Reducing the stress of downsizing

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Reducing the stress of downsizing

 
May 17, 2011
 
For many homeowners whose children have grown up and moved away, it may be a good idea to buy a smaller home with fewer maintenance needs.
 
But the process of downsizing may sometimes be very stressful, since it can be easy for homeowners to become attached to a home and other possessions they may not have room for in their new place. However, there are a number of strategies to reduce that burden.
 
Start early in the process
 
One of the most important steps downsizing homeowners can take is to allow plenty of time for the move. It's generally not necessary to wait until they have closed on a new home to start packing.
 
Many people, according to the Wall Street Journal, become overwhelmed by waiting too long, and end up just throwing everything into boxes haphazardly. Allowing three to six weeks for packing before the current home goes on the market should be enough time to get everything sorted out.
 
Decide on large items first
 
To make homeowners feel better as they go about the packing and sorting process, it may be helpful to start by thinking about larger items, such as furniture. That way, as they move through the house, it will feel like they are making quicker progress.
 
By making decisions on those items first, people can also determine whether they need to buy any furniture for their new residence.
 
Move in circles
 
The Wall Street Journal also says it can be helpful for homeowners to move in concentric circles as they work to cut down on their possessions. In general, many objects which have emotional value are found near the center of the home, such as in the family room or kitchen, so it might be best to pack these items first.
 
After that, starting in the farthest reaches of the house should reveal items which aren't used as frequently, and which may no longer be as emotionally important as they once were. By moving in smaller circles throughout the house, homeowners can see what they may not actually need.
 
Involve others
 
It's also important for one member of the household not to attempt to take on the entire project themselves, the Wall Street Journal says. Not only is it a very large task for one person to do, one family member may not know how each of them feels about each particular item. What appears to be junk to one person may actually hold a great deal of sentimental value to another person.