Jump-Start Your Spring Cleaning

It’s spring break and if you’re anything like me and not taking a break, here are some simple yet effective tips to jump-start your spring cleaning.

Granted not everyone likes to clean but a couple of times a year it’s necessary to tackle some big projects. So whether you hire it done or you are the cleaning lady, make a list this week of 5 things you should do around your house and get busy.

5 ideas to jump-start your spring cleaning

  1. Wipe down your kitchen cabinets and appliances – whether you have painted or stained cabinets, they can get pretty grungy after a few weeks. Use a good cleaner or lemon oil and wipe down the outsides of all your cabinets. Clean your knobs and pulls as well. Then tackle your appliances. Take your stove apart, clean the oven and do the same with your refrigerator.
  2. Clean your baseboards all through your house. This includes moving the furniture away from the walls and getting behind there. If you have pets, you’ll be surprised how much pet hair is trapped.
  3. Wash your throw rugs, furniture throws and store them away for spring and summer.
  4. Shampoo your carpets or have them professionally cleaned. If you need a referral to a professional carpet cleaner, contact me here.
  5. Open your windows and let some fresh air in and stale air out. Clean your window sills and wipe down your blinds – one slat at a time.

Those are the 5 things I do every year. You can copy from me or create your own 5 projects to jump-start your spring cleaning. Either way, keeping your home clean is not only good for your health but your house will love you for it as well.

Once you get these big things out of the way, the rest of the spring cleaning will naturally fall into place.

The faster you get this done, the more time you will have for fun stuff. What will you do to reward yourself for a job well done? I’m having lunch with friends, making a carrot cake with my granddaughter, Brooklyn, and vintage shopping, of course.

If you have any questions, you can call or text me at (913) 515-3250 or contact me here.

How to Declutter to Downsize Collections

When it comes to declutter to downsize collections, I mean anything you have too much of. It doesn’t have to be a collection of Beanie Babies or the like. Merriam-Webster defines collections as something collected…especially an accumulation of objects gathered for study, comparison, or exhibition or as a hobby.

Probably if you are attempting to declutter to downsize collections, it also helps to know WHY you have accumulated these things. Is it for study, comparison, exhibition or is it just a hobby? It’s obviously the feelings you get from having them. Whether it’s feelings of joy, pride, happiness, success or the complete opposite feelings of the fear of not having them is for you to figure out.

First of all, I’m not here to criticize you for any feelings you have about any of your collections. What I do know is that if you are on this journey of declutter to downsize, you cannot take it all with you. As a result, at some point, you have to let it go.

Many of you know, I have downsized twice and currently live in 800 square feet. I also laugh and say I have 2,000 square feet of stuff. I like my stuff and continue to add to my current stuff. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t buy something for my house. Shopping and decorating my house is my favorite hobby. I don’t collect for any other reason. Decorating for the current season also plays a big part in that. I especially love repurposing, reusing and recycling old things. Above all else at my house, everything has a place and everything stays in its place. When you have too much stuff, it has to be organized. Then we can call it organized clutter.

Declutter to Downsize Collections

The first step when you declutter to downsize is always to focus on the task at hand. That’s where so many people get sidetracked. It’s easy to start one thing and then find yourself doing something else.

For example, if you are sorting through your coffee cups, you decide to have a cup. While making the coffee, the mail comes and you take time to go through that. Then your coffee is ready and you sit down and look at the new magazine you got in the mail. Then you turn on the television. Three hours later you’re still watching your favorite Netflix show and you completely forgot you were sorting your coffee cups.

Does that ever happen to you? Certainly, it quickly becomes one of those days that’s over and you wonder where the time went.

Stay on task by first identifying the collection, start small, have a goal of how many items you are going to keep, and then focus. Ask yourself…how much space does this collection take up? And…can you make a decision about it now?

For example, if you have a stamp or record album collection, that might be very different than 50 pairs of shoes, or 100 Storybook Dolls. If it requires research or takes too much time, skip it today or this week altogether. Set it aside for another day. The House Weight Loss Plan is all about making quick decisions and creating a get rid of pile. Surely it’s easier to try on 50 pairs of shoes versus listening to 50 albums.

Some collections take longer than others to make a decision about!

Here are 5 easy ways to get it done:

  1. Take a before picture – or take smaller group pictures of the collection depending on what it is so you at least have a visual memory of it
  2. Remove everything from its container (drawer, bin, shelf, closet, etc.)
  3. Do a clean sweep into 2 piles – keep and don’t keep – you may have to come back to this a few times if your keep pile is bigger than your don’t keep
  4. Focus on putting the keep pile back into the container (if you have time, organize it)
  5. Decide whether the don’t keep pile is trash, donate, sell or give away and sort it accordingly

The object of the declutter to downsize session is to get rid of things you know you no longer want or need. If you are following The House Weight Loss Plan, on Facebook, you are doing a little each week to pare down your belongings. At this point, you are just trying to get rid of stuff. As always, don’t get hung up on your stuff. If you can’t make a decision, keep it. This is not rocket science. Some days you will be more willing to get rid of stuff than other days. It’s just the way it is. And if you’re not in the mood, watch some Netflix and come back to this tomorrow.

Case Study

I have a friend who is selling her house in September to move to Texas. She told me last week, she donated 29 coats to Goodwill – which Goodwill I wanted to ask as my love of coats in me was coming out. That’s progress! But she’s on a mission because she is selling her house. She knows she is moving to a warmer climate but she also knows how much and what kind of space she will have in her new place.

We actually sat down together last week and looked at her new floor plan. She is making decisions about what furniture pieces she will keep and what she will get rid of. For example, she currently has a formal dining room with a long 7-foot dining room table. Her new house doesn’t have a formal dining room and has an eat-in kitchen instead. Needless to say, she won’t be taking that table with her to Texas.

She also donated at least 30 pairs of shoes the week before last. Somewhat due to Covid, her lifestyle has changed as it has for most of us. Shoes she was wearing a year ago, she no longer wears. As much as she’s a shoe girl and loves her shoes, she also knows it’s pointless to pay to move things she no longer needs. Her lifestyle in Texas is going to be much different than her life here.

Your Declutter to Downsize Collections Goal

I donate things every week – some weeks more than others. As I collect new things, I let go of other things. There is a box in the trunk of my car. When I make a decision about getting rid of something, I move it to that box. I don’t think twice about it. Then when I’m in the area of a donation site, I stop and empty the box. If it no longer serves you, get rid of it. I promise you won’t miss it. Life is stuff. And it’s all stuff.

By the end of each week, you should have accomplished something. Have a goal to drop your donation items over the weekend. Get things in the trash by the end of the week. Call your friends and have them stop by on a certain day to pick up things they have said they wanted.

In other words, finish up your week every week. Don’t let one project bleed over into next week. Baby steps with start and finish goals is the way to win the race when decluttering to downsize.

Need More Assistance?

There are many people I help every week on a more personal basis. Needless to say, they all waited too long to start their declutter to downsize journey and now have health issues that prevent them from doing things on their own.

These are people who have no family in town and don’t want to ask their friends to help them sort through their kitchen cabinets. It’s a slow process but when I haul off a car load of stuff every time, it’s a great feeling for them. Some of these people I’ve been helping for a long time. They all have a vision for a life different than how they are living now. And most of them want to move out of town to be closer to family to live out their next chapter. Every week they make bigger decisions about getting rid of their stuff. They are slowly reaching their goals of living life differently.

Are you still wondering why you should declutter to downsize your home? Or are you of the camp that the kids can do it once you’re moved into “the home”? Believe me, if you leave your downsizing to your kids, you’ll be lucky to make it to the home. John Dutton and Rip will have you going to the train station for sure if you have that attitude. (That’s from Yellowstone if you haven’t watched it!)

Seriously, it’s your stuff. Step up and take care of it while you still can. It’s up to you how you want to be remembered, don’t let your legacy be tainted forever because you didn’t take responsibility for your job. Your kids will never, ever forgive you.

If you or someone you know needs help getting started on a plan to declutter to downsize their home, there are many options to choose from. Please call or text me at (913) 515-3250 or contact me here. We start wherever you are in your journey and that’s different for everyone.

The House Weight Loss Plan

The Baby Boomers Guide to the House Weight Loss Plan

The House Weight Loss Plan is for you if you are a baby boomer and your house needs to lose some weight. Especially after Covid, you probably aren’t entertaining like you were or you are doing it on a more limited basis.

First of all, you may not be going out as much as you were and probably need fewer clothes. In addition, you have multiples of things you’ll never ever use again. Wouldn’t it be great to start preparing for your next move and your 3rd chapter in life?

I’ve been on a mission for the last 12 years to help baby boomers downsize their homes. But it wasn’t until October 2020 that I decided to take it online versus only offering in person consultations. I am in the process of turning my entire, Move Management System, from my real estate business into an online version that will serve all baby boomers – no matter where they are in their journey to declutter their lives to downsize their homes.

The House Weight Loss Plan                                                                                     

This is an easy house weight loss plan to eliminate some extra pounds from your home. It follows the master plan of the Declutter to Downsize Challenge (coming soon) but without the specific daily things to do or accountability. You will be your own project manager.

After receiving the task each week, you can choose to do it or not. After all, you’re not making a commitment so some weeks you’ll participate, other weeks you won’t. But be sure to check in every Monday with the Facebook Group to see if the task is something you want to do.

  • It’s a FREE community for baby boomers – specifically a group Facebook page – you can sign up here: (www.facebook.com/groups/downsizingbabyboomers/)
  • Just getting started eliminating your things will make you feel really great!
  • This version is not goal-related – so there’s no pressure. You just want to eliminate some of the stuff you have.  
  • Since there is no commitment, you will be happy to get out of it whatever you put into it
  • The weekly to-dos will be posted every Monday on the Facebook group page
  • You’ll be able to share your challenges and funny stories with the community!
  • Or you can just check in to see what other people are going through
  • This is an awesome place to start your journey

Decluttering Your Life

Decluttering your life to downsize your home can be an overwhelming task for most people. Can you do this on your own? Absolutely! But just like anything that’s hard to do, most people get overwhelmed with the mere thought of it. It’s like going on a diet – easy to start and hard to stick with. It’s nothing the average person wants to tackle every day and yet most people need to if they have plans on moving.

Take a quick walk through your house and ask yourself:

  • Does your house need to lose some weight?
  • If something happened tomorrow and you had to move, what would you do? No burn the house down answers here.
  • Will you do the work?
  • Are you physically capable of doing what it’s going to take?
  • Are you committed to living a simpler life?

It’s Totally Up to You – But For Goodness Sake, Please Do Something!

I don’t know about you but I had to help both of my parents move from where they were when they couldn’t live on their own anymore. It usually comes with an emergency situation. As baby boomers, we only have a few good years left. Sadly, that’s the truth. I’m one of the optimistic baby boomers that believes I’ll live forever. And I may. But I did the hard work, while I still could, on my own. Now, I am living large in my 800 square foot forever home – forever until the day they take me away.

Above all else, decluttering your life doesn’t mean becoming a minimalist. It means weeding out the things you no longer want or need. I have a house full of my favorite things surrounding me. But my kids know where the important documents are, what I want to take with me should I have to live in an even smaller space and the rest is fluff. Therefore, they won’t need to spend any time looking through things. It’s all right there ready for them to grab and go.

That’s what I want for you. To get rid of everything that you no longer want, need or love. When it’s all fluff, it’s much easier on those you love. The House Weight Loss Plan can help you get started.

It’s your life and your stuff. Do something in 2021 to make it easier on yourself, your loved ones and to simplify your life as you live the best years you still have ahead of you.

Want to Know More?

If you have any questions, please reach out at info@downsizingbabyboomers.com or text Melinda at (913) 515-3250 to set up a FREE 15 minute phone conversation. I love helping other baby boomers live large in a small space!

When is it Time to Downsize Your Home?

As a real estate agent for the last 30+ years, I talk to people every day who want to know, when is it time to downsize your home? It is definitely so overwhelming. They say things like, “I don’t have time, it’s too much work, I don’t know where to start, what will I do with all that stuff, the kids will just have to deal with it once I’m gone.” Really? You would do that to your children?

I know it’s hard because I’ve done it twice. Needless to say, I learned alot. Plus I’ve been giving advice for the last 10-15 years to people who were on my 5 Year Plan to declutter their life and downsize their home.

What I’ve always known about my 5-Year Plan was you had to start it 5 years before you retire. Not start it when you’re ready to retire. Because the average baby boomer takes 5 years to get the job done and by then it’s too late.

When is it Time to Downsize Your Home?

My best advice is if you are 55 + and are living in a home that you will not be able to stay in until you can no longer take care of yourself, the time is right for you to downsize your home.

The earlier you do it, the more freedom you will experience. It doesn’t mean you have to go as small as I did, that was my choice. But it is important to move to a home where you can stay til you move into your 4th act.

And doing it while you still can, so you can make your own decisions about where you will live and the possessions that are important to you should be your decision.

My short answer is the best time to downsize your home is while you still can.

But if you don’t do it while you can, someone else will be calling all the shots for you – including the call to the dumpster people. Your kids don’t care about your stuff. They don’t want it and the quicker it goes away, the faster they can get back to living their normal lives.

There is typically a point in life where you have passed the time to declutter your life and downsize your home on your own. Hopefully you’re not there yet.

The 3 Steps in Selling Your Home

Many baby boomers tell me they aren’t ready to move. What they don’t realize is the move has little to do with it. The real work is in the 1st two steps of selling your home.

Step one is going through your stuff and step two is upgrading and preparing your home so you can sell it. The 3rd step is the actual selling process.

If you haven’t moved in the last 10 or more years, you’ve more than likely got some real work ahead of you. Once you survive sorting through your stuff and updating your house, the actual move is pretty much a piece of cake.

Those 1st two steps could take you years. As a baby boomer, you’ve probably got a few good years left, where you could travel and cross some things off your bucket list. I commend those baby boomers who make the decision to spend their best years left really enjoying life, fulfilling their dreams, embracing new adventures, and creating new memories that will last them the rest of their lives.

The End Result

My friend, Dana, recently sold her house and moved south to a warmer climate. When I asked her about the transition she said, “OMG! Best decision of my life. Wish I had done it sooner!” She said, “It’s your responsibility as you age, to make your life simpler. We’ve done that and can now relax knowing we’ve done the hard part.”

Dana and her husband had a vision for their 3rd act in life and are taking advantage of the time they have left. There is plenty of time to sit around once you reach that 4th act and hopefully you’ll have some fond memories of how you spent your last few good years. One thing for sure, you’ll never regret the decision you make to stop babysitting your stuff and moving out of a home that no longer serves you.

Downsizing is Reality

You probably are going to move someday, whether you like it or not. And it could be what I call a medically induced move. Either you can no longer care for yourself or you fell and your current home will not support your new lifestyle. Or maybe one of you needs more care. It’s going to happen – but when?

When people in their late 70’s and early 80’s are still in the big home where they raised their 5 kids, they have definitely waited too long. If you are one of those 5 kids, you’d better either leave the country or plan on that project when the time comes.

What You Think Versus What Your Kids Think

Baby boomers tend to think their kids want to help sort through boxes of memories. “It will be a fun way to bond with your brothers and sisters as you sort through each box piece by piece. You can come over after church on Sunday and spend the day going through the boxes in the basement with me.” Most kids would rather do anything else, like call the dumpster people.

Often times it might be in your best interest as the child to suggest to mom and dad that they need to do something fun with their best years they have ahead of them rather than stay in that big old house they no longer need.

Maybe they would be better off in a maintenance provided community or even an apartment where they would have more time for enjoying life versus taking care of the family home.

After all, as a baby boomer, at some point, you just want to have a simpler life to kick back and relax and do nothing if that’s your choice. But until you declutter your life and downsize your home, you don’t have that flexibility. That project will always be hanging over your head like a dark cloud. You go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it.

Smart baby boomers take the necessary steps to declutter their lives and downsize their homes by getting out from under the stuff that’s causing them to live their best years to the fullest.

My Own Experience

I remember before I downsized from my 3,500 square foot home, I hadn’t gone to the finished basement for months. I know how that sounds but there was no need other than to clean and maybe run the water and flush the toilet.

My kids tried for years to get me to move but I wasn’t ready. And then came the day that I woke up and I was ready. I was mad as hell and I wasn’t going to live my life in a home I no longer loved with stuff that I no longer cared about.

So the journey began. It took me a solid 3 months of hard work to get through 3,500 square feet of stuff, making decisions and updating my home to prepare it for the market.

I moved to an apartment while I thought through what the next few years of my life would bring. Between taking care of my mom and helping with my grandchildren on a daily basis, I hadn’t had much time to think about myself and what was important to me.

Those years in the apartment were fine. I liked where I lived but it didn’t seem like home to me. What I really wanted was a different experience for myself. It was hard for me selling real estate and not being a homeowner. One day I make the decision to see what was available in my price range and there were 4 houses for sale.

The only one that looked decent is the one I bought. After a few updates and changes, I had the house to where I could live my 3rd act until I could no longer care for myself.

Downsizing Brings You Freedom

After downsizing twice I discovered the freedom it brings when you get past something that no longer brings you joy. To me, it was very much like the end of a relationship. I knew it was over, when was I going to tell my house I no longer loved her? It was a hard break up but once you do it, you’re thrilled with the results and the new way it makes you feel. You’re not erasing the past, you’re creating your next chapter.

Are You Ready? Do You Have What it Takes?

If you’re ready to create some freedom for your next chapter, check out our programs that will help you get there.

There’s plenty to choose from coming in 2024

  • Declutter to Downsize Challenge 2024
  • DIY Home Study Course
  • 90 Day Boot Camp
  • 6 Month Intensive

No matter what your needs, do something while you still have time to enjoy your best years that are waiting for you!

As the programs are rolling out in 2024, contact us here for more information.

Be sure to join our Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/groups/downsizingbabyboomers and please share with your Baby Boomer friends who might enjoy learning tips and tricks!

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