August 3, 2010

Decluttering and Downsizing – What’s the Difference?

I was working with a few different clients this past week when I had one of those “AHA” moments.

In one case I was moving a senior to a Retirement Residence from the 2 bedroom apartment she had lived in for the past six years. She moved there sometime after her husband passed away, and no longer wanted or needed the big house. Her apartment was spacious and the furnishings were well laid out. Of course not everything was going to fit into her new, smaller one bedroom suite. So we set about identifying and eliminating things she wouldn’t need any more, and things she had no strong feelings about keeping. That was downsizing. It was an organized process. It wasn’t easy. But we took it slowly and over a few days she kept adding items to the reject pile. And we even did a little more after she moved into her new home as it was somewhat more crowded than she liked.

In another case we are clearing a home to sell it. Staging it. We found a 30 by 12 foot room in the basement that you could barely walk into at the beginning.  It was full of things that had been replaced by the homeowner at some point in the past. There were boxes and boxes of glasses and dishes…some wrapped in newspapers dated 1994. There were beautiful comforters and quilts, now useless because the dampness of the basement (and a few mouse holes) had ruined them. That was decluttering. It was an ugly process, and it was sad that so many things had been sitting there for some many years when they could have been used by someone in need.

You don’t have to be moving to downsize.  You can downsize (or rightsize) as you go through life.  Downsizing is a much easier process, and done regularly you can avoid going through an ugly decluttering procedure!

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