Empty Nesting: It’s Time to Downsize

“You spend your 30’s and 40’s accumulating stuff, and you spend your 50’s and 60’s getting rid of it.” My friend, Diana, told me that many years ago and it has resonated with me ever since. She was absolutely right!

Life has cycles. When you spend two or three decades raising wonderful children who become great adults, it’s time to downsize. It’s time to sell the big two-story home and move into something more appropriate for yourself and/or your mate.

The first thing to realize is this: all the stuff you accumulated over the past 20 or 30 years will not fit into a smaller home. Period. It’s time to purge.

The first time I downsized, I had to let go of cherished treasures. Well, they were cherished at the time my daughter was in kindergarten. Frankly, 25 years later, the artwork she created at age 6 was no longer relevant to display on my new refrigerator. It’s time to let go.

I still have the scrapbooks and some elite, special documents, but I had to throw away many items which did not make the cut of keeping. And, I had to get help. I needed help to decide what to keep and what to throw away or donate.

Please know this: it’s okay! It is okay to shed old memorabilia of your kid’s childhoods. It’s okay to get rid of two crock pots and just keep the third one. It’s okay to scale back to only one set of patio furniture. Frankly, your kids probably don’t want that old stuff either!

Here are five tips to help you downsize so you can be ready to move into your smaller home:

  1. When you find your new, smaller home, measure the rooms carefully so you can decide which furniture to keep, and which furniture doesn’t fit.
  2. If you have large furniture, antiques, or lots of large items that can be sold, consider enlisting the assistance of an estate sale company. That is usually safer than using an online website to sell your furniture.
  3. For your personal items, ask your kids or another family member to help you decide what to keep and what to eliminate. Another set of eyes and ears will help you to decide if something goes into the ‘keep’, ‘donate’, or the ‘trash’ pile. It’s okay to have a large ‘trash’ pile.
  4. My biggest mistake when I downsized was to keep old stuff that I thought might be needed again. I moved so much junk from house to house to house. It is not worth the money to pay movers to move old junk, only to sell it after you move.
  5. Make the process of purging old items fun! I enlisted the help of a few girlfriends and we drank wine and giggled all afternoon. While it is work to purge, pack, and move, help from your favorite people make it more enjoyable.

Downsizing and becoming an empty nester is a wonderful cycle of life. Enjoy it! Embrace it! And call me to help you with your new mortgage! It is truly my pleasure to help you!

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