Downsizing brings you a lot of freedom. However, in their rush to throw out, donate and store items, many retirees get overwhelmed and end up getting rid of items they later wish they had held onto. Here are our downsizing tips for retirees that can help you make the most of your storage space and downsize without regret.
Start by Sorting
When you start downsizing, sort your items into four piles: to keep, to store, to donate and to throw away. Some items will be too large to place into a pile, like furniture. In this case, get out a roll of tape and label each item as you have decided where it belongs.
If you’re the kind of person who holds onto a lot of spare items, your biggest regret will probably be throwing something out that you end up missing. Try to place more things in the donate and storage piles.
If you’re the kind of person who is happy to throw things out, your biggest regret will probably be keeping too many things in your home. Be overzealous and try to place extra objects in the storage pile. You can always take them out of storage if you need them.
Then, make a plan to re-sort the items six months or a year from now. The items will have been out of your home long enough that you may feel differently about whether they should be stored, donated, placed back in your home, or even passed down right away.
Secure Jewelry and Large Heirlooms
If you wish to hold onto jewelry and large heirlooms until they are to be passed down, it’s best to keep these items in indoor, secure storage facilities, not temporary or portable storage containers. If you’re storing metals, fabrics, or anything that may be ruined by exposure to moisture or extreme temperatures, choose a climate-controlled unit.
Protect Sentimental Items
By sentimental items, we mean items that may be passed down to your family, but which you may want to look at in the meantime, such as photo albums, Christmas ornaments and old children’s toys and clothes. These items should be kept near the entrance to your unit so you can pull them out when you like.
Sort by Season in Your Storage Unit
Often, retirees will keep their seasonal items in their storage unit instead of in their home. This could include recreational equipment such as ski poles or seasonal decorations for their homes. You’ll need access to these items throughout the year, and you won’t want to be rummaging through boxes to find them.
To make it easier to find your seasonal items, organize your whole unit by seasons. For example, put spring on the far left, and move right for summer, fall and winter. That way you’ll have everything you need in one spot.