Rightsizing and Pairing Down

If you are making a transition to a smaller home  or you are helping a family or friend make a transition to a smaller home, one of the hardest things to do is decide what to keep or what to get rid of; especially if you or your friend/family member have been living in their home for many years.  Everything is important.  Everything has a memory.  Everything is precious.  Everything is needed.  But the reality is there is probably about 20% of belongings that are used and/or needed.

So how do you work through making those decisions on what to keep or what to give away or donate?  Well, one of the first things is to know where you are going to be moving to.  There is a reality to the size of space you will be moving into and there is only so much of your belongings that will fit.

Take the kitchen as an example.  Let’s say that you currently have a decent size kitchen that is chock full of kitchen items, appliances (small or large) and cooking gadgets.  You even have some of your items stored in your basement.  Your new home is in a community and has a much smaller kitchen.  Packing up your current kitchen and thinking it will fit in your new home will not be facing reality.   I do deal with this with some clients.  They have a hard time accepting that not all items will fit in their smaller space.

One of the first things I would do is sit down and make a list of what your intentions are in your new kitchen.  Did you like to cook a lot these past years?   But one of the reasons you are moving to a community is because you are tired of cooking.  Then you don’t need to take all your pots and pans and cooking utensils.  You only need what you truly intend on using.

Or if you were a big baker and have really no plans of continuing that, you then have no need to bring all your baking items.  Just because they hold precious memories doesn’t mean they need to come with you.  Memories are held in your mind not in your cabinets, closets or basements.  Sometimes when I am going through items with clients who are pairing down, they will find an item they haven’t seen in years.  But because they uncovered it and it brought them a fond memory, they somehow think they need to take it with them.  The reality does come once they get to their new home and the item doesn’t fit.  But it’s better to not even bring it then have to find a way to give it away or donate it once you get to your new home.

Think of what your intentions will be in each room of your new home and look over the space you are moving into.  Then only bring what you truly plan on using.  If you are unsure about a few items, you can bring a few extras knowing that when you actually make the move and unpack, some of those items may not fit and you’ll have to find a new home for them.

To help some of my clients with their memories of items, I will take pictures of those items and have them share the story, the meaning or the memory of those specific items.  Then I create a photo book for them.  This way the items can be given away, but the memory still holds.

It’s a hard process (for some) and for some it comes easy.  If you are working with a friend or family member who is having a hard time letting go, be gentle with them.  Give them the respect by showing them you understand their difficulty and gently work with them to show them the reality of the space they are moving to.

Know that once they make the move, they will be delighted with their smaller space.  I’ve been doing this for 8 years and have yet to have a client “rightsize” and be unhappy with their new space.  They might not have been thrilled with the transition initially.  But once they are settled in their new space, they are at peace.

It’s sometimes hard for family members to help each other.  If you are helping a family member and having difficulty, let’s chat.  Take advantage of my 30-minute free consult.  Perhaps you can glean some wisdom from me.  I’m here to help.

Your Health, Wellness & Organizational Coach … believing in you!



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