A family dining room table, set with china and crystal reflects family memories.
Written by Sandie Orlando

Five Tips for Making Tough Decisions When Downsizing or Decluttering

Clearing your stuff is easy when it comes to items that we know we want to keep.  Getting rid of things is just as easy when we’ve already made the decision to let them go – as long as we know what to do with them.  It’s the items that fall into the grey zone that give us so much grief.

These are usually the things that we have complex feelings about.  They are the gifts from someone special we don’t really like or need, family heirlooms, the practical but ugly, the useless but beautiful, and that thing that might come in handy one day. They might also be the piece with too much value to throw away but not enough value to sell. These are the things that get in the way of making an easy decision.

Being prepared to face these decisions goes a long way towards moving through the process of clearing with less stress.

Tips That Will Help

Start With Clarity: If the decision to move is muddled with mixed emotions and uncertainty, either try to arrive at clarity…or at least acceptance that the process will require more time, sensitivity and patience to work through.

Separate Memories and Feelings from Things: Recognize that things are simply triggers for memories and feelings – but those memories and emotions don’t reside in the things.  They can be part of you even if you let those things go. And sometimes, that can be a positive step when the feeling isn’t one that serves you well.

Give Yourself Boundaries: Whether it’s a time or space boundary, setting limits can help expedite the process.  Allow yourself one opportunity to set a particularly difficult item aside to consider later…but the next time you must make a decision and take action.

Ask Three Questions: Do you love it? Will you use it? Do you have a space for it?

Create A Treasure Box: Some memories you want to honour, but the items are too much to hold on to. Creating a ‘treasure box’ for those memories with just a few representational items is a special way to preserve, and possibly share the memories. This approach works beautifully to capture the essence of a special room without keeping its contents, such as a formal dining room filled with family memories.

Recent Posts