DECLUTTER TO DOWNSIZE
Organizational tips to save stress BY TARA ERWIN
ownsizing later in life confers many benefits—reduced home costs, less upkeep, an opportunity to declutter—but preparing for it can be overwhelming. The longer we’ve been in a home, the more it accumulates a lifetime of memories in attics, basements, spare rooms, and on shelves; they’re not all going to fit in a smaller space—nor do we need them to. thoughtful gesture, but bear in mind • Do I have the room to But where to begin paring down? they may not hold these items in appropriately store it? Jamie Shaner, owner of Home as high regard. In that case, selling Solutions of WNY, Inc., offers tips: or donating items of value can be “No” to any of these means the Having a place for everything, gratifying. Shaner further suggests item shouldn’t make the final cut, but enough (but not too much) putting pictures in a special box or Shaner has useful advice for what household goods, and a system photo album to keep them easily to do with unwanted or unneeded to classify incoming items are key. accessible and away from dust. items. For example, when it comes Shaner recommends starting with With age come lifestyle changes, to grown children’s childhood what she calls “forgotten spaces. which means items that don’t make keepsakes such as school papers It’s never too early to start dealing sense to have any longer. Keep and trophies, tough love might be with those areas,” Shaner says. “ only what you use. Dining rooms, in order. “Give them a deadline to Basements, attics and garages kitchens and linen closets are prime review their belongings to either take [create] the ‘postponed decisions’ examples of spaces that can be or give permission to disburse,” she that overwhelm people the most.” streamlined. If the days of large says. “After the deadline passes, Rather than Marie Kondo’s “Does dinner parties are over, perhaps it’s fair game for disposing of it in it spark joy?” mantra when it comes keep just four or six place settings whatever way is appropriate.” to figuring out what to keep, Shaner for china and crystal. Tastes and Collections or beloved keepsakes prefers clients ask themselves: cooking habits change too, so can also take up a lot of space look at boxed and canned goods, (and be a pain to clean), so pare • Do I need it? spices, and oils, and toss anything down to a few favorites. Offering • Do I use it? expired. The same goes for linens; them to family members can be a • Do I love it?