Perspective can make downsizing your home a cathartic and even joyful experience.

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At some point in our lives, many of us will need (or want) to move to a smaller space. It could be a change of lifestyle, finances, age or simply feeling a need to simplify. Downsizing can be difficult, but having a clear plan can certainly make it a much smoother process.

Firstly, define your priorities and needs. If you are planning to look for a home 1/3 smaller than your current residence, attempt to eliminate 1/3 of your furniture and belongings. Yikes, I know that sounds painful, but imagine the weight that will be lifted by having less tangible items and a smaller footprint. You may find that it means more time and money to focus on hobbies, travel, friends and family. What can you live without and what must you have – and why? The “why” is important, as you may discover that you are holding onto some things that you can creatively substitute or consolidate in other ways.

Take this time to think about how some of the items you may need to let go of could be given to others who will be able to enjoy and love them as you do. Perhaps your parents’ wedding album would be the gift your engaged niece would cherish the most of all her wedding gifts, and imagine the wonderful charitable good that could be done with your donations to places like the Golden Goose Thrift Shop in Catalina. Some items may even fetch you a fair amount of cash on eBay, Craigslist or in consignment shops.

Strike a balance between being firm and brutally honest with what you actually need, while still being gentle with yourself. As you go through every closet and cabinet, envision what your new life might look like. This is a great chance to really get excited about all the wonderful times that the future does hold.

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