Category Archives: Downsizing

The Case for Swedish Death Cleaning

A bestselling book argues for a new approach to decluttering. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Shayla Stern for Next Avenue

Although I’ve never visited Sweden, I find myself attracted to simple, clean-lined architecture and furniture. I love Swedish pop music. And herring. Plus, I live in Minnesota, with our cold but beautiful winters where I (a short brunette) am surrounded by tall blonde people.

It’s no surprise to me that I would also be drawn to another Swedish import of a darker nature: Swedish death cleaning.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson

Swedish death cleaning, or döstädning, is the premise of a recent best-selling book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson — a Swedish artist and author who is “between 80 and 100,” and quite charmingly reflective about her life and the things surrounding her. read more

8 Ways to Preserve Your Family Memories

How to save precious images so future generations can enjoy them [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Claire Zulkey for Next Avenue

Does that box of unsorted family photos in your closet give you a gnawing feeling? Always wonder what you’re supposed to do with your old slides? Make it a winter project to organize and annotate your family images and records, not just for your current family but for future generations.

After all, said genealogy consultant Maureen “The Photo Detective” Taylor, “It’s your identity. It’s who you are. And you can’t see where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” read more

How to Leave an Inheritance Without Causing Grief

A family wealth expert offers advice for parents. [Photo credit:
Adobe Stock]

By Amy Castoro, financial adviser

“I give them a $20,000 gift and I don’t get a thank you?” Sound familiar? The dollar amount may vary, but the frustration is the same. More and more people are frustrated and confounded at the lack of appreciation they experience when passing along their wealth to their children and grandchildren.

They worked hard for their money because they wanted to give their kids and grandkids a better life. But these generous people are realizing that their wealth is causing them more grief than gain. read more

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Mental Health

Woman with a peaceful expression tilts head upward in a forest, basking in rays of sunlight

Resolve to focus on taking care of yourself, beginning now [Photo credit: Getty]

By Patricia Corrigan for Next Avenue

Eating less and exercising more are likely on many a to-do list for 2017. But in between meals and after working out, we all can identify ways to improve our mental health as well. Below are seven new year’s resolutions I’ve devised to help me take better care of myself in 2017. What are yours?

1. Adjust the settings. While fixing my leaky faucet, the plumber blurted out: “I’ve lost my passion for this work. I’ve been at it for so long, and the passion just isn’t there anymore.” read more

3 Aging Decisions to Make Before Someone Does for You

Senior woman at the steering wheel of a car

Even if we need to give things up, we can still decide when and how. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Debbie Reslock for Next Avenue

Sometimes, growing older feels like one loss after another. No longer being able to drive or stay in our own home is difficult to accept. If we feel we are forced into those decisions, it can be harder still.

Yet when we put off making the decisions ourselves, others are pressed to step in. On the other hand, when we understand what we’re afraid of, we’re able to discover options that can alleviate the fear and take responsibility for the decisions that are truly ours to make. Here are three aging decisions to make before someone makes them for you: read more

4 Ways to Donate to Charity Without Writing a Check

These ideas can help you de-clutter your home and earn a tax write-off

By Ashley Eneriz for Next Avenue

People carry boxes of donated items

Want to make a difference, but the budget doesn’t allow? Consider donating something other than cash. [Photo credit: Getty Images]

When it comes to donating to charity, sometimes our budgets don’t allow us to be as generous as we we’d like. But you needn’t always open your wallet to help others. Here are four ways to give back that don’t involve writing a check or making a credit-card donation. As a bonus, you might even declutter your home and earn a tax-write off.

Donate Your Clothes to Job Seekers

Have a few suits or pieces of professional wear hanging in your closet that you’re tired of wearing? Donate them to charity so someone looking for a job can wear them and make a great impression. read more

30-day declutter challenge: What I’ve learned

Halfway through, I’ve got a pile of junk and gained some wisdom, too

By Liza Kaufman Hogan for Next Avenue

decluttering-web

I used to be able to put all of my belongings in a 1985 Honda Accord and still see out the back.

Now, I can barely see out of some of the windows of our four-bedroom house. What happened?!

Here’s what happened: Marriage, kids, dogs, hobbies, a reluctance to let things go and years of living in progressively larger apartments where I could stash the stuff without having to look at it.

Now that I’m turning 50, it’s time to take stock and get rid of some stock. On Aug. 1, I decided to take the Next Avenue 30-Day Declutter Challenge, getting rid of one item on Day 1, two on Day 2, and so forth for 30 days. read more

Getting rid of possessions: It’s harder than you think

Since the process is partly psychological, here’s how to prepare

By Harriet Edleson for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

If you’re ready to move to a smaller space or think you might want to downsize in the not-too-distant future, take a deep breath and start planning.

It’s a much bigger task than you’ll ever imagine, partly because the process entails far more than just deciding which possessions to keep and which to toss.

Most people acquire things over a lifetime — one decade, year, month or day at a time. Through the years, possessions from clothes to decorative arts can accumulate: Flexible Flyer sleds tucked away in the basement crawl space; bridesmaid’s or flower girl dresses stored in closets; Valentines, birthday cards and other personal correspondence stashed in night table drawers. read more

Give elders and their caregivers the support they deserve

This Influencer In Aging says changes are vital as the nation gets older

By Ai-jen Poo for Next Avenue

Support-web

Editor’s note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging. Here, Ai-jen Poo, one of the Influencers, discusses the importance of caring for our nation’s caregivers.

Every day, at least 10,000 Americans turn 65. When we imagine the future, most of us envision ourselves living life on our own terms, in our homes and communities, connected to the people we love, even as we become more frail. As Atul Gawande, Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencer of the Year, so eloquently put it, we want to continue to be “the authors of our own stories” as we age. read more