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When Bridge Forward teams work with clients to downsize in preparation for a move to a smaller home, printed photos often present a challenge. In many cases, they are scattered in boxes, bins and closets throughout the house, coming in all sorts of odd shapes and sizes. Frequently clients are unsure how to bring order to this treasure-trove of memories.

Based on our client experience, here’s what we recommend:

1. Purchase or order acid-free photo storage boxes. These boxes, also referred to as archival safe, are reasonable priced available through Amazon or craft stores. The acid-free boxes are free from chemicals that speed photo deterioration.

2. Find a spot in your house that you can leave messy for a few days. A dining room table works well and may even provide motivation to get this project done in a few days so that you can have your table back.

3. Gather ALL your photos into this area. Check the garage, attic, drawers, boxes, bins, and anywhere else you might have photos stashed away.

4. Separate special portraits from snapshots so that you can store these separately.

5. Determine time period categories for your snapshot photos. (i.e. middle school, high school, college, early adulthood, after kids). Group your photos into these categories. Don’t worry about trying to get the photos in perfect chronological order. You don’t want to get bogged down or discouraged.

6. While you are sorting, throw away duplicates, pictures that are over or under exposed and any others that are no longer meaningful.

7. Your photo boxes likely arrived with acid-free envelopes. Organize your photos by event (i.e. Yellowstone vacation 2019), label the envelopes and file them in the boxes.

8. Store your newly organized photo boxes away from sunlight in a cool, dry area.

9. If you have some photos that you now would like to arrange in albums, acid-free, three-ring photo sleeves also are available through Amazon or craft stores. It’s easy then to organize the pages in three-ring binders.

10. And, it you have remaining organizational energy, make up a box or photo album for each of your children or other close relative who would enjoy sharing these memories.

A Bridge Forward is a Milwaukee based move management company helping seniors, busy families and singles downsize, pack and move. We do the hard work including basements and garages. Learn more: https://www.bridgeforwardmoving.com/

If you are at the stage in life when you are thinking about moving to a smaller home, condo or apartment, the big question is: So, what do I do with all my stuff?

While overwhelming at first, the processes of downsizing and decluttering can be liberating. When you have fewer things, you have less to keep track of, less to clean and more physical and emotional space to live your life. For most of us, though, the hardest part is getting started.

Here are our favorite five tips for getting going:

1. Start with 5 minutes a day. Pick one drawer or other small area to clean out. Gradually add time as you gain momentum.

2. Grab a large trash bag and see how quickly you can fill it with things you could donate. Drop the bag off at your neighborhood charitable donation center.

3. Try the 12-12-12 method. Find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate and 12 items to give to a family member or friend. Put the throw away items in the trash immediately. Label bags or boxes for the other two categories and distribute or take to the donation center when they are full.

4. For larger areas, try the four-box method. Label four boxes: trash, give to relative or friend, donate and keep. Don’t skip anything, no matter how insignificant you may think it is. This may take time, but it will help you see how many items you really own and help you decide what stays and what goes.

5. Make a list of the clutter hot spots in your house. Give each space a grade based on the severity of the clutter. Prioritize starting with the easiest. Set a written completion date for each of the spaces.

Whichever method you use, avoid the maybe pile and only handle an item or piece of paper once (the OHIO rule). The less decisive you are, the higher the risk that you will justify keeping it.

Ready – Set – Go. Commit to one small step today. If you need help, A Bridge Forward is a full service move management company. We help seniors and busy families and singles declutter, downsize, pack, move and organize their new home. Check us out at BridgeForwardMoving.com.

  • lisa346

As more adults live into their 80s and 90s, a new reality emerges: For many, living out their years in a large, family home is no longer practical.

And once seniors or their families decide that a move into a smaller, more manageable apartment or condominium is best, many questions arise.

What is the best way to coordinate this complex move? How much furniture and belongings should they take? What do they do with all the stuff they can’t take?

Where do they start?

A growing industry has emerged to help seniors downsize, move and settle into a new home. Senior move managers are professionals with the expertise and resources to coordinate all aspects of the move, including planning the new space, downsizing, packing, overseeing movers, unpacking and organizing.

The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) supports the senior move manager business. The organization promotes industry ethics, a high level of professionalism and serves as a clearinghouse for information. Most reputable Senior Move Manager businesses are members of this association and agree to abide by its ethics and insurance standards.

If you are interested in learning more about Senior Move Managers or would like a free consultation, please contact Lisa Haynes at A Bridge Forward: 414-731-1608 or lisa@bridgeforwardmoving.com. A Bridge Forward is a member of NASMM and is insured and bonded.

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