Clear The Clutter: 4 Tips For Downsizing After Retirement
Retirement is often a time of simplifying your life, so you can spend more time on hobbies, volunteering or time with grandchildren. Many seniors downsize their homes to a size that is easier to maintain. Downsizing often necessitates eliminating a lot of household goods that have accumulated over the years. Here are some tips on cutting the clutter, so you can live more efficiently.
1 – Let Go of the Paperwork
If you are like most people, you routinely collect large amounts of receipts, statements, tax forms and old bills that can quickly take over desks, cabinets and storage areas. It is unlikely that you will ever need to refer to the vast majority of these records, and they are only taking up space and becoming a burden. Commit to tackling this “paperwork buildup” area by area. You don’t have to spend long hours pouring through papers. Simply tackle one drawer or box at a time until the job is complete. The bills you paid years ago will not have any bearing on today’s account. Shred old bank statements and tax forms that are dated more than 7 years ago. Old letters and cards may have sentimental value, but they only serve to make your life more cluttered. Pack whatever is left in sturdy cardboard and label the contents.
2 – Stop Storing For Your Kids
Many times, parents take on the job of being the “storage facility” for their adult children’s mementos, old clothes, furniture and sports equipment. Call a halt to your days as family warehouse, and give your kids notice that whatever is not removed from the premises in 30 days will be donated to charity. If they really want the objects you are storing for them, they will find a way to collect and store it. If not, you will be providing a wide variety of goods that can be used by other people or sold to help a good cause.
3 – Give Away the Clothing and Objects You Never Use
Downsizing is a good opportunity to face the facts on the clothing you will never fit into again, the craft materials you will probably never get to and the hobby items you haven’t been interested in for years. Although you may love certain articles of clothing, they probably went out of style decades ago and would unsuitable on you now. Some items may clearly not suit your present age or lifestyle. Others may not have even weathered the storage process very well. Be ruthless and honest about your need to keep these items. Are you really likely to go skiing again? Do you really expect to be intrigued by rock polishing again? These items take up valuable space that you will not have in your new location.
4 – Distribute Important Heirlooms Now
If you have a treasured quilt that your grandmother made, now is a good time to pass the item down to younger family members. This same principle should go for china cabinets, grandfather clocks, storage chests, rocking chairs, family china or other items that should be kept, but don’t have to be kept by you. Although it may be difficult letting these items go, passing them on to younger branches of the family will help to trim down your household clutter, yet will still keep them preserved by those for whom the items have real meaning. This strategy can also be utilized for jewelry, crafts, photo albums and other special articles.
Downsizing for retirement, or moving to a more manageable space like these homes built by northern Utah home builders, should be thought of as an opportunity to lighten your responsibilities to create more time and space for the things you most enjoy.
Trimming down your household goods can feel like a huge job, but if you break up the task into manageable pieces and steadily work away at it, you will make inroads into creating a leaner, more practical lifestyle.
Author: Emma Sturgis