Moving is an emotional experience at any age, but when you reach the age of wanting and needing to downsize , iot may be a little more emotional because we are getting rid of things permanently instead of just moving them to another location.  Choosing less space often has to do with a desire to live simpler, whether you're retiring or just want a low-maintenance lifestyle.  With the right emotional preparation, downsizing can become a positive experience.

  1.  Assess your actual needs.  We should go through each room in our house and make inventory of what we need to live well.            Some items we have because we just like to look at them or we plan on using them in the future and really don't need                  them to live well.  Think about how your lifestyle will differ once you relocate to an apartment, patio home, town home, etc.            If you haven't used an item in the past year, then you probably don't need it.  We all have good intentions of having those            dinner parties and family gatherings, with the place mats, linens and china.  If you are like me, the family has scattered                  and it is a rare time when everyone is at the table at the same time any more.  What about those presents you received                and have not used?  The books you have that you were planning to read one day or you thought you might read it again?            Magazines that you cannot part with? If you really have a hard time getting rid of some items, make an agreement with                  yourself, put them in storage and reassess your needs within 6 months.  If you still haven't needed it, get rid of it.  Usually,            children and grandchildren can help you by taking some of the items you no longer need or want.

2.  Go through each closet and shelf, removing all items.  Put back only those you couldn't live without.  That means if you use                an item every other day, it stays but the item, you don't use often, let go of it.  Now is the time to get rid of excess baggage.  

3.  Measure your furniture.  You will need to know how your furniture will  (or won't) fit into your new space- particularly large                 items such as your sofa and your bed-so measure everything.  Don't forget about the doors and windows when placing                your furniture on paper.

4.  Assess your new storage areas.  It's very easy to overestimate the amount of storage space.  While you're getting room                       measurements, make sure to properly assess the storage situation ytou'll be inheriting.  How many closets will you                       have?  Assessing exactly how much of the new space is dedicated to storage will give you an idea of the volume of                       items you need to dispose of before moving in.

5.  Go through your storage areas first (attics, closets, etc.) You will be surprised to find out what you've put away instead of                    gotten rid of.  If you're like most of us, you will find boxes of items that haven't seen the light of day for years and there's a              reason for this.  You don't need them.  How about all those boxes of Christmas ornaments?  How many of those                              decorations are you going to be able to use in your new place?  Don't hesitate, get rid of them.  Don't forget to go through            your bathroom cabinets, kitchen and junk drawers.  We have a tendency to accumulate unnecessary items in these                      places.  Get rid of empty  bottles, balls of twine, expired medicines and beauty products, plastic containers, such as                        Tupperware, margarine tubs, etc.  Call up your friends and relatives and see what they might need.

6.  Sell your stuff.  Far a large number of items, have a yard sale/sales, or if you need to get rid of them quickly, there are services that will  do it for you.  You can also donate items; Waterfront Mission, Teen Challenge, Ministry Village, etc.  There are people that can use what we don't need any longer.  If you are a computer person and have the time, Craig's list is another way to go.  E-bay is a good place to sell collectible items such as old albums, comic books, and figurines.

7.  Get organized before you move into your new place.  It's a good time to work out some storage solutions for your stored items.  This can be done as you pack for your move.  Those items you want to take with you and store can be put in decorative storage boxes, plastic see through storage containers are great because you can see what is in them.  Label each storage container by room.  Some people even list on the outside what is in the container.  This way you don't have to search for items.  But make sure your storage containers fit in the space you have for them.

8.  There are some items you definitely will not want to get rid of.  Family heirlooms can be shared with family or friends.  It can be such a wonderful experience that parents can have, being able to see their furniture or objects with family members  who have been treasuring them.  It can be a real bonding experience and positive experience for everyone involved.  Documents such as birth certificates, military documents, especially DD214, social security, any certificates of value and of course there are those photos.  That's my favorite.  Photos look wonderful in albums, so easy just to flip through and admire, but albums take up a lot of space and hold few photos.  I suggest obtaining photo boxes or even shoe boxes that are stackable.  They hold so many more photos than the albums.  This may be the time to go ahead and share some with the children and grandchildren.  If  you are a computer person, you can scan the photos to a CD and pop it in the computer when you are in the mood to view them.

9.  When you move the furniture into your new home, move the large items in first.  Then you will have a place to sit down and rest while continuing the task of moving and you will be better able to determine where the smaller items go.  Follow your plan and place your furniture accordingly.  That saves time, energy and in some cases, money.

10.  When you are in your new space, enact a rule to keep your stuff from accumulating:  Every time something comes in, something has to go.  The item you get rid of should be about the same size as the one you brought in.

ll.  If you find yourself in economic straits or health situations downsize as quickly as possible.  The longer you try to hang on to a lifestyle you can no longer support, financially or physically the deeper the pit you'll be digging.  Restructure as businesses do.

Relax and enjoy!  You have now entered the realm of living small.  You no longer have to worry about the financial burden or time draining tasks of maintaining a home and yard too big for your needs and you have simplified your life bny surrounding yourself with only those things that are most important to you.  Rejoice!