The New Year has arrived, but that doesn’t mean the party’s over. At least not if you’re ready to start your next fabulous chapter. There’s no better time to downsize; and with these tips it might even be more fun than you think.

Downsizing Doesn’t Have to Be a Downer

Many people are hesitant to downsize in retirement. We believe there are a couple of reasons for this. One, after working your whole life for the things you have it’s understandable to have a hard time letting go. Beyond the stuff, downsizing also represents a major life transition; one that many fear means a loss of control and/or a loss of independence. In reality, it doesn’t have to represent any of that. Downsizing is really what you make it!

At SHAG, we challenge these kinds of preconceptions every day. In fact, we’re redefining the idea of retirement altogether. Moving beyond a fixation on your years to focus on what’s really important – getting more out of life regardless of age. Downsizing can help you do just that by freeing your space and time so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Where to Start

As for the downsizing process itself, often the hardest part is knowing where to start. But if you break it down into steps it becomes much more manageable.

Step one: Gather your packing supplies and clear out space for a ‘downsizing zone’ which could be your garage or even the dining room table. Essentially, anywhere you can temporarily store items as you sort through them.

Step two: To pace yourself, assign each room of the house a number which will give you a roadmap of where you’ll start and finish. By focusing on one room or area of the house at a time you’ll keep things organized, moving forward and, quite frankly, keep yourself from being overwhelmed.

Step three: Start going through your stuff according to your list and divide items into categories such as keep, trash, recycle, sell or gift for example.

Make It a Celebration

Have you ever heard of a Downsizing Party? Yes, it’s a thing and we think it’s a great way to approach downsizing as a celebration of all you’ve experienced and achieved, as well as an opportunity to give all your stuff a second act of its own. Here’s how it works:

Plan your party – Once you’ve categorized everything, set the date and time for your party. It’s ideal to select a time range where everyone can come and go as they please. As for the guest list; invite friends, family, neighbors, coworkers or anyone you’d love to see your stuff go to. Then arrange the items you want to gift in a way that’s easy to peruse. And if it fits in the budget, maybe even offer some snacks and drinks (box of wine anyone?) or ask everyone to bring a dish and make it a potluck too!

Enjoy the day – It’s a great time to reminisce and tell the stories of why these items are so special to you. You’ll share some laughs, make new memories and enjoy sending your beloved items off on their own new adventures. And who knows, you may very well see them again as treasures in the home of someone you love!

The after party – If you have any items left over, consider donating them to a worthy cause. Yet another way to give them new life! Call the 211 resource hotline for help identifying organizations and/or locations of donation centers. And check to see if any could pick items up from your home for added convenience.

And now with a clean slate, you can look forward to your new life too!

For more information on ageless living in a SHAG community near you, contact us today.