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Four Helpful Hints to Make Downsizing as Painless as Possible

shutterstock_154243622You’ve thought it over for months and you just made your final decision: it’s time to downsize. If you are moving into a smaller home, chance are good that with downsizing will come lots of sorting, donating and tossing of at least some of your things. The following tips can help to make the entire process as easy and stress-free as possible:

Start now — not next week

Although moving day might be weeks or even months away, don’t get lulled into thinking you have tons of time to get ready. As U.S. News and World Report notes, waiting until the last minute to downsize can be disastrous for a variety of reasons. In addition to simply running out of time to get everything done, you might end up frantically tossing some belongings you still want, or find later on that you accidentally threw away a box filled with important paperwork.

Take it slowly

Downsizing to a smaller place can be an emotionally overwhelming time for many people. It can also be physically taxing, especially if you are carrying heavy items out to the curb to be donated, or lugging full boxes of winter clothes to the local Goodwill store. To avoid over-doing it, tackle your downsizing project one room at a time for just a couple of hours at a stretch. If a room is particularly full, you can even go closet by closet, or drawer by drawer. By breaking the task down into smaller, more manageable chunks, you’ll find the downsizing process will be less stressful.

Take inventory

A key to downsizing as efficiently and effectively as possible is to take a thorough inventory of your belongings, Lifehacker notes. Then once you have a good idea of what you own, ask yourself what you would grab first in the event of a fire or flood, or which items would you want to replace immediately if everything was lost in a disaster? This will help you to really focus on what is important to you and what you could easily live without. Then, as you start the downsizing process, start a new inventory of the items that you are taking with you — this will help you to keep all of your belongings organized and ensure you are not forgetting something important during the hectic and busy moving day. To make this process as easy as possible, QuoteWizard suggests taking a lot of photos of your things or walking through the house with a video camera; this can help you keep track of what things are going to your new place as well as give you an accurate inventory of what you own.

Make three categories, and start sorting

As you go through each room, divide your things into three categories: Things I Have to Keep, Things I Can Live Without, and Things I Could Replace. Then assign each and every item to one of these lists. As you work on the downsizing process, you can either create three piles based on these categories, or use color-coded post-its — for example, put yellow post-its it on the kitchen table and computer that are going with you, and green ones on your china cabinet and armoire that you are donating. Your “Things I Could Replace” category should include the items that you could possibly sell and replace with a smaller version, like maybe a dining room table or massive entertainment unit.

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