are you going from a five-bedroom house to a two-bedroom condo? Perhaps your favourite pieces of furniture will be too big.
5. Donate, give away and sell
Give yourself lots of time, hire someone to help, get a dumpster, donate as much as you can to charity.
After you get past the realization that it's just material stuff ... it is so easy. Donation is key. What a great feeling to give to organizations that really need help.
Find someone in your life that will treasure and enjoy the item as much as you do. But don't attach expectations to the items, such as being prominently displayed in someone else's home.
You could also have a yard sale, sell some items online or hire an auction house.
6. Take photos
Take a photo of your favorite things that are going to new homes. Enjoy the memories associated with the item and appreciate the role it played in your life, then let it go.
7. Don't re-accumulate stuff
Keep only the things that you would use every day and the freedom that comes with downsizing is unbelievable. Life became very easy and very stress-free.