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Before even planning to move to a more size appropriate home, serious decluttering should be your utmost priority.

Deciding which items to give up is a time-intensive process because of everything you want to keep - be it for sentimental reasons, or the belief that you’ll still be able to use them someday. It may take weeks of discussion before you and your spouse agree on keeping an old coffee table or donating some of your favorite kitchen appliances - so it's best to start early.

Remember that you don't need to declutter your entire home all in one day. Start with the easiest room to declutter, and work your way through your house carefully. Here's a simplified guide on how to tackle this seemingly daunting task.

A 3-Step Decluttering Guide For Empty Nesters Looking To Downsize

When decluttering, it’s best to keep your process simple: Label everything with Discard, Donate, or Sell. Everything that doesn't fall into these categories are the items worth keeping.

1. Discard the things that can no longer serve their purpose to anyone.

Most empty nesters find it hard to dispose of things that have been in the family home for a long time, even if they no longer serve their function and simply just take up space in a room. However, this will not serve you when you downsize, since you’ll be needing to use up space wisely.

2. Donate the things that you no longer use but can still be used by people who need them more.

Rummage through your things for spare clothes, kitchen supplies, and other usable items that no longer get used in your home. As a general rule, if you haven't used an item for more than a year, it's probably not important to you anymore. If you’re not comfortable selling them, give them away to friends or to relatives who may need them more.

3. Sell the things that you can’t just throw or give away.

Some of your stuff is just too expensive to give away, but keep in mind that not all of your antique furniture and large appliances may fit in your new home. Reassess the value of these items, or have an expert do it for you. Once you all agree on the prices, you can then put them up for sale. In this age, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can sell something online. The money you raise by selling some of your things can also be used to buy more appropriate replacements that can fit inside your new home.

Dealing with a newly-empty nest can be quite emotional and stressful, but getting rid of unnecessary clutter is a great way to be more positive about moving into this next phase of your life. Letting go of a few old things simply mean making room for new and better things.