As Bob Dylan so aptly said, “The times they are a-changin'!” And let’s face it, if you are more than peripherally familiar with the man and his music, the times may have already changed for you! The kids are gone, or soon will be. Dinner table discussions that once focused on soccer practice are now all about rightsizing your life and embracing this new chapter.
So, what does it really mean to rightsize your life? It literally means leaving a house that has outlived its purpose and relocating to a living space that is the right size and style for your current life needs. Simply put: When your house just feels wrong, it’s time to right-size.
Rightsizing vs Downsizing
To be clear, rightsizing doesn’t always include downsizing. Downsizing involves moving to a smaller space and there are times in one’s life that call for a larger home. However, when it comes to active adulthood, it’s impossible to separate the two. At this stage of life, downsizing is critical to rightsizing. You want a comfortable, manageable space that provides easy, stress-free living. Rightsizing into your downsized space means an enhanced lifestyle, filled with opportunities and freedom from home ownership headaches.
How to Downsize Your Home
As you contemplate downsizing from your house of many years to an apartment home, and moving to a community that is geared specifically for the you of today and tomorrow, the first hurdle is going head to head with decades worth of stuff. You know, the flotsam and jetsam that is no longer relevant to your life but continues to be unnecessary, stressful baggage.
Whether you already have one foot out the door or are still pondering your immediate future, rightsizing means some of your stuff has got to go. Your extraneous possessions are not going to enhance your future.
Sifting through the accumulation of a lifetime is no easy task, unless of course, you are completely organized and live in a totally pristine and clutter-free environment. Of course.
Helpful Tips for Downsizing from House to Apartment Home
Once you’ve committed to the project, start small with one drawer, or one pile or one cabinet. Make this task a part of your regular weekly or even monthly routine. You’ve got to start somewhere. You’ll be surprised how satisfying that first clean drawer feels.
Set the Timer
Set aside an hour. Set the timer and give yourself permission to quit when the hour is up. If that’s too much, try smaller increments of time more often. Maybe 10 minutes a few days a week will work. Don’t make yourself crazy. There is no clutter police to dictate strategy. It’s up to you to determine the best way to accomplish this task.
Yes. No. Maybe?
To keep, or not to keep. That is the question. Everything you sort through will either remain part of your life, be tossed away or be sold or given away. The tricky items are the ones that land in the dreaded maybe pile. Those will turn up again, so it might be best to decide yes or no now and save additional angst on the second pass? Maybe a quick tour around to create a preliminary list of must-haves will speed up the process.
A Little Help
If you find you are spinning your wheels, help is but a phone call away. The member directory of the National Association of Professional Organizers is filled with pros who can help you wade through the piles. Depending on the scope of the job, you may prefer a certified relocation and transition specialist. As you interview candidates you will get a sense of what your project entails. Some professionals charge an hourly fee. Others charge per project. Keep in mind you will be working closely with this person and going through the intimate details of your past and present so be selective to find someone you feel comfortable with.
As you prepare for this mission, remember you’ll be basically taking an arduous hike down good—and bad—memory lane. Decluttering can be an emotional journey, but also cathartic and freeing.
Explore more about rightsizing firsthand from our guest author, Dan Carlson, as he takes us through his journey of rightsizing and finding happiness at Overture Ridgmar. Check out the first of the four-part "Home Sweet Apartment" blog series here, and use our downsizing home checklist when you are ready to get started.