Hingham, MA -- Decluttering and downsizing can be a challenging process. If you've lived in your home for many years, you've probably accumulated a lot of stuff you no longer need in your closets, basement, and attic.
Sorting through and parting with personal items is often difficult because of our emotional association with them. But the freedom and calm that comes from a decluttered home is worth it in the end.
"Keep a positive attitude," says Lynne Ford, personal moving consultant at Linden Ponds, an Erickson Living developed and managed community in Hingham, Massachusetts. "Try to view your downsizing as a chance to walk down memory lane. Revisit your life!"
The coronavirus pandemic, in recent months, meant we all spent a lot more time at home. But that doesn't mean you have to put your plans to downsize and move to a retirement community on hold. In fact, Ford says this period of sheltering-in-place created a unique opportunity to really focus on decluttering.
"Due to COVID-19, most of us have fewer time commitments," Ford says. "Sorting through boxes of photos, papers, or memorabilia can be a wonderful way to relook at some of the treasures you have stored away without the usual 'rush' of our everyday lives. Imagine some of the special items you might uncover."
If you're feeling motivated to use your extra time at home to start decluttering, Ford says shifting your mindset can make the process less emotional: "Instead of thinking about getting rid of things, think about what you want to keep. What can you bring with you that tells the story of you?"
Four tips Ford also shares these tips to get you started on successful decluttering:
• Break down your downsizing project into small, manageable pieces.
• Use a calendar and schedule time to sort. It will help you feel more committed to the process and help you feel in control.
• Communicate with your partner and family. Talk about what is important to you and listen to avoid conflict.
• Start sorting in a space that won't feel overwhelming; a guest bedroom is a great place to begin as it usually contains items you are less attached to and is much easier than the attic or garage.
Ways to meet
Although Ford put home visits on hold during the coronavirus outbreak, she is still available to help prospective Linden Ponds residents with the downsizing process. She recently created a downsizing video and was hosting a Zoom event over the summer. She has also been assisting incoming community members with downsizing and planning for their moves via phone call and FaceTime.
Ford works with a variety of downsizing and moving companies including All The Right Move owned by Natalie Ahern, and Coldwell Banker Real Estate to help residents with their moves to Linden Ponds. While certain organizations, such as those that accept charitable donations, were closed due to the coronavirus, Ford says many others have adapted in order to continue helping seniors with decluttering and moving during the pandemic. Moving companies are considered essential businesses, and junk hauling companies have also reopened. Donation resources like Savers are also now open and Clean Out Your House is able to take items now.
"If residents are on a fast track to move to Linden Ponds, I have encouraged that donation items go to family homes to hold until donation resources are open," she says. "I also have them really think about the items that they may consider as donation-worthy that might actually be more disposal-worthy and to let them go out with the cleanout companies."
Photo: Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Linden Ponds Personal Moving Consultant Lynne Ford was still on hand to help incoming community members with their downsizing and decluttering via Zoom and FaceTime.
Written by Meghan Streit