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5 tips to downsize, de-clutter and de-complicate life

5 tips to downsize, de-clutter and de-complicate life

Yesterday, the folks here at Freedom Home Care put the aging loved ones in our lives in a downsizing frame of mind. We highlighted a Wall Street Journal editor who is gung ho for de-cluttering and de-complicating her life.

By freeing oneself of an oversized residence, elderly individuals can take back their free time and enjoy retirement all that much more. And while we admitted in our post that moving into a smaller space is easier said that done, we also promised that we would provide a few tips to make the transition a smooth one.

To carry out that pledge, we scoured the Internet for the best tips that we could find on how to make downsizing tolerable. And after a little sleuthing, we found the following advice on StyleAtHome.com. The editors there interviewed Sarah Moyse and Jennie Davidson, Toronto-based moving planners. We hope you find their tips helpful:

1. Write a list of all the items you love and can't live without; it will help you bid adieu to things that didn't make the list. “It's hard to persuade people they can't take everything with them,” Sarah says. “But by keeping what's on your wish list, you won't be upset about the things you can't keep.”

2. Start thinning out your belongings at least three months before t

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he move. Take some time each day, or one morning each week, to go through that jammed coat closet or overflowing filing cabinet. “Paper is the real killer,” Jennie says, so tackle it one box at a time. The same goes for photos, which require a lot of attention.

3. Get a feel for the size of your new rooms by comparing them to rooms of similar dimensions in your present home. For instance, your living-room-to-be might be roughly the same size as your current bedroom. You may think you can squeeze in two sofas, but this kind of reality check could help you realize that only one will fit comfortably.

4. Heavily edit areas with items that don't have as much sentimental value. Take the kitchen, for example; most people don't need 10 mixing bowls and won't get teary-eyed over losing a second spatula. If you're downsizing from a house to a condo, target the garage. Snow shovels, the lawn mower, ladders – you won't need any of them.

5. Don't throw anything in the garbage. Recycle, reuse, sell and donate instead. As tempting and easy as it is to pitch wire hangers, musty clothes and shabby furnishings, be environmentally responsible and find a home for everything. A can of Comet with a few shakes of powder left could make someone else's sink sparkle if you don't want it; consider giving supplies to a shelter, neighbour or cleaning lady.

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