What To Do With It All

 Posted by Kathryn Mershon on March 23, 2017 at 4:09 PM

Possessions can gather up in your life, especially when you have kids. You may look around and find yourself waist-deep in clutter. But while you dream about a clean and orderly home, the downsizing process can feel daunting when you have an entire house to go through. Where do you even start? How do you avoid the heartache of accidentally parting with some of your memories? If you take a look at these five tips below, you may find your downsizing experience more manageable.

Know what to keep. First things first: know what matters to you. It’s good practice to keep hold of family heirlooms (or, if the given heirlooms were never your taste, give them away to a fellow family member or put them into off-site storage). Also keep your hands on any and all important papers, including licenses, records, titles, diplomas, and other related matter. If you lose those, you’ll always soon end up needing them for one situation or another.

Know what to throw out. The rule of thumb here is simple: If you couldn’t imagine looking a person in the eye as you gave the item over to them—even for free—then it should be trashed. It’s probably too dirty, too worn, or otherwise too useless to benefit anybody.

Know what to alter. This matters for both things you want to keep and things you don’t. If you get rid of electronics, make sure to wipe them clean of all your personal information. People who buy your used electronics could otherwise easily figure your identity and potentially use it for their own benefit. And if you’re looking to keep family photos, consider taking the time to finally digitize them. That way, you can keep everything that matters to you without the clutter.

Know what to sell and what to donate. This can be a tricky one to decide. When is your great-grandmother’s desk a priceless antique or just a favored, worn piece of furniture? If you don’t have a great knowledge for antique and vintage items, you’ll want to consider letting Caring Transitions take a look. Our trained team of professionals can identify what could bring you money and what just has sentimental value.

Ask yourself crisis questions. While some of these situations can be difficult to think about, they can help you put your possessions into perspective. If your home were to catch on fire, which possessions would you want to save once you knew your family was safe? If your home was robbed, which items would you put the effort into getting replaced or being tracking down? In the event of a national crisis, which essentials does your family need for survival? Put yourself in the mindset of some difficult scenarios and see how you feel you’d react. Then you’ll know what matters most to you.

The task in front of you can be large, but you can get it done as long as you keep a cool head and take it one step at a time. If you need a break or less stress, look to the professionals of Caring Transitions.