smaller houseThe decision to downsize can be the most practical choice for your retirement years. A smaller home is easier to maintain and uses less energy that lowers your monthly expenses. However, you may be wondering how to tackle that enormous amount of “stuff” you have accumulated over the years. Here are a few points on whittling down your possession as you change your life for retirement:

Purge Your Wardrobe

Downsizing is the perfect time to get rid of all that clothing you bought but never seem to wear. In addition, you may be able to part with clothing for work that you may not require any more. Look carefully at the things you had in your closet for years, such as shoes that are out of date, evening clothing that may seem out of fashion and items you’ve kept hoping to get back to that size. A charity or second hand store will be happy to take many useable clothing items off your hands, and you will be helping the organization helps others, at the same time.


If you are changing to a condominium or rental apartment, you may not need outdoor furniture. Beds, sofas and armchairs may not fit the proportions of your new home, so consider donating them to charitable organizations. These groups will often pick up furniture items, free of charge. Consider whether you have space for decorative tables, bookshelves and benches. You can get a better idea of the size of the rooms in currently available properties at

Kitchen Items

You can usually pare down the number of pots, pans, bowls, dishes and appliances in your kitchen. If you have not used an appliance in the past two months, you probably don’t’ need it at all. It can be donated to a resale charity or give to other family members.

Eliminate Items in Self-Storage Units

Many people store their excess personal items to self-storage units to free up room in closets, basements and garages. It’s time to look at what you’ve put into storage with the goal of eliminating what you aren’t likely to need in the future. If you are storing items for your adult children, send out the message that you will be disposing of whatever you have and they should pick these items up immediately or lose them. It may be that your children have long since forgotten the items and no longer need them.

Memorabilia From Your Children

Those handmade cards, arts-and-crafts projects and baby teeth are profoundly meaningful to you, but there may not be room for them in your new, smaller living arrangement. Choose one or two pieces that are particularly memorable, and let the rest go. Some people choose to take photos of these items to store digitally to keep them available for reminiscing and for special family events.

Books and DVDs

Many people are accustomed to have a large number of books in their possession to allow them to have them at hand whenever they have the inclination. However, with digital books, you can almost always have your favourite books ready to read whenever you need them. Consider donating your old-style books to a charity that resells them. You should treat your DVD collection the same way. Streaming video is now the norm and allows to see your favourite movies whenever you like. Donate or toss the DVDs so that you can maximize space in your smaller residence.

Important Documents

The files of important documents from years past can be a significant amount of paperwork. Go through this unwieldy burden of paper and determine if you are keeping records beyond the period of time they will be needed. Rent or purchase a shredder and destroy unneeded documents. Re-file and store the remaining papers in a compact cabinet for future reference.

Home Decorations

Sort through paintings, prints, wall hangings and other items that you currently have in your home. Pare down your holiday decorations to the bare minimum, and toss the rest. Items you have saved for special occasions can be donated to other family members or friends. Anything else can be thrown away. Keep only the minimum items needed for Christmas tree decorating.

Family Photos

Sorting and choosing family photographs is often the hardest task. Fortunately, computers allow you to scan and store large numbers of photos in a compact unit or even store them away on the Internet. Choose a number of pictures that you would like to have on hand and store the rest digitally. You can always switch them out with other photos you print out later.

Sean Ryan works in removals and sees plenty of downsizing plans put into action. He likes to share his tips and ideas for making moving as easy as possible and writes regularly for a variety of lifestyle websites.


Downsizing Decisions: Things to Toss That You Won’t Miss was last modified: by

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