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

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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 A Bridge Forward is a member of NASMM and is insured and bonded.

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