Skip to main content

Looking for a Gift Certificate?

Buy Online

Why Starting to Declutter for Downsizing Makes Sense – Even in Your 50s or 60s

October 26, 2023
brown cardboard boxes on brown wooden table

Now, I'm not trying to rush anyone into anything; however, it takes a lifetime to accumulate a lifetime of belongings, and it's going to take (what feels like a lifetime) to start paring them down to move on to the next phase of life.

Kids moved out? Is their stuff still in your house? Believe me, you're not the only one!

No longer skiing or kayaking or camping or [any other variety of hobbies], but still have the equipment in your garage?

Life ebbs and flows and while it can be uncomfortable to think about the future for many, I'd like you to try and focus on the positives that this new phase (with less physical things) can bring.

The Gift of Time: As we downsize and declutter, we gain time – time to pursue hobbies, travel, and enjoy the company of loved ones.

We can all agree that time is a gift. What we don't often stop to think about is how our physical belongings take up our time and energy. The more we have in our homes, the more we have to maintain, dust, repair, keep track of, spend time organizing... the list goes on. As we downsize our homes and physical belongings, we are subconsciously awarding ourselves more time to have experiences and spend with loved ones

Pass It On: Items that no longer serve you may be treasures to someone else. Consider donating, selling, or passing them on to others who can benefit.

What good is that bike doing in your garage that you no longer ride? It could be donated to Wheels for Workers 716 (for example), which refurbishes bikes and gives them to people who rely on bike transportation to work.

If it feels overwhelming to think about paring down your life's collection of things, focus on what the 100% non-negotiable items are in your life that you definitely want to take with you in the next phase. Focus on your favorites, the ones you can't part with, then gently let go of those with lesser meaning.

Prioritize Memories: Cherish memories and experiences over material possessions. Photographs, stories, and shared moments hold more significance than stuff.

We cleaned out my Grandma and Grandpa's home well after they had both passed. They were collectors, as many of that generation are. Deciding what to do with all of their belongings was hard, but what was harder for me is that they weren't there to tell the stories. What was the story behind the antique egg-weigher I found? Did my Grandma just buy it at a garage sale? Or did they have chickens and sold their eggs? No one in the family knew, so as much as this item was interesting to me as an antique, I craved more. Stuff without the stories is just stuff.

If we want our families to appreciate some of the items we've collected, we have to tell them why they're important. If you have the gift of time, I urge you to start paring down now. While everyone's still here. While you can still share the stories and memories behind the items. Giving your kids a storage unit full of stuff is not a gift; giving them stories and memories and knowledge through those items is.

Savor the Present: Live in the present moment. The more we let go of the past and cease worrying about the future, the more we can appreciate the beauty of now.

Reminiscing is good. Sharing memories and life lessons is good. Living in the past or feeling completely shackled by belongings from the past - so much that you couldn't even entertain scaling down to a smaller space - is not good.

Be honest: Where are you in your life right now? Today? What are your hobbies? Your needs? Do you still entertain a lot? Do you decorate as extensively for every holiday as you once did? Asking yourself open ended and honest questions about what life looks like today will help you. Taking it one step further to look at the future and prepare yourself is even better.

Clock on Dresser

In closing, no one ever regretted getting things done early. No one ever packed for a vacation the weekend before and wished they left it until the last minute. Instead of thinking of decluttering to downsize as a 1 weekend project, think of it as a gradual shift - which can be in process for years - so that one day, when that day comes, you are prepared and not overwhelmed.

Need help? We offer monthly or bi-monthly sessions to help people gradually work to edit and organize their homes. Call Amy today to learn more: (716) 218-0138