Decluttering and Downsizing for Peace of Mind

The kids have finally fled the nest and you’re left with a house full of stuff and rooms you’ll never use. Unless you’re looking to construct a time capsule, it’s probably time to downsize your life. That means getting rid of those old newspapers and kindergarten art masterpieces and finding somewhere that accommodates your new smaller lifestyle.

Downsizing doesn’t just mean a smaller space, but lower utility bills and fewer rooms to clean. Having less stuff and more space can provide the kind of peace of mind that perfectly suits the retirement life.

But first, you’ll need to tackle those mountains of accumulated things built up after years of living in the same home.

How to Declutter with Ease

Before you get out the trash bags, you’ll want to take stock of your possessions. First, get rid of any duplicate items, as you likely won’t need those spare garbage disposal covers or can openers. Next, you can group your possessions into three categories:

  • Things to keep
  • Things to toss or donate
  • Things you might need

Here’s where it gets tough. When deciding whether to keep or ditch an item, ask yourself one important question: If everything suddenly disappeared, what would I replace? If you wouldn’t bother to replace something, then you probably can afford to get rid of it. Still having trouble deciding? Use the one year rule. If you haven’t used an item in a year’s time, then it’s usually safe to toss.

How to Get Rid of Your Past

By now, you’ve got bundles of trash bags filled to the brim. You’ve made tough decisions and tossed out those decorative whatevers. Now what?

It would be ideal for someone to come to your door, take your bags and put it all to good use, but we know it’s not that easy. Fortunately, there are many options to turn your trash into someone else’s treasure. The easiest way might be to throw it all in boxes, label them FREE, and leave them on the sidewalk. Of course, you might want to first make sure your Homeowners’ Association approves. If so, you can advertise that you did this by adding an entry to Craigslist’s “Free” section or by using Freecycle.

If you think your old treasures could fetch some money, you can also sell them on Craigslist or OfferUp. You can also donate them to a worthy charitable organization that would be happy to receive them. YWCA, Your Sister’s Closet program, and Habitat for Humanity’s HabiStore are a few good choices to consider.

New Home, New Lifestyle

Your new home should also inform the items you decide to keep. What kind of lifestyle do you envision for yourself in the future? Maybe you’d prefer to ditch the extra couch and television in order to set up an art room to reignite those old passions.

If you decide to purchase new furniture for your new home, think about multitasking. Multipurpose furniture helps maximize tighter space without making a room look cluttered. Some examples include lift-top ottomans and nightstands equipped with drawers. The key is to maximize every square inch of storage space.

Vantage West Can Help You Downsize

Minimizing your possessions can be a stressful experience while you’re going through it. But once you clear out the cobwebs, you’ll feel relieved to be able to move on to a new, smaller home with less clutter.

If you’re ready to shed your things and downsize, the Vantage West home loan team can help you find the perfect size home to fit your new lifestyle. For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit or call (800) 888-7882.

Loans subject to approval. Mortgage options subject to change without notice. Certain restrictions may apply. NMLS #485751

About Vantage West

At Vantage West, we believe that when our members and communities thrive, we thrive with them. In the spirit of collaboration, we constantly strive to create value to earn and reward member loyalty. This is important because the more engaged our members are, the more it benefits the credit union and our overall value proposition to the membership and to the communities we serve.

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