Downsizing 101: The Basics of Downsizing

toronto downsizing seniors

After discussing with your siblings, you have finally decided that it is time to look for a new home for your aging parents. It has been a few years since you and your siblings have moved out of your parents’ house and it would be an appropriate time for your parents to downsize and move into a smaller space.

As you prepare to move, you will find out much stuff you have piled up and how much of it you have actually hardly or even never used before. Take this chance to get rid of things. It is not about the things you love, but making everything work for you.

Four P’s of Downsizing

Pass along
A lot of people find it easier to pass things along to someone who can make better use of it rather than just disposing of it. When you know your books, collections, or favourite slow cooker will have another life, valued and appreciated by someone else, it makes it much easier to let go of it. Books can be dropped at local libraries and clothing can be donated to an organization like Canadian Diabetes Association Clothesline. Click here to find out more about Furniture Bank and our furniture donation pick up services.

Pitch and recycle
Some items need to be thrown out. Things you really have no use for like out-dated phones, books, magazines and anything that cannot be repaired. Think environmentally-friendly, recycle papers, magazines and junk mail. Identify items that need to be disposed of properly, like paint tins, aerosol cans, dead batteries, electronics, etc., to organizations that dispose properly of these items.

These items will be things you do not want to part with, the “non-negotiable”. They may be things you do not have use for right now, but they have use or purpose and you want to keep them.

Items that fall in this category are things that you would use if they were repaired to good condition. Electronics that do not work, clothes that are missing buttons, and chairs with wobbly legs could be put to good use if they were repaired.


Now that we have the basics of downsizing laid out, what will you need to do implement them?

Out with the garage
Throwing out obvious garbage helps set the stage for the rest of the downsizing process. Your trash may be someone else’s treasure. Every home has a collection of boxes of bags and bags of boxes, empty bottles, foil pie plates, chipped mugs, odd socks, paperback books, fast-food flyers, broken appliances, you name it. Now is the time to get rid of them. Try to recycle if possible.

Purge clothes closets
Why is it difficult to throw out clothes, shoes and accessories? Sort these into four piles: Pitch Pack, Path and Pass along. You should donate the excess clothing to a charity of your choice or take it to a local consignment shop.

Clear kitchen clutter
The kitchen is used on a daily basis so it is often the last room in the house to be packed. It is also the room that contains a lot of stuff. Limit the amount of pots, pans and cooking utensils and take only those that you actually use. It is also good to go through your spice rack and remove any spices that you do not use anymore before you more.

Return borrowed items
You may have borrowed something from a neighbour or a friend and forgot to return it. These items often take up space in your house. Return these items to the rightful owner as soon as they surface and clear more space for your own stuff in the moving truck.

Pack decorative items
What things will make your new place feel like home? Pack up your favourite paintings, framed photos, cherished souvenirs and gifts from family and friends and label the boxes so you will know where to find these items.

Sorting your Possessions
When deciding what furniture and keepsakes to take to your new home, it may be a hard decision. How do you sort through the years of treasures and memories that accompany them?

Don’t save things for “good”. Put yourself first and put practicality aside. Maybe you find unused items in their original boxes, hiding in drawers, closets and basements. There is no better time than now to put them to use or find a new home for them. Remember: “Use it, or lose it.”  Re-gift, donate or sell these items to increase storage space for new items you will need in your new home.

Check before you give things away
Always check before you give things away. Who knows, you may have stashed some money or important papers in them and forgot about them. Pockets, books, purses, books and boxes are places to check before donating or giving items away.

Identify all photographs
Photos without important information like names, dates, locations and relationships do not have meaning for your family. The backs of the photos provide a great spot for recording important information so set aside some time and carry out this task. Another way to ensure that you will not lose memory of the photos is to scan them and save them as picture files on your computer or separate hard drive.

Treasure the memories
Family heirlooms do not always carry monetary value. They may have “heart value” and are connected with family traditions, like the special serving plate that is always used for meals on special occasions or the rocking chair from a great grandparent. Write stories of these memorable items to conserve family history and allow future generations to enjoy.

A picture is worth a thousand words
When you are moving, there may be certain displays that you want to duplicate when you move into your new home. Perhaps you like the current display of how your tea cups are placed in your china cabinet or how your furniture setting or artwork arrangement or even your child’s stuffed animals. Easiest way to ensure that you can replicate it in your new home is to take a picture before you pack them. This way you can use the photos as a reference.

Going through this list of how to utilize the four P’s to downsizing should help you with sorting through all the memories you have.

In the process of downsizing? Need to get rid of some of your stuff? Consider hiring our team to remove your extra furniture and housewares. Click here to enquire about a pickup.

SOURCE: Downsizing Diva

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