A three step process to create a game plan for low-stress downsizing.
The game plan is your master list of what has to be done in the downsizing phase. It's not a concrete document, it changes over time.
Step One: Assess what needs to be done. The first step is to go through your house as if it's the first time you ever looked at it. Try and see your house with fresh eyes. Go into each room and make a long list of everything that needs to be done in that space. You might notice projects that need to be dealt with, or things that need to be let go. Add as much detail as you can. It’s ok if the list is very long!
(For some people a list is just fine. Others like to also put stickies on certain pieces of furniture that they might want to donate or on objects that they might want to give to a family member. You will discover what works best for you.)
Step two: Get support
Once you have this long list, take a careful look at it and ask: What parts of these projects do you want to do yourself? Who can you call in to help? Do you need a professional? Do you have a friend who would like to help? Do you have family members who you'd like to include?
This is a great time to invite family members and friends into the process- not only as a way to get support, but also to build connections. As you begin to downsize, you’ll find yourself telling stories about your items, and your loved ones learn something about you that they might have never known.
Step three: Create a Timeline
Consider a realistic timeline for downsizing. Ideally, you have at least a year, so that there is no rush.
You know yourself best. How do you want to break down the list so that downsizing is as rewarding and meaningful as possible?
Do you want to have a bedroom completely finished by a certain date?
Or are you the type of person who is motivated by seeing smaller projects on the calendar, like a completed drawer or closet?
Which area do you want to begin with…what next?
Start small, trust your natural rhythm and get the support you need so that it is not overwhelming.
Finally, remember this.
Your game plan will change. It's not a fixed commitment. You're going to cross things off. You're going to figure out your natural downsizing rhythm and you’ll find the support you need. Some things might take longer than expected and other things on the list might go very quickly. But having a flexible plan allows you and your support team to have a sense of the victory to come vs. a dreadfully long to-do list.