“I’ve been in this house for twelve years,” Connie said. “But now it’s been sold and I’m going to go live in a nice place closer to my children.” The retired Boston school teacher knows she needs to downsize, but is finding it challenging. “It’s not that many of my things are particularly valuable,” she said. “They’re important because of the part they played in my life story. But will I need them now?”
Downsizing can be an emotionally intense process. There are ways to make going through one’s possessions less fraught, and in our years providing small load moving services in Boston, we’ve collected what we’ve learned in the hopes these tips will be helpful to other people.
Downsizing Tip #1: Start with the Stuff You Really Don’t Care About
“One of the nice things about going into senior housing is you don’t have to worry about any maintenance,” Connie said with a laugh. “So goodbye snow blower. Goodbye lawn mower. Goodbye weed whacker.” Items you know you won’t need and don’t particularly care about are among the easiest to downsize. Start with them first, to help you get a good start on your downsizing goals without having to feel any feelings.
Downsizing Tip #2: Look for Ways to Create Delight with Your Downsizing
“Yes, I could have sold the snowblower,” Connie explained. “But I know for a fact that the young couple down the street struggle with snow removal. They have little children, so obviously money is tight. I asked them if they’d like to have mine and they happily said yes.”
While not everyone is in a position to give away a snowblower, be aware that donations of books, clothing, household goods, and other items can make a real positive difference in other people’s lives. If you’re not comfortable giving objects directly to someone, there are charitable organizations in Boston that accept donations.
Additionally, there are social media groups such as Freecycle where people offer up items they no longer need and other people come and collect them. If you’re going this route, make sure to follow sensible precautions.
“It’s a little easier to say goodbye to your things when you know they’re making someone else happy now.”