If you’re a baby boomer, chances are you or someone you know will go through the process of downsizing in the next few years.

As a professional organizer, I frequently help in all aspects of the moving process. We store all of our memories in our homes, and the longer we live in them, the more items we collect. Many people don’t know where to begin when they need to downsize.

Laura Souders
Contributing Blog Writer

My advice is to analyze your own mindset before you start… are you thinking any of these thoughts?

“It’s good stuff, someone can use it.”

Ask family members. Don’t assume they want your things, because they may not have the space for them. Email or text a picture of the item you wish to gift your relative, and it’ll allow them to respond quicker and not feel put on the spot.

Someone can use it. You are right! Just because we no longer need something, doesn’t mean it can’t benefit someone else. Generosity can help others. Places like Goodwill, Purple Heart, Community Aid, churches, libraries, and schools love donations.  

— “I’m sentimental (i.e. I don’t want to lose this memory).”

Take pictures of the item and document it. A photograph helps to preserve your memory of the item, and you can take it a step further and write down why it’s important to you. Documenting the story behind it makes it is easier to share with others. Remember, it’s the story behind the item that we wish to preserve. The memory of Grandma’s china will survive much longer as a written record, and probably be shared with more people, than the actual china.

Take time to process letting go. Getting rid of your things often means you must acknowledge the changes that have occurred in your life. Sometimes clothing, gifts, and decorations remind us of the past, a time that no longer exists. Allow yourself to take this walk down memory lane.

—”I don’t know where to start.”

Basements, attics, and storage places are great places to begin. Items you haven’t used in a while are usually easier to pass along!

Be honest. Ask yourself if you need, want, or will use the items at this stage in your life. Thinking about the next stage of your life, what activities will you continue to do?

Just start. Many of my clients find that once they get started it’s never as bad as they had imagined. They actually find the process of purging a freeing experience.

Whether you have a moving date on the calendar or are planning to stay in your home as long as possible, you can start to evaluate the things that you own right now. Downsizing your belongings doesn’t mean downsizing your happiness. It gives you more time to enjoy those items that are most precious to you. Start today… let us know how we can help!

About The Author: Laura Souders is the founder and owner of Healthier Spaces Organizing, an Earth-Friendly company that assists clients in living a more organized, simpler, and healthier life. Laura is a professional member of the National Association for Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO), the Environmental Special Interest Group, and holds certificates in Chronic Disorganization and Basic Hoarding from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). She is also a mentor for the Central Pennsylvania Association of Female Executives.