» Start six months to a year ahead of time.
“Downsizing takes time, and all of the decision
making can be mentally tiring,” says Helen
Montfort of Making Space for Life in Glen Echo.
“This is not a process you want to rush through.”
» Make a game plan. Set aside time each week
for the process. If you skip a week or session, find
time to make it up during the next week.
» Ask a trusted friend or family member
to help out. Someone who’s not emotionally
attached can provide a reality check sometimes.
» Consider hiring a professional organizer to
get you started. The saved time might be worth
the money (typically $50 to $90 an hour).
» Get rid of bulky items that obviously won’t
fit in your new space. That might mean lawn
mowers, holiday decorations, large tools and
» Inventory what’s left. Then make more cuts.
“It’s like a great party invitation list. …You want
everybody to come but, in truth, there is only a
select group that you really, really want to be with,”
says Meredith Tapley Gordon of Gordon Organizing
» When considering furniture, ask yourself if
what you have will fit in your new home, if it
needs to be upholstered or if you want and
can afford new items. Have the measurements
of your new space on hand.
To off-load nicer pieces, Gordon suggests
calling auction houses. Keep in mind that most
donation centers will not accept mattresses and
large, upholstered furniture.
» When considering the small stuff,
remember that the more you move, the more
it will cost. Go room by room and ask: Do you
use it, need it or love it? If it’s no to all three, let it go.
If you answer yes to one or two of the questions, an
impartial friend can help make the final decision.
» Schedule a weekend to have friends and
family claim your castoffs. “Then schedule a
donations pickup within the next week,” Gordon
says. “Don’t hang on to items that Uncle Joe says
he needs, but can’t pick up for a month.”
» Digitize as much paperwork as you can.
Sign up for digital bank statements, and scan hard
copies of things you need to keep into the computer.
Montfort suggests dedicating a half hour of your
weekly sessions just to sorting through paperwork. n
Bethesda-area professionals tell
how to make the process easier
FINE EARTH LANDSCAPE
Best Landscaping Company
2011 and 2013