By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer
If you are in your 60s, you might be thinking a lot about downsizing and decluttering:
- Moving to a smaller home.
- Preparing your home for aging in place.
- Getting your home and your life in order “just in case” something happens.
Or maybe you just want a different kind of lifestyle. You might be tired of the big house, all the stuff, and the costs associated with the maintenance and upkeep.
And maybe, just maybe… you just want a simpler life so you can enjoy your life more at this stage.
Whatever the reason you might be thinking about downsizing and decluttering, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of don’ts and do’s that will help you avoid common mistakes people make when downsizing and decluttering. This list will make your task easier, and more effective, and allow you to achieve your goal much faster.
First, The Don’ts of Downsizing in your 60s:
1. DON’T fall into these traps
“Your kids might want it.”
Most of the time we are guessing that our kids want some of our stuff so we hold onto it only to be told, that they don’t like it, they don’t want it, and they don’t have room for it.
Avoid this trap by simply asking if they want it. If they say “YES”, tell them you’re downsizing and decluttering and give them a date to pick it up by.
This goes for anything they might want… furniture, artwork, rugs, etc.
If they say “NO” they don’t want it, that frees you up to let go of it without guilt.
“You might need it someday.”
It’s so easy to fall into this trap, but if you want to downsize and declutter, there’s no way that you can take it all with you.
You need to get really good at making tough decisions.
Some are harder than others but it does get easier over time.
“You paid a lot of money for it.”
We’ve all been guilty of paying too much for something and then not using it. It’s only natural that you feel guilty about spending too much for something.
- The treadmill that sits in the basement and never gets used.
- The expensive handbags or shoes that sit in your closet that are rarely used.
If you don’t use it, don’t want it, try to let go of the guilt and just let it go!
2. DON’T wait to DECLUTTER
Do it now! Even if you aren’t moving for a while.
Decluttering is a process. It takes time. Enjoy it. Depending on how much stuff you have it can take several months or even a year.
If you start now, you’ll be ahead of the game when and if you do move.
And if you choose not to move, to age-in-place instead, the way you feel about your home will be so much lighter, giving you the freedom to live that simpler life with less.
3. DON’T overvalue your stuff
There’s a natural tendency to believe our things are worth far more than they probably really are.
This mindset can really slow up the downsizing and decluttering process.
The reality is that some of the china, crystal, and silver we purchased or received as gifts actually have little or no value because the market is flooded with it. That includes our big brown furniture, oriental rugs, and decorative accessories.
Be selective about the pieces you do keep and be real about their actual worth.
It’s not easy to accept this reality but if you are serious about downsizing and decluttering you need to let go and move on.
Second, The Do’s of Downsizing in your 60s:
1. DO dive into the process
Start thinking of downsizing and decluttering as an opportunity to start a whole new chapter
When you approach this process as an exciting adventure to start fresh, downsizing and decluttering can actually be fun!
When you start to visualize how much easier your life will be when you have less stuff, it will help you make quicker decisions so you can accomplish your goal more effectively and efficiently.
Plan first, and have a roadmap where you can see a beginning, middle, and end
When you have a vision, a plan, and a timeline for what you want your life to look like after decluttering and downsizing it will help you focus, stay on track, and help you stay motivated throughout the process.
2. DO find a decluttering method and a schedule that works for you
While there are numerous decluttering methods is well worth the time and effort to experiment and find the one or two that work best for you and your schedule.
You will likely gravitate to 1 or 2 once you find them, keep using those methods. You’ll be amazed at how much quicker you can progress.
Check out my new online course, 8 Proven Decluttering Methods.
3. DO be very selective about what you take with you
Remember, there’s only so much space and there’s nothing worse than overcrowding your new smaller space. It defeats the purpose of downsizing and decluttering and living a simpler life with less.
4. DO ask for help
There’s no sense in trying to be superman or superwoman.
The downsizing and decluttering process is a massive undertaking and while you might think you can do it all by yourself, why not enlist the help of your family and friends? Not only does it help you get done faster, but it will also make the process more manageable and fun!
These DON’TS AND DOS are strategies that are intended to help you get started and keep going… and most of all, to help you enjoy the journey!