Downsizing Your Life

My friend is moving from her house into a retirement condo this month. The square footage is approximately one third of the size. The house, of course, is full because she has had twenty years to accumulate! I thought I would share some of the ways that we are preparing:


  1. Consulting - Talking with real estate agents, new residence staff and movers will provide you with nuggets of wisdom to save time and effort. My son who is coordinating the physical move told us not to remove shoes from boxes but instead to use packing tape to bind them together for easy carrying. In order to prevent damaging the boxes he advised that we do this with the sticky side out. Great tip!
  2. Recruiting - Don't ask people to help you move. Ask people to use their particular gifts to coordinator one area. If someone is good with computers, perhaps that person could set up social media sales. A friend who can organize can help you make a plan. The strong ones can lift!
  3. Need versus want - Rather than focusing on getting rid of things we are putting needs for the new residence first. She needs a bed, dresser, table and other basic furniture items as well as personal items. The idea is to think "This will serve my needs" rather than "I really like everything I have and think I should move it all and sort it later".
  4. Choice - It is easier to think about the best twenty outfits that she will take with her instead of trying to think about what to get rid of. We have decided to only move a limited number of the things that she has chosen in the first load so she can see how much room is left for second-choice items. Sticky notes placed on the first load items make it easier for the movers.
  5. Share - It is usually easier to let go of things if you know that they are going to someone who will really appreciate them. Extra turkeys in the deepfreeze bless the hungry. Coats help the homeless. Cookbooks go to the teens who are learning a new skill. A little creativity and a few phone calls match the gifts with the most thankful recipients. And the good news is that often the recipient will pick up the goods, so you don't have to deliver them.
  6. Treasure - You don't need to keep every single heirloom. Putting a few in shadow boxes for hanging or donating to museums can preserve their value and let others enjoy them as well.
  7. Sell - Social media allows potential buyers the opportunity to view photos and read descriptions within minutes of an upload. Garage sales can also be profitable and fun.
  8. Toss - The idea that some things just have to be recycled or thrown can be very overwhelming emotionally. Even just spending a few minutes scribbling with old pens though can eliminate unnecessarily moving boxes of things that aren't even functional. If you have broken items and think you will fix them after the move, think again.
  9. Buy - We have been online shopping for organizers and other items that will help with storage and promote convenience in the new home. Racks and bins will also allow us to group and house things easily.


When my children were young our family moved sixteen times in sixteen years. The first thing that I would do to prepare was to set up a three-ring binder with loose leaf paper. Each page was used to house information about what needed to be done. Headings included: "Things to Disconnect", "Things to Connect", "People to notify about address change", "Items to Donate", "Things to Sell", "Questions to ask". Important information such as contact names, telephone numbers, deadlines etc. were included in the proper place throughout. As we thought of new things, we would add them and as we completed them we would check them off.

We have set up a book for Jeanie and I keep reminding her that we have lots of help so she can just focus on her one page. It includes decision-making and personal tasks that only she can do. The other pages can be looked after by the individuals listed and this takes the pressure off her (somewhat). The book is invaluable!

Moving can be one of the most stressful and overwhelming things in life but if you invest more time in the planning than in just packing everything up and moving it, you will find that it is far less daunting.

And now I would like to invite you to claim your Free Instant Access to a complimentary list of 10 Steps to Making Your Life an Adventure when you visit

From Dr. Linda Hancock, Registered Psychologist and Registered Social Worker

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