Friday January 17, 2020\r\nThe onerous task of downsizing and sorting through a lifetime of \u2018stuff\u2019 is a major reason why seniors put off moving to more suitable accommodation to match their needs as they age.\r\n\r\nDecluttering and downsizing can be a stressful and emotional process. It\u2019s something that can\u2019t be rushed \u2026 look at it as a marathon not a sprint.\r\n\r\nBefore you really launch into downsizing, walk through your home and consider what furniture you no longer want or need in your new life. Have a clear vision of your new apartment and lifestyle.\r\n\r\nStart one room at a time, if that\u2019s too hard to contemplate then begin with a drawer or a cupboard. Don\u2019t let yourself become overwhelmed by the task or you\u2019ll just give up.\r\n\r\nHave a floor plan of your retirement village apartment to know exactly how much space you have and measure large furniture to ensure it fits. A vital part of downsizing is doing a review of your possessions and matching it to your new space.\r\n\r\nThe aim is to simplify your life and pare down those years of accumulated belongings. However, you don\u2019t need to get rid of all your possessions \u2013 keep your favourite things that hold memories, those items you love to have around and enjoy using.\r\n\r\nIf you think about all the things you actually use in your home on a daily or regular basis it will only amount to a fraction of the thousands of items you own.\r\n\r\nBegin your decluttering efforts in the areas of the house you don\u2019t use such as spare bedrooms. In this way it won\u2019t be so disruptive and the things in these rooms are unlikely to be missed. If items are being passed on to family members use coloured post-it notes to identify the recipients. Box or bag items for charity and have another pile for the rubbish bin each week.\r\n\r\nCharities often have regular collection days in your suburb so phone them to find out when they can collect. When the pile for donation is large enough to justify a collection call the charity to keep the flow of your unwanted items heading out the door. Charities such as Lifeline are keen to receive books and will gladly collect them for their major annual fundraiser, the Bookfest.\r\n\r\nOpportunities to sell some unwanted items during the downsizing process will provide a welcome upsizing of your bank account.\r\n\r\nYou might be sorting through several generations of possessions and this can be a burden if you have inherited items that a grandparent or parent had placed great value in. Even if you don\u2019t share their value or sentimentality for the item you will probably still feel a duty to find it a good home.\r\n\r\nWhen passing on heirlooms provide a note to the recipient with a little about its history. Tell the story of who owned it, when and where the item was used. An object comes to life when connected to a story or a person. Another family member may treasure that heirloom you don\u2019t really connect with.\r\n\r\nJoan and Robert Troedson are survivors of the downsizing process and now live happily with fewer possessions and less clutter. The couple still live in the western Brisbane suburb they love, after moving from their large old Queenslander where they had resided for 30 years to the Kingsford Terrace retirement community in Corinda.\r\n\r\nJoan says downsizing had been a challenge but after they purchased their three-bedroom apartment in the vertical-living village community she got busy with cut outs on the floorplan and quickly worked out what furniture would fit in their new home.\r\n\r\nShe says parting with paintings was the hardest part of the downsizing process but she knew that most wouldn\u2019t suit the modern styling of their apartment.\r\n\r\nThe shed was another challenge as it contained Robert\u2019s tools and many that had belonged to Joan\u2019s father and grandfather. \u201cAfter the family decided what they wanted, the rest of the tools were sent to the grandchildren\u2019s school fete where they were snapped up at the trash and treasure stall. We were able to donate them to a good cause,\u2019\u2019 she says.\r\n\r\nJoan says she has no regrets about parting with any long-held possessions and admits even more items were disposed of after the move. \u2018\u2018Once I got here and was filling the kitchen cupboards I decided if it didn\u2019t fit, it had to go. But it\u2019s an ongoing job.\u2019\u2019\r\n\r\nOne treasured item Joan kept was her mother\u2019s extendable dining table that she matched with the couple\u2019s own chairs. \u201cThe table has extra sentimental value because my father restored it. The things that meant the most and would fit, we were able to keep.\u2019\u2019\r\n\r\nBut if the task of downsizing and decluttering becomes too overwhelming there\u2019s help available. Professionals like Karen Morgan of Brisbane company Task Tamers can assist through the downsizing process to make your move as easy as possible. They become your support team so you can get excited about the next phase in your life - rather than worry about the move.\r\n\r\nKaren suggests starting as early as possible and take your time, spending only an hour or two working through the clutter at a pace that is comfortable for you.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is not a task that you can do for long periods \u00ad- there will be many emotions and memories stirred up because, in essence, you are sorting through your life. Take time to savour the fond memories and to share stories with friends and family,\u2019\u2019 Karen says.\r\n\r\n\u201cBe flexible when making decisions. Remember you are free to change your mind about any item as long as it\u2019s still in your possession. By breaking down your \u2018to do\u2019 list into small chunks at a time, you\u2019ll be surprised how manageable it becomes.\u2019\u2019\r\n\r\nPreparing for the new phase of your life should fill you with excitement, not dread. Without the weight of all that unnecessary clutter you will feel relief and soon you\u2019ll be revelling in your new lifestyle and won\u2019t miss all those things \u2013 in fact you\u2019ll probably wish you\u2019d downsized years earlier!\r\n\r\nYour friendly village manager at Kingsford Terrace can provide you with advice and assistance to make your move as smooth as possible.