At Your Age? Downsize, Declutter and Enjoy the Benefits


At Your Age? Downsize, Declutter and Enjoy the Benefits

Have you thought about who is going to be going through your ‘stuff’ when you move into care or pass on to the next realm? 

Which family member is it likely to be? Do you think they’ll distribute your loved possessions the way you’d like them to or not? Chances are the answer to that question is, “Not.” It’s been my experience with parents, parents-in-law and through my work, those much-loved possessions are rarely valued or respected in the same way by others and as such, don’t end up where we’d like them to.

There is a growing trend for greypreneurs to consider retirement living options long before they actually retire. Moving into a village or downsizing, so there is less of the mundane to do and more time to spend with family, travelling and building up your business to a more saleable asset has many benefits. Going through our home and working out what should happen to our ‘stuff’, once completed is a rewarding and uplifting experience.

There’s arguably just three types of ‘stuff’ living with us in our homes:

  1. Clothing, cooking utensils, furniture and paraphernalia necessary for day to day lifestyle comfort.
  2. Clothing, cooking utensils and paraphernalia unnecessary for day to day lifestyle comfort.
  3. Family heirlooms.

According to Sara Elliott, the ten most common heirlooms are musical instruments, clocks, recipes, photos, diaries and letters, weapons, quilts, furniture, stories, and jewellery.

How do you start the process of culling?

Step one: Identify those items you know you don’t need, and no-one else would want (i.e. those items in point 2 above).

Get rid of anything you don’t use, don’t need or don’t want. Have a ‘no reserve’ garage sale and get what money you can for whatever you can, then donate the rest to charity or dump it. Let your family and friends have the first choice if you like; a garage sale preview might be fun.

Step two: Isolate the items you don’t really want or use but can’t bring yourself to get rid of just yet (perhaps they are items noted in point 3 above).

Ask yourself why are you really keeping this stuff? Is it for sentimental value? Are you saving it to give to someone special after you’ve gone? Or for some other reason? What do you think will happen to it once you are gone? You’ve been hanging onto it for some reason and yet, possibly, it won’t end up where you would have liked it too if you leave it up to someone else.

Do with it what you’d like to have done with it yourself, while you are well and able to. Photos, recipes, stories, diaries and letters can all be scanned, stored on your computer, backed up in the cloud and on a USB and shared with your entire universe. You can even have fun collating it all in this way. If the hard copy itself has some intrinsic value, gift it to the person you know will respect its reverence.

Step three: Tidy up what’s left.

When you move to your smaller accommodation, take only what you need at first, and then look at what’s left with fresh eyes. You’ll most likely cull even further.

The same principle applies to a cull in your business. If you have unused or redundant machinery, equipment, fixtures and fittings, sell or dump them. If there’s stock on the shelves that hasn’t sold within a reasonable time frame, clear it on sale or write it off and dump it. Put the space to good use and replace the redundant stock, fixtures and equipment with product, displays or equipment that will turn your stock over more quickly and increase your sales into the bargain. Sublet or downsize if you have too much space.

There, you have it. Don’t you feel better already? It’s an onerous task, but one that needs to be done; sooner rather than later. Once it’s off the list and you have moved and adjusted to your downsized lifestyle, you’ll be able to focus on the more important things in life; like family, friends, holidays, growing, selling or passing on your business.

How many years do you have left to enjoy the rest of your life?

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