Staying home? Start decluttering!

Ann’s Choice Personal Moving Consultant provides tips for decluttering.

Of all the tasks associated with moving, downsizing can seem the most daunting. Sorting a lifetime’s worth of possessions takes time. It can be emotional, because we associate items with people and events that mean something to us. COVID-19 has many people contemplating where they'd feel safest living. If that means moving from your current house, now is the perfect time to start the decluttering process.

Due to the recent COVID-19 situation, many people have contacted Lisa Sicilia, Ann’s Choice’s Personal Moving Consultant, about making a move the Erickson Living managed and developed senior living community in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to ensure they are in a community where needed services and safety measures are in place.

Sicilia says, "We're still receiving calls about moving to Ann's Choice. While we’re all following social distancing directives, you have an excellent opportunity to make real progress without the pressure of a firm deadline.”

Top tips for decluttering Sicilia says that decluttering can help you get the highest sales price and simplify your move. She also notes that your home is your most valuable asset.

“The box that holds all your stuff—your house—is worth more than everything in it. What you’ll get for used furniture is tiny in comparison, so focus on making your house look its best.”

Here are her top tips for managing the process:

  1. Imagine your new living space: Only bring things for the rooms you’ll actually have. If there’s no den, you won’t need that extra couch.
  2. Start small: Leave the garage, basement, and attic till last. Start with a small space you can complete relatively quickly.
  3. Work every day: This is your new part time job. Show up ready to work a few hours each day. If you’re motivated to put in some “overtime,” even better.
  4. Box by category: Keep, Trash, Donate, and Sell. Clearly mark each box, its contents, and its destination. Group boxes by category for easy identification.
  5. No “maybe” piles: Each item gets a yes or a no, or you’ll have to downsize again after you move.
  6. Keep one, toss one: If you have duplicates, give away the extras.
  7. Apply the six months rule: If you haven’t used or worn it in six months, you probably never will. Let it go.
  8. Reminisce: Enjoy memories as you sort, but don’t keep things you won’t use. Memories, not stuff, are what matters. 
  9. Keep the best, photograph the rest: If you’re a collector or have tons of family mementos, retain the items with the highest monetary or sentimental value. Photograph the rest. Create physical or digital albums you can view any time. They won’t take much space, and your collectibles won’t sit in boxes.

Sicilia adds, “Don’t think of decluttering as leaving things behind, but as preparing for a new, exciting phase of your life. It’s freeing to be rid of stuff you don’t use anymore. Go at a steady pace, and you’ll make progress every day.”

People moving to Ann’s Choice have direct access to Erickson Realty and Moving Services. This special program offers complimentary coordination of all realty and moving needs, including downsizing, home staging, packing and choosing a real estate agent. Sicilia will help guide you through the entire process.  Visit AnnsChoiceCommunity to learn more.

Ann’s Choice, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 103-acre campus in Warminster, Pennsylvania. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,900 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information about Ann’s Choice can be found at AnnsChoiceCommunity.com.

Photo: Ann’s Choice Personal Moving Consultant Lisa Sicilia