But don’t get carried away! There is such a thing as too much purging. If you are currently downsizing to a smaller home, don’t make the mistake of getting rid of things that you will either need or want later. While there are proven neurological advantages to decluttering, you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Experts advise to take it slow. You are less apt to throw away something important if you do your purging in chunks, and not in a 24- hour marathon before the moving van arrives. Here are just a few items that are considered “keepers” by the downsizing experts:
1. Important Papers
We all know how much paper accumulates over time. Our personal filing cabinets likely weigh hundreds of pounds. But before the shredding truck shows up at your door, take the time to go through your files and make a folder labeled “to keep.”
This folder should include birth and death certificates, passports, marriage licenses, divorce papers, social insurance cards, pension plan documents, medical records, insurance policies, wills, trusts, power of attorney documents, property deeds, mortgage documents, vehicle titles, investment records, diplomas, and education records.
2. Family Heirlooms
There are two factors to consider here. The first: which of these antiques mean something to you or another member of your family? Did one of your kids express an interest in your great grandmother’s ring? If so, you might want to put that item aside.
The second consideration isn’t as sentimental. It’s about money. You might consider having someone appraise some of these old family items before you sell them or give them away. There might be a small, unexpected windfall with your name on it!
3. Sentimental Items
Whether it’s a lock of hair from your child’s first haircut, a letter from an old love, or your mother’s handwritten recipes, there are certain things we hold onto for a lifetime. Don’t be excessively logical and lose your heart in your purge. If you’re worried about an untimely death and your children having to go through your stuff, remind yourself that there are likely things they would enjoy seeing.
4. Basic Kitchen Supplies
There can be a lot of excess in a kitchen. Although you may be tempted to dump and run, a little sorting and organizing will go a long way. While you definitely don’t need three blenders, 15 paring knives, and four rolling pins in your new smaller digs, you will still need basic kitchen equipment.
Choose your highest quality pots, pans, knives, and blending equipment. Pick your favourite stirring utensils and cutting boards. And don’t forget your best coffee mug and your warmest tea cozy.
Apply the same rules to tools as with the kitchen above. No one needs 15 wrenches or a dozen hammers, but we all need tool staples. Make sure you keep enough in your toolbox to ensure you can hang a picture or build some shelving in your new abode.
Purging and simplifying doesn’t mean that your new environment be stark, empty, or ugly. Keep the pieces of art that speak to you. And if you don’t end up having room for all of them, you can always enjoy them over dinner at a lucky friend or relative’s.
7. Emergency Supplies
Extra flashlights, an old battery-operated radio, and first aid supplies can all come in handy during the next hurricane or ice storm. While you’re sorting and sifting, simply pop these items along with some candles and matches into a duffel bag labelled “in case of emergency” and you’re all set!
Going through your possessions with the aim to purge can free up a lot of energy. Just make sure you don’t “free” anything you might regret. Good luck with your downsizing!
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