Successful Simplicity

Saving Time; Simplifying Lives


                       October Organizing Tips

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Right-Sizing for the Future

The Baby Boom generation is 73 million (or so) strong. Many of them are looking at moving from a home that they raised their families in to a more “right-sized” space for the next stage of their lives. Over the last five years, I’ve helped clean out the homes of four family members who passed away. Believe me, you don’t want to leave the burden of clearing out your home to your kids, spouse, or friends. If you’re a boomer considering this move, or have parents who are thinking of a change, these tips are for you.


First of all, acknowledge that moving from a beloved home will be an emotional experience, even if you love where you’re relocating to. Go easy on yourself, and consider bringing in a neutral 3rd party for opinions if you start to feel stuck. Embrace the phrase right-sizing because downsizing can imply you're giving something up, whereas right-sizing means you're doing exactly what is best for this time in your life.


As you start a “right-sizing” project, don’t become overwhelmed by the scale of the project. Keep your focus on one room at a time, and work for small time periods. Consider buying an oversized post-it pad that you can write down notes on as you’re working and ideas come to mind. Then you can hang that post-it on the wall in each space, so you don’t lose track of your notes and ideas.


As you’re going through the sorting process to decide what you’ll keep or release, keep the size of your new space top of mind so that you don’t hang on to more than you can accommodate. Ask yourself, do I really need a separate set of Christmas dishes that serves 12 in my new space? Or, will I truly have room for that antique roll-top desk in addition to the office desk I currently use? Making an inventory list of what you’re keeping on the post-it pad for each room will also help you identify duplicates down the road if you find similar items in another space of the house.


Identify a less used room like a spare bedroom or basement storage space that can be for used for temporarily housing your donation items. Then, as you’re working in a room and identify things you want to donate to a charity or gift to your children, you can box or bag them out and get them out of the room immediately. Remember that each item you decide to keep requires time, energy, and maintenance, so make sure it’s worth it.


Give adult children a deadline to come and pick up their things so they don’t linger until the last minute. Also give yourself a deadline for arranging for the items to be donated, so you don’t find yourself wanting to take back items you’ve set aside to give away. Once you have momentum established, you want to keep it going by getting things out the door. The law of physics that objects in motion tend to stay in motion really applies here.


If you’re having a difficult time releasing treasured items, consider taking pictures of them and creating a special memory book so you can still “see” the item when you want to. Online photo services like Shutterfly can even bind them in a book for you if you like. And keep in mind, that the memories you’ve created with your family are much longer lasting and dear to their hearts than your belongings.

Be well and be kind during this difficult time!