As baby boomers approach retirement, they are faced with having to decide whether or not to downsize. Living in a large home and having to care for the yard, maintenance and cleaning can be overwhelming at times. When looking at options, boomers can find a couple of choices to consider. They could move into an apartment or condo or into a retirement village. Both of these options will give boomers the freedom to enjoy life after retirement without having to stress over the maintenance of a home.
Before boomers can even begin to move, they have to clear out things or de-clutter. This can be a difficult chore for some. Boomers, for the most part, were close to their children as they grew up and had habits of keeping bins full of paper, art projects, report cards and much more from their children’s school years. They were also known as “pack rats”, keeping every and anything they thought they might need later. Garages were not used to park cars, but used for storage of all these items.
To help prepare for downsizing here are some tips to de-clutter your home.
Tip #1 – Start Small and Slow. Start with a room that is not used often. This could be a second bedroom. By starting small you can get your feet wet and get a system set up on how to de-clutter, then work your way up to the larger rooms.
Tip #2 – Remove Unneeded Furniture. With each room you do, look at the furniture in that room and decide what you absolutely must have and get rid of the rest. Ask your children if they want it, if not, hold a garage sale when you are all done or donate the furniture to charity.
Tip #3 – Give the Children Their Stuff. If you still have things that belong to your children, give it to them. If they don’t want it, get rid of it.
Tip #4 – Donate Old Books & Magazines. If you have shelves full of books or magazines that you may never read again, donate them to a senior center, nursing home or library. All of these places are always looking for books.
Tip #5 – Closets. Go through your closets and get rid of clothes that either don’t fit anymore or you haven’t worn in at least a year. If you haven’t worn it in a year there is a good possibility you will never wear it again. Donate clothes to nursing homes or charity.
Tip #6 – Ask Children What They Would Like to Have. In looking over your collectibles, ask your children what they would like to have and give it to them. Remember, your new place may not have the room for all your collectibles. If you don’t have the room in your new place, they will just end up in a box and no one will enjoy. At least this way you can still enjoy them through your children.
Tip #7 – Pictures. Divide the pictures among your children. Make sure they are marked on the back who they are and when the picture was taken. Later on in life you may not be able to remember all that information and the pictures could be meaningless to your children if they don’t know who is in the photo. Keep plenty for your albums, but give duplicates and their baby pictures to your children. This will enable them to build their own albums of their childhood.
Tip #8 – Let Go of Sentimental Items. If you are still hanging onto your children’s first clothes, bins full of school papers, art projects, report cards, etc., it’s time to get rid of them. Select a couple important things and get rid of the rest.
Tip #9 – Kitchenware. Go through your kitchen and get rid of extra pots, pans, silverware, small appliances, bowls, etc you are no longer using.
Tip #10 – Storage/Garage. Look at tools, mowers, power tools or whatever else is stored in your garage and get rid of what you don’t need. If you move into a condo or retirement village, chances are they provide all the yard maintenance.
By doing all of these steps to de-clutter your home now, you will be able to move into a smaller home with no problem. The process of de-cluttering can be stressful so take it slow and give yourself plenty of time to complete before your move. You will find, though, once you are done, you will feel much better that both you and your children can enjoy your treasurers.