Purging and Downsizing

Dear Kathi,

We have acquired a lot of furniture over the years and need to get rid of a few pieces. In two years we will downsize into a retirement condominium. I would like to start getting rid of things now so that it won’t be such a large task when we actually do move. It’s so hard to decide what to keep and what to let go. I think my real question is, where to start?

Frieda, Oceanside


It is a great idea to begin your downsizing now. Two years will speed by, and before you know it, you will have to perform this task anyway. Take the time now, set a reasonable pace, and you will make better decisions. To decide which furniture pieces you need to keep, consider what rooms you will have in your new condo. Will you still have a formal dining room? Will your kitchen hold your current table and chairs?

How many bathrooms? Schedule the approximate move date on your calendar. Plan backward from the move date to today and note what needs to be organized. Set a completion date for each major task.

List each room and mark the sub-goals also on your calendar. For instance, Guest Bedroom: Aug 1-8 closet Aug 9-16 curios, Aug 17-24 cabinets and drawers. Take a mental inventory of what is in each room. Make a list of the items that you absolutely wish to keep. Start letting go of items that you know you won’t need in your new condo.

Place these items into boxes for donate or sell. If you are ‘on the fence’ about whether to keep or give away an item, consider boxing it for the time being. Store this box out of site with a note to yourself on the outside.

List the contents within this box and the date it was taken out of the limelight. A month before your move, revisit these boxes. Read the label and the content description. See if you can visualize the items in the box by reading your label. If you have forgotten what these items are, even after reading about them, this is a good indication that you should let them go. Do yourself a favor and do not open this box. Instead, load this box into your car and take it to your favorite charity.

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