Sifting through a lifetime of accumulating dishes, home décor, clothes and much more can be downright daunting. However, it's a task many seniors undertake as they attempt to sell a larger home and move into a smaller one.
"It is overwhelming. You have to figure out where to start," says Bob White, a senior from New Hope.
Downsizing expert Amy Podein started off a session at the Crystal Community Center with laughter before diving into the hard part.
"It's mostly going to be the client who makes all the decisions anyway, so we try to offer them tips and resources so it does save money," says Podein, who works for a company called Sort, Toss, Pack that helps people pare down.
Podein was a featured speaker in the "Donut Make You Wonder" series, sponsored by Brooklyn Center, Crystal, New Hope, Robbinsdale, and Robbinsdale Area Schools.
"Sometimes people take two years to manage it and process all the decisions with it because it can be a long and ongoing process," Podein said. "There can be a lot of sentiment associated with it and hard decisions people have to make."
Podein recommends beginning with a timeline and goals, including:
1) Consider looking into where your stuff will be going and what you want to do with it.
2) Take advantage of a free large item pick-up day offered by your city.
3) Research what charities will accept and what they will pick up.
4) If you want to sell items, consider the best market. Do you have enough specialty items to sell to a certain buyer? Should you try Craigslist or eBay? Or is a consignment shop an easier option?
"The more of a knowledge based decision you make, the more confidence you will have and less stress the process will be," says Podein.
Downsizing gets easier the more you do it, so Podein suggests beginning with a room filled with items you seldom use. She calls it "low-hanging fruit" and easier to make a decision on what to do with the stuff.
Leslee Gold, a session sponsor who is currently downsizing, says the process got easier the more she did it.
"It is hard to think about downsizing and getting rid of treasures, but once I got going on the process it became easier and easier," says Gold.
Shannon Slatton, reporting
on Twitter: @sslatton