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How much stuff do you really need?

Are you a hoarder wanting to make a fresh start in a retirement village? If so, it might be time to rethink your relationship with objects and explore more compact ways to celebrate special memories.

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Do you have a home full of stuff: objects, mementoes, gadgets, goods, keepsakes, treasures, odds, ends, souvenirs, bits, pieces and knicknacks that fill every cupboard, box and drawer and represent who you are and where you’ve been?

Even though you might not have looked or used them for years it’s hard to throw them away isn’t it!

The reality is that most of us collect thousands of possessions over our lifetime and, although we might get rid of a few items along the way, our ‘things’ often take on an extrinsic value that far exceeds their intrinsic one.

This is not really a problem until we want to downsize. Moving into a smaller home with significantly less space means we have to bid farewell to the bits and pieces of our lives, explore our relationship with objects and tackle difficult questions about what we want versus what we really need.

Mick Mezzino from Clear Space, a specialised downsizing and decluttering service in Adelaide, knows the dilemma all too well.

“Downsizing your home can be an exciting time with new beginnings and new adventures but it can also be very stressful, both physically and emotionally,” he says.

“It’s important to remember that your objects don’t have feelings. Your love for a person, and theirs for you, is not going to change if you decide to let go of a particular item.

objects-01“Simply ask yourself, “how much stuff do I need to be happy?” If you haven’t used an item for a number of years, it’s likely you won’t ever.”

According to Mick, downsizing successfully is all about being realistic, organised and practical.

He says he always advises clients to make a plan, allow plenty of time, be prepared to make difficult decisions, and seek help.

“Begin decluttering your items well in advance of your actual move date, otherwise you may lose control of making decisions and others will make them for you,” he says.

“Rewarding yourself after each decluttering session is also important and don’t try to do it for extended periods because it might turn you off it next time.”

Pamela Lumley, a resident at Cleveland Manor Retirement Village in Brisbane, recently moved from a family home into a one bedroom retirement villa and says that combatting the pre-move clutter was not easy in the beginning but became surprisingly therapeutic.

07AUG15JH-167“Downsizing is daunting but once you start to rid yourself of all the things you never look at, you never use, your children don’t want, it’s the most cathartic experience!” she enthuses.

“Just do it! Truly, once you’ve done it you realize the benefits.”

Pamela’s new living space can only be described as light, fresh and clean and she says that, despite being tempted to bring all her old furniture with her, she made an effort to only select what would suit the villa she was moving into and even bought a new couch.

This foresight gets the tick of approval from Mick, who encourages his clients to familiarize themselves with the dimensions of their new home before deciding what to take.

“Many retirement villages have floor plans of their villas and apartments so take advantage of this. Measure all of the rooms and storage areas. For example, if the linen cupboard is half the size of your existing one, then what can go to the new home has to fit that space,” he says.

In addition to home downsizing services, Clear Space offer professional assistance with hoarding support, organizing, decluttering, and estate clearances. For more information, please phone Mick or Rebecca Mezzino on 0404 361 386.


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