When I work with seniors, they tell me that they have a hard time deciding to move to a senior living community because of their “stuff”. They just don’t know what to do with it, which leads to moving paralysis and procrastination.  It seems like a lot to deal with, and many just don’t know where to begin.

1. Making a Plan

Before you look into ways to get rid of your belongings, you need to decide if you’re selling your home first or moving to senior living, then selling your home. This decision helps determine what you do next. The easiest way is to sell the house is after you’ve moved. You take only what you need, and it is clear what you need to get rid of by leaving it behind. Once you have your new home set up, you can visually see if you need to remove or add items. This scenario also helps get you out of limbo of living in your home, yet not knowing what you will need in your new home.

If you are selling before moving, don’t worry. Many successfully manage their transition this way, and you will too. You may have added pressure to complete the process quicker, but overall it all works out.

Once we know if we are moving or selling first, we can now look into three ways we can get rid of your stuff. Everyone is obviously different and each scenario will be different, so be sure to customize these tips to fit you.

2. Selecting What Moves

Take this process in steps. We get overwhelmed by looking at everything all at once, but by breaking the moving process down in steps, you will find it helps calm the overactive thoughts that cause the paralysis and emotional discomfort.

We acquire a lot of stuff over the years – stuff we don’t necessarily need or use. Start by looking at each room individually – what have you used or needed in the last two weeks to a month? Tag these items. It may even help to ask a family member to assist so you have another person’s perspective.

If you find you are having trouble parting with these belongings, consider taking photos of them and building a photo album for those times you need a nostalgic reminder. This will help keep those precious memories alive and free up the space in your new home!

3. Selecting What Goes to Friends and Family

Once you’ve tagged the things you need, go back through each room and tag the items you want to give away to family or friends. Remove the emotional attachment to your stuff. We understand these items are extremely difficult to part with because they hold memories of our lost love ones and/or precious past time memories. We suggest you check with your family and see if they would like these cherished items and arrange a time for them to pick them up. We will say from past experiences, you may find most of your family members have enough stuff of their own and they don’t want to add more. Don’t take offense to this, it’s not personal. These items just don’t hold a significant meaning to them as they do to you.

4. Selecting Donation or Sale Items

When in doubt – throw it out! If you forget something, or throw something out you need after you move it, you can always buy it again. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you’re on the fence about fixing that broken item, or whether it will truly be useful, it is likely you won’t need it in your new home. Someone starting a new life might find your item helpful. Take a moment to think about how grateful they might be to use something that has exceeded its usefulness to you.

Choose a charity you’d like to support for donation – perhaps local homeless shelters, Habitat for Humanity, or Goodwill. Many charities will actually come pick up the items. Be sure to ask this when you call. Feel free to discard items as you go, or put it in a pile and take it all at once – whatever trips your trigger. The more stuff you can get out of the way, then a better idea you’ll have of what still needs to be accomplished. You’ll also find this helps with having more motivation to accomplish your goal.

Another option is having an auction or a tag sale. Contact your local auctioneer and ask them how they may be aid in this process and make some extra money too.

5. Give, Donate, and Discard!

Now that you’ve figured out what the items going to family members are, items you’re donating, and items you’re discarding, it’s time to put this in motion.

Many seniors feel they need to do this on their own which adds to moving paralysis. What we’ve found in working with individuals just like yourself is your kids are usually happy to assist you, especially knowing this transition is in your best interest. Therefore, reach out and involve your support system.

No family close? No problem. Senior moving companies specialize in helping seniors come up with a moving plan based on your personal situation and then execute the steps until completion – packing, switching telephone and televisions from one location to the other, and moving. They will even help set up your new home exactly the way you envision. This takes the guesswork out of the equation and you get to sit back and enjoy the ride! To help get an idea of this service, check out the website for Senior Moving Services, a company we value and trust.

Don’t let the thought of getting rid of your stuff keep you in your home. You are experiencing what many seniors experience when they are looking to make a change. By using these tips, your support system, and senior services you can make your transition easier and enjoy your new lifestyle!

Comment below on any tips you may have from personal experience.