Downsize, Simplify, and Organize Yourself

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Downsizing and organizing in life can be a BIG task! We all have items and things we love, that have sentimental value, or we just believe we need. Whether you are moving to a smaller home, helping an elder move to an assisted living facility, or simplifying your life, downsizing is the key. There are people who can help you.  You may wish to use the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) to locate a reputable professional in your area. Ultimately, however, the decision of what to keep and what stays is yours.

Planning Where Should It All Go?

Before you start think about where you want the items you choose to part with to go. There are several charities such as Goodwill, ARC, or the Salvation Army, as well as local churches and thrift stores who benefit from gently used clothing, furniture and electronics. Many of these charities even offer a tax deduction for donations.  Consignment stores, Craigslist, and the classifieds are good sources if you are hoping to regain a portion of your original investment.

Ask Yourself, Do I Use This?

Begin going though each room in your house. If you have time, you might take one room a week. As you go through each room, have packing box(s), tape, a marker and packing material ready.  Ask yourself, “Do I use this item? Do I need it, love it, or will someone else love it more?” Diane Schmidt has a great list of questions you can ask yourself in her About.com article on moving. As you go through each room, find the items you can get rid of, package them carefully and label the box destined for charity or consignment.

Organize!

Another step in simplifying your home is to box, (the contents clearly labeled and dated) the items you want to keep that you are not using. Paper files are a prime example. If paperwork is gathered, labeled and boxed together in an organized fashion, it takes up half the space and creates a calmer and safer environment.

The Emotional Aspects

It is hard to dispose of things we have formed an emotional attachment to. It is even more difficult when you are trying to help someone else do it. The process can be both frustrating and traumatic. A friend of mine spent some time helping her best friend (a self-described hoarder) clean up her house. This process took several months and during that time there were arguments over what needed to be kept and why. My friend later told me she had to learn that what didn’t seem important or necessary to her was indeed very important to the friend she was trying to help. In the end they cleaned the house.  They donated the things her friend could finally let go of and stored the things she needed to keep but was not using on a daily basis.  Remember, downsizing and simplifying is not an easy process. It is hard on you, and if you are helping a friend or relative, it is likely difficult for them them. We tend to get attached to things that we associate memories with. Be patient and understand that sometimes, even though logically you know it should go, if your heart says it stays then that is okay too. How do you manage all the “stuff”?    Downsizing and organizing in life can be a BIG task! We all have items and things we love, that have sentimental value, or we just believe we need. Whether you are moving to a smaller home, helping an elder move to an assisted living facility, or simplifying your life, downsizing is the key. There are people who can help you.  You may wish to use the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) to locate a reputable professional in your area. Ultimately, however, the decision of what to keep and what stays is yours.

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