If the time in your life to downsize is approaching, don’t despair. Look at it as an opportunity to free yourself of unnecessary possessions so that you can focus on what’s really important such as family, friends and hobbies. Moving from your big family home to a much smaller one is a chore, but one that can be accomplished with a little planning.

Take Your Time

Just as you begin to think about Denver retirement homes or other smaller living spaces, that is the time to begin going through items. Don’t try to rush through the process. Going through old pictures and mementos will take time and maybe some tears, and that’s okay. Tackle just one drawer or closet at a time and allow yourself to celebrate or grieve as you go through each piece. Start a box for each of your descendants and fill them with family pictures, sorting as you go. If the task gets overwhelming, take a break and start again another day.

Eliminate Rooms

If your new home won’t have a formal dining room or a third bedroom, for example, start emptying those rooms out first. Tag each specific piece with a Post-It note if you know that a certain niece or grandson has requested it. Take pictures of other furniture and send the photos to family members asking who wants what. If there is more than one taker, hold a lottery or simply go in age order. Everything else can donated to Goodwill or sold in a garage sale.

Keep Only One

Many people end up with duplicate items over a lifetime. If this has happened to you, get rid of all but one of the pieces. For example, if you have three sets of China, give two away. Even if the pieces have sentimental value, you simply won’t have room for extras.

Consider the process of downsizing like going on a diet. Sure, you’ll miss that piece of chocolate cake (or coffee table), but you’ll be lighter and happier after you’ve shed the extra weight.