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The Upside of Downsizing

My home is emptying. The kids are grown up and on their own now. Maintaining the family home is less of a priority. I'm refocusing my time and energy.
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My home is emptying. The kids are grown up and on their own now. Maintaining the family home is less of a priority. I'm refocusing my time and energy. To simplify life and transition into an ‘empty nester' I will downsize slowly and perhaps move in the future; that's my plan anyway. My parents had a vision for their retirement years too. They wanted to live in a ‘senior living' community with a bit of comfort and stay rooted in their neighborhood. They added their name to a few choice places. The family hoped they'd move sooner, rather than later. Unfortunately, when a suite was offered, they weren't quite ready to move. Their name returned to the waiting list.

Within months, Mom's health deteriorated; a move was imminent. Their selected ‘senior living' communities were unavailable. They resettled in a supported living apartment without the comforts they hoped to enjoy, uprooted from the familiarity of the library, doctor, hairdresser and church they cherished. Their new place didn't feel like home. What went wrong? They ran out of time so quickly! Their dreams and hopes for retirement vanished. Decisions had to be made quickly, there was little time to downsize, but to transition under pressure was worrisome and stressful. This is not an uncommon scenario. Life happens! I applaud my parents for planning ahead but want to stress the importance downsizing and transitioning while still one is healthy and capable. Moving forward is the key to making a successful transition. Would you consider: Downsizing household goods like linens, dishes, pots and pans? Downsizing clothes, shoes, boots, coats not being worn? Passing cherished things to family members now? Downsizing your storage or closets?

As an organizer I help clients to sort, declutter, downsize (recycle, donate, toss) and reorganize. For them, it's a commitment of time with numerous decisions to make. Done properly, the results are constructive and heartening. “I was storing boxes that were rarely opened. Bravely, I downsized my college and university materials. It wasn't easy but it was my choice. Now I have one small binder to treasure. My next move to be more compact. That's my goal.” Is downsizing in your plans? Is it on your ‘to do' list?

* Carol McRae is the Program/Education Coordinator and member of the Professional Organizers in Canada.