Shelves with boxes, folders and green plant

Is this the year to “right-size”? Here’s how to begin your organization journey

Is 2018 the year you’ll be considering moving into a smaller home? An apartment? A retirement residence? And is that thought potentially daunting, given the amount of belongings in your current home?

“Changing homes doesn’t have to mean downsizing. It can mean rightsizing or finding a place that better suits your needs and lifestyle, and which can more easily accommodate changes in your needs or abilities,” says a Government of Canada brochure on seniors’ housing.

Why the shift from “downsizing” to “rightsizing”? Downsizing tends to have negative connotations that focus on the loss of things, and space, while “rightsizing” suggests a more proactive, positive shift in perspective, to make your home—whether your current one, or a future move to a retirement residence, for example—the perfect place to begin the next phase of your life.

Rightsizing also suggests focusing on the treasures you want to keep, rather than on the loss of things you may not need or use. It’s all about choosing the possessions that fit the life you have now (or the life you want in the near future), rather than allowing your things to dictate the way you live. While acknowledging your past life and home, rightsizing celebrates each new chapter and the journey you embark on to get there.

That journey begins with getting organized—which doesn’t have to be a discouraging task, and in fact, can be incredibly satisfying.

Next Avenue, a U.S. website for seniors founded by not-for-profit PBS media, suggests the “Four Box” system for de-cluttering and assessing what needs to go—and stay—in your space. Get four boxes or plastic storage bins (you may need more, depending on the number of items) and label them as follows:

Keep Until I’m Gone - For items of sentimental value, such as family heirlooms, personal letters, wedding china, and photo albums.

Appraise and Sell - For unwanted items of value.

Keep with Me - For unsentimental items, such as furniture and art.

Garage Sale/Donate - For unwanted items.

To get started, go from room to room, sorting your possessions. For larger items such as furniture and art, Next Avenue suggests taking and printing photos of the items, then placing the photo in the appropriate box. Or you could simply write a short description of the item on an index card and put the card in the box.

Give yourself enough time: a room may take a day, or a week. It’s helpful to invite family members to assist with the process. Grandchildren in particular can help, and if there’s time, it also gives them an opportunity for you to share family memories or anecdotes about some of your sentimental possessions.

And remember, you’re not downsizing, you’re rightsizing!

Would you like to learn more about the benefits of retirement living, and how it can fit your individual needs, now and in the future? Call 1-855-461-0685 today to speak to a Chartwell representative to learn more.