If you’ve lived in your home for many years, it may take a little while to find new homes for the treasures you have accumulated over time. Pace yourself and enlist some extra helpers to help you achieve your goal.


DIY – How to Pare Down Your Possessions in 10 Steps

1. Set Goals & Deadlines: Decide which rooms or types of items are top priority to pare down. Set a target date(s) for your downsizing efforts.

2. Give or Sell Treasures: What items would you like to give away or sell? Make a list of the items and set a timeline for giving them a new home.

3. Recruit Helpers: Ask your helpers and make a schedule of dates and times that they can help. Arrange multiple sorts and pace yourself.

4. Schedule Pick Up: If you plan to donate or dispose of items and have them picked up at your home, schedule pick-up date in advance.

5. Buy or Gather Supplies: You will need plastic containers for saved items, large garbage bags, boxes, labels, markers (to mark boxes/bags).

6. Set Up Your Space: Set up table(s) in your garage or a spare room where you intend to do the sort(s). Make space to spread items out in piles.

7. Sort Your Items: Helpers bring items to the table. Sort items by: keep, maybe keep, sell or donate, gift to a specific person, or dispose.

8. Store Personal Papers: Gather your personal papers into plastic containers. Set another sort time for a different day to review, store, or shred documents.

9. Donate or Dispose: After the sort, helpers (or a hauling company if you hire one) can take items to donate, dispose of or recycle.

10. Store “Saved” Items: Take saved items, in plastic containers, to a storage location in your home or elsewhere.

If you find it very challenging to part with items, your timeline is super tight, or the DIY approach just isn’t for you, enlist the assistance of professionals that specialize in downsizing and know exactly how to help you reach your goal. To find resources in your area, visit National Association of Senior Move Managers nasmm.org or moveseniors.com to find a certified home transition specialist. If you are located in Michigan, I can share local resources with you. Please feel free to contact me at annzalek.com

Ann Zalek, REALTOR, SRES, CAPS | Age 50+ Specialist
Your Family’s Realtor & Coach
For more information: annzalek.com

Posted by:Ann Zalek - REALTOR

A keen listener, an inventive problem solver, and a connector of people and resources, Realtor and Transition Coach Ann Zalek helps older adults and their families navigate the moving process with professionalism, compassion, and integrity. Ann is a licensed realtor in Michigan and has earned certifications as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist and as a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist. Ann also has 27+ years of experience as a business owner, communication/content marketing consultant, creative professional, and coach/trainer. She has worked with clients in a variety of industries and has worked in government, nonprofit and health-related sectors (e.g., serving rural health communities, seniors/caregivers, and individuals with disabilities).

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