Love It Or Leave It?

Advice from a downsizing expert on how to declutter your life

Is the idea of downsizing intimidating to you? What if we told you it doesn’t have to be? In fact, there’s an industry devoted to helping seniors downsize. Channing House recently hosted downsizing expert Greg Gunderson. He’s the President of Gentle Transitions, a company that has been helping seniors divest themselves of unnecessary clutter for nearly 30 years.

“The most important tip in the downsizing process is to do the easy and obvious areas first. The reason I say that is because when people start with the hard stuff, like paperwork, they think, ‘I can never do the rest of the house.’ First, work in rooms you don’t use much. Wherever you can make decisions, do that, and work your way up to the hard stuff,” Greg says.

In most cases, just this simple step can show how much or how little you care for certain items around your home. There’s a certain sense of fulfillment that comes with finding new homes for things you’ve treasured but with which you are ready to part. A lot of people find that what’s old is new again and their “vintage” possessions are back in fashion and valuable. Consignment stores are an ideal way to help a new generation enjoy your impeccable taste. If you prefer a hands-off approach, estate sales and auctions are easy and efficient ways to rehome the curated items in your house.

“People have a hard time letting go of their things at first, but what many of our clients find is that when they’re selecting their favorite things, they quickly forget what they don’t need. If you bring your favorite things, the things that make your house a home, to your new place, the superfluous stuff doesn’t matter so much,” Greg says.

If you’re considering downsizing but aren’t sure where to start, Greg offers some wonderful tips you can start doing today to make the process easier later. For instance, go into your closet and turn all your hangers to face one direction. As you wear an item, turn its hanger in the opposite direction. At the end of a year, note which hangers are still facing in the initial direction. If you haven’t worn something in a year, it might be a good item to consider donating to a thrift store.

Many residents at Channing House went through a similar process when downsizing to their current residence, and they all agree that life without all the clutter is a relief. Don’t let “too much stuff” hold you back from your ideal life. Call 650-529-4871 to see what we can achieve together.

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