As we meander through life we accumulate numerous possessions, sometimes heaps of them!
These personal effects could be household items that simply never got thrown out, the result of years of avid collecting or they could be the precious reminders of a lifetime’s worth of living, loving and belonging, with some items holding enormous sentimental value.
In many cases, having a home chock full of possessions can become problematic; particularly if you find yourself in a position whereby you need to rethink your living space to accommodate a life change. You may need to dispose of, or re-home some items in order to continue to manage living independently or you could even find that too much clutter is becoming a danger, particularly if you become impaired visually or physically. One way or another you may reach a point when you have to decide which items you are able to distance yourself from emotionally and which ones you keep in order to keep your living space clutter free, manageable and, more importantly, safe.
Rather than using the rather negative term of ‘downsizing’, which implies you are shrinking back your life, why not positively embrace the idea of ditching the surplus and ‘resize’ your possessions to adapt to a new period in your life…
Here are a few tips to assist you in resizing your home:
- Have a clear plan in mind before you start. You will probably find it far easier to deal with one room at a time.
- Starting at the top and working downwards works well for most people rather than choosing random areas to clear.
- Accept any help offered, particularly if larger items are involved. Bear in mind that you may find some areas more daunting (such as an attic space). You are likely to need more help for these spaces.
- You may find you become emotional over some very random things. Support from loved ones will help you to retain your sense of purpose.
Where to re-home or dispose of your possessions:
- Items which have sentimental value can be either kept or gifted to your loved ones. Remember it is your choice which particular things you decide to keep and which ones you wish to part with. Never feel pressured into making decisions you may regret later.
- Any possessions which you think may be valuable can be assessed and valued by experts. You have the option to sell these items and use the money yourself or pass them on to your family as heirlooms for future generations. If you do decide to sell there are many online resources, including auctions, which can help you connect with possible collectors.
- Large items of furniture can be sold or offered to friends and family but try not to be too offended by refusals. Everyone has differing tastes and styles! There are also many charities which collect furniture to be passed on to less fortunate families.
- Charity shops are a good place to take books, DVDs, china, kitchen goods and electrical items. They also have the right to refuse goods that they know they will not be able to sell on.
- You could consider a garage sale if you feel you have enough quality goods. However, do bear in mind that you will have to have space to store the items until you have finished your resizing.
- Good quality clothing is also welcome at most charity shops but well-worn items should be taken to a clothing bank where they can be recycled.
- Bedding such as blankets, old duvets and pillows etc. are often gratefully received by animal charities.
- Old sports goods may well be of use to youth projects or centres.
- Old spectacles and hearing devices can often be taken into a local optician. They can often be repaired and sent overseas to help those in less developed countries.
- Medicines and pills which are out of date or no longer required should always be taken back to a pharmacy or GP surgery where they will be disposed of safely.
- Anything unusable or broken can be taken to a local recycling centre. There is usually a collection point near every town and city. Metals, glass, wood, ceramics, plastics, cardboard and white goods, etc. are all acceptable.
Having a really positive approach to resizing is definitely the best way forward. It is perfectly fine to feel sad when you say goodbye to items which have served you well at some point in life but it can also be thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable to find new homes for useful things. Each item that you have treasured can be enjoyed by a new recipient and your possessions can continue to serve a purpose – what could be more uplifting and energising than that?