A room full of dishes and utensils.

When I was downsizing, my motto was “every trash can full”. So every time garbage pick-up came around, I had to have all of my trash cans out – it didn’t matter whether they contained paper, things or whatnot. Every trash can had to be FULL. Setting that goal was my way to get the job done.

Nancy H.

Downsizing is a challenge – a task to be taken seriously and starting early is the key. Many of us have decades of accumulated belongings: framed diplomas from the past, Aunt Mildred’s tea set, photos and scrapbooks of trips taken, sets of china (a common problem) and other “stuff”. Our photos document the life of a family, affording us a trip down memory lane.


One person’s tip was to make three different piles – one to keep, one to donate or give away and one to get rid of. Another tried to deal with 10 items a day. A suggestion was to start with a closet, perhaps a linen closet, pare down to the basics and move on.

For a fee, there are experts who will ease the job in a big way.

Joan S.

I was ruthless and unforgiving during our downsizing (my husband claims that I was particular about his things). My idea was to shed everything that was not absolutely needed, so we took innumerable trips to the Salvation Army and Goodwill. There is also an employee auction at The Marshes where you can donate items. You should, however, try to do some downsizing in place so you don’t give away some of those items you love and will really miss. I am not talking about large items or crates of china and crystal with linens to match but those little things that could still hold some magic even though they may look oh so common and even tacky. Small clay sombrero from Mexico anyone?

Cottage Resident