Working with Seniors who are downsizing is a treat. I get to hear stories about their families, personal mementos, special gatherings and trips, and even sometimes great love stories. All these stories are typically sparked by a letter, or a single piece of paper, or a note on a calendar, or a photo. The stories that are so special are not triggered by the blender or the tupperware or that 5th saucepan that they have stored deep in a lower cabinet and never use. In my mind, there is a decisive difference that can clearly be made between what to keep and what to pass on or donate. Many organizers use encouraging phrases such as, “do you love it”, “does it bring you great joy”, “when was the last time you used it”. These are all great questions, and I would add that if it is a letter that tells a story that is much more difficult to discard than a pink dress you wore to your child’s wedding and will never wear again. I often start Memento boxes for my clients and enjoy filling them up to the top with special treasures. Keep the mementos, but be discerning and realistic with your treasures and other belongings especially when downsizing. When we recently sent an email to our clients who had moved from large homes to retirement communities and asked them what advice they would give to people who are considering downsizing, the responses ranged from “people should give more thought and consideration to downsizing” “Just start, do it, and keep going because otherwise it becomes overwhelming” “I brought too much and now I am packing it up again to donate” “I wish I had used you to help me downsize and not just unpack, because I would have appreciated your advice and help sorting through belongings and truly downsizing” “start early and be ready to let go” “When I started I didn’t want to face the fact that I wouldn’t cook that often anymore, and now I find I am enjoying not cooking and could care less about all those dishes and pans I kept!” Keep the stories, keep the memories, keep a box or two of mementos, but an object or piece of clothing that doesn’t get used and doesn’t bring you great joy does not belong in your new life.