Beginning the Sorting and Paring Down Process Early Can Help Reduce Stress.

For most people, sorting through and paring down their possessions prior to a downsizing move ranks very high on the difficulty and time consuming chart. And most generally, the longer a person has lived in their home, the more stuff they have accumulated. More stuff means more sorting and decision-making in order to complete the task. It's not an easy thing to accomplish, period.

We offer coaching and hands-on help with this often enormous task because we know that even if the person has the desire to downsize, just thinking about starting the paring down process can stop them in their tracks. We see time and again confusion about where to begin often followed by a sense of being overwhelmed, and then discouragement. These feelings usually lead to a complete halt to all forward progress which isn't good, especially if a move date has been set.

Our job as sorting coaches is to guide and direct, affirm, and sometimes gently question decisions about items being considered for the move. When we sense indecision, we have our customer set the item or items aside for reconsideration at another time. Depending on where we might be working in the home, decisions may come easy, and in another room and on another day they can be very difficult. We're fine with that because we understand the process and respect the decisions our customers make. Our experience shows that given enough time, the answer will come.

Here are a Few Tips on Sorting and Paring Down (or How to Avoid Getting Stuck Before You Get Started).

• Start the sorting and paring down process early, remembering the time it takes to complete.

• Know your new home's space and storage limitations.

• Begin sorting in the easiest decision-making area or room of the house. Be objective and even ruthless if you need to be.

• Make decisions with family regarding items you would like them to have and items they would like to have.

• Don't be hurt if your children or grandchildren don't want some of your things. They may already have enough stuff in their homes.

• If you’re storing things for other people, have them picked up.

• Rent a dumpster if you need one!

• Make appropriate piles or areas in the house for items you're keeping/packing, donating, selling, family, or tossing.

• If you believe you'll have enough good salable contents after you're packed, make an appointment with an estate sale company or auction house to discuss your options.

• If you won't be cooking or entertaining as much, DON'T take a lot from your kitchen. Take only what you'll truly use.

• Don't pack anything you won't be happy to see when it's unpacked.

• Don't pack too many boxes that will remain packed and in storage.

• Don't push yourself. Ask for help or hire professionals. You'll be surprised at how much quicker and smoother the task becomes.

• Pack and label boxes according to contents and room.

If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, stop and take some time away from the task. You'll begin again when you're ready and feeling up to it. This task takes its toll both physically and emotionally and one thing you don't want, is to let the process take control of you. You will need to remain in good health with a positive attitude in order to follow through with your desire to simplify your life.

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