Having spent the last twenty, thirty, forty or more years in your home, your walls and shelves may have accumulated a lifetime’s worth of memories. From the dinnerware you received on your wedding day to the endless photo albums and picture frames of loved ones, the daunting task of sorting through all of your collectables may seem impossible.

Here are 5 things to consider when going through your belongings and how to make the process easier for you:


1.     Clean Up Photos. Photo albums are not only heavy, but they also take up a lot of space on shelves. When downsizing, space is limited. Thanks to technology, photographs can now be stored digitally on computers and in online cloud platforms. This also makes your photos accessible to family members who also don’t have space to store boxes of albums for you.


There are numerous apps you can download onto your phone that will scan images and store them online. Ask a friend or child or grandchild for help if you need it. A few examples of free apps include PhotoScan, Photo Scanner, and FamilySearch Memories.


2.     Selling Valuables. One of the most difficult parts of downsizing your belongings is realizing which items are valuable to you for sentimental reasons and which are valuable because they’re worth money. Items that are worth something can be sold at an estate sale or on Facebook Marketplace or a similar online selling platform, like eBay. If there are items that are sentimental to family members, pass those items on to them. Items that you will have no use or space for in your new home and have no market value can be donated.


3.     Minimize Collections. If you don’t want to get rid of your entire dinnerware set, take a subset of it and sell or donate the rest. For example, if you have a dinnerware set that serves 16 people, minimize it to just 3 or 4.


4.     Test Items. Before packing any electrical items, test them to make sure they work. If not, see if they can be fixed. If all it requires is new batteries or a new lightbulb then you need only to decide if it’s worth keeping or donating. If an item is not reparable, toss it.


5.     Give Yourself Time. Downsizing is never easy. There are a lot of emotions that might surface as you reflect on decades of memories and experiences. Give yourself lots of time to go through your belongings so you’re not rushed and can savour the sentiments of your belongings.

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