Preserve Your Memories While Downsizing Your Home

Deciding what to keep, sell, or donate

At different times in life, we find ourselves reorganizing our living space or downsizing. You may be an empty nester or a senior moving to a smaller home. Memories are attached to everything from furniture to linens, and decisions need to be made, but you don’t have to make them alone. The sooner you start, the easier it will be to make your move.

Preparing to Move

Time and effort go into deciding what to keep or toss as you uncover forgotten treasures and declutter your space. Children and siblings can work together to sort through everyday items as well as family heirlooms. You’ll set aside things you no longer need or use for a garage sale, estate sale, or charitable donation. What is left needs to fit neatly into your new place.

How much furniture, household items, and treasures you take with you requires taking measurements in your new home and good organizational skills. If you or your family need help with maximizing your space, take advantage of moving and organizing services such as:

Plan Your Space

When downsizing, the best way to make a smaller place more comfortable is to make sure the storage space you have is dedicated to essential items that you use regularly. Companies like the Closet Factory have shelving, hooks, and racks designed to work together to maximize space. You can narrow down what is necessary by asking some questions:

  1. Is your new home already furnished? Family members may want to photograph favorite furniture pieces for mementos or keep them. They can be stored, donated, or sold for your living expenses.
  2. Do you have duplicate kitchen tools and linens? If you have multiple sets of dishware, serving platters, bowls, utensils, and linens, some may be handed down, preserved, donated, or sold.
  3. What should you do with extra sets of bathroom towels and toiletries? Some items can be offered to others when they are still new or in good condition. Others must be tossed.
  4. Do you have additional bedding? Choose your favorite bedding sets and store, donate, or offer others to family. You may have a handmade quilt, pillows, or throws to be preserved or displayed.
  5. What should you do with extra clothing in your closet? They could be useful to others. Formal clothing and casual wear that no longer fit, costumes you couldn’t bear to throw out, rarely used extra coats, hats, and shoes in good condition can all be donated to local charities.
  6. Have you gone through outdoor items? You may not need your car if you rarely drive anymore and the new place has conveniences nearby. Lawnmowers, gardening supplies, tools, patio furniture, or whatever sits in your garage or shed may no longer be useful. If family or friends don’t need them, donate or sell them.
  7. How many old electronic devices, computers, fax machines, printers, or cameras do you have? Some of these must be properly recycled to ensure privacy of personal data. Some equipment is repurposed and reused. Be sure to remove important files and store them in a safe place.
  8. Do you have keepsakes, photos, home movies, paperwork, and financial records to store? Significant documents and collectible items need to be reviewed to decide what to keep or archive for the future.

What to keep, sell, or donate to family or nonprofits

Whether you keep, sell, or donate anything depends on sentimental or monetary worth. If something has a dollar value, you may choose to sell it or donate it depending on what makes the most sense. Estate sales can be handled for you, but they take 30 to 40% in commissions to advertise the sale and get top dollar. Garage sales make more money, but take more effort. Whatever doesn’t sell can be tossed or donated.

  • Gone for Good will haul your items away, recycle them, or resell them in their thrift store.
  • Goodwill accepts donations at multiple store locations in your area. Know the fair market value of your contributions and deduct it from your taxes under charitable contributions.
  • Blue Star Recyclers safely dispose of computer files and recycle equipment while creating jobs for people with disabilities.
  • Streamline Organizing focuses on efficiency by helping you create systems for financial and digital organizing, time and paper management, and creating a system for safely tracking essential documents.  
  • Xpress Shred comes to your location to safely dispose of personal documents, including hard drives and magnetic media.

Create a photo inventory. It comes in handy when you want to donate to local companies like shared office spaces, theater groups, or community centers. You can take pictures with you to see if they can use them first. Photos of the belonging you decide to keep help to stay organized during and after your move. It’s helpful when you want to:

  • Keep records of belongings with sentimental value
  • Document valuable items for insurance purposes
  • Preserve prints, financial, and historical documents to keep or share with family
  • Save favorite cookbooks and recipes, including holiday meals and desserts

Family Legacy

After separating mementos (keepsakes and souvenirs), memorabilia (historical documents on family members, friends, events, and places), and photos (traditional prints, digital images, photo albums and frames), Picture This Organizing helps convert fragile paperwork, prints, collectibles, and art to digital files by scanning or photographing them. This preserves them to be shared by future generations. The originals can then be stored safely by friends and family.

You may have a lifetime of photos, memorabilia, and digital images stored on digital devices, boxes, or containers. We share the best ways to organize and select the best copies to preserve.

  • Print Photos (traditional film prints, albums, framed items)
  • Memorabilia (historical documentation of family members and events)
  • Digital items (CDs, SD Cards, laptops, external hard drives)

There are many ways Picture This Organized can help our clients. We offer to work remotely using video calls, phone calls, transferring digital files, or mailing your collections. We create family websites to update images and share them as often as you like. Most of all, we love talking about what we do and offer answers to common questions about photo management so you can decide which projects to tackle on your own or with the help of experts. Contact us if you are downsizing, moving, or reorganizing!

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