Best Retirement Spots Healthy Safe Affordable

Thinking about retiring? Wondering where to locate? I’ve been in working/retired mode for several years now, and I regularly search for Best Places to Retire. It needs to be affordable, for sure, but I also have my list of amenities that are important. Everyone’s criteria is personal to them, but there are some items that are generally in demand.

Six amenities jump out at me, and they apply to locations here and abroad. Finding your ideal spot on the planet takes some research and a lot of thought. Let’s take a look at the six amenities I found that are priorities.

 

 

 

  1. Affordable – Wonderful spots can be found on nearly every continent, that offer comfortable living at a price you can afford. Google keywords like “retirement spots in the US” or “top ten places abroad”. Choose a few places to investigate, do the math, and start your list. If you will need to increase your cash flow, figure out how you’ll do that and get started before you move, if possible.
  2. Quality of life – This is highly subjective, of course, so give it a great deal of thought. Culture, outdoor adventures, arts and theater, heritage, food and restaurants, shopping, learning opportunities – are only a few of the amenities you may be seeking.
  3. Health – Are you healthy? Is there above average health care in this locality? Are the people who live there generally healthy? Find out about regional health issues and alerts.
  4. Social/Family – Getting acquainted with natives and ex- pats should be reasonably easy. Unless you choose to live in a remote area (your choice), meeting people can be done wherever folks gather. If you have family you want or need to visit often, this is a priority on your list. Accessibility/transportation should be close and relatively easy. An airport, train, good roads or whatever is required should be as hassle-free as possible.
  5. Weather/Climate – Do you want sunshine 300 days a year? I lived in Arizona for fifteen years and loved it. Summer heat had to be dealt with, but you’ll likely have to make some concessions wherever you land. Do you want change of seasons, winter sports, beach, woods, a garden, dry climate or lots of rain? Then there are tornadoes, hurricanes, monsoons and droughts. Aha! The plot thickens.
  6. Safe – The crime rate will be listed in good reports about retirement spots. The kind of crimes, what parts of the country, which cities and the safest places to live. Make careful notes.


Beaches Books History  Sunshine  Bicycles

This is the time to explore, visit some spots, ideally during different seasons, and soak up the flavor of everyday life.

Ask locals about health care and crime. Imagine settling down, seeing the sites and enjoying the amenities. Everyday life is different from a vacation, although it may take a while to realize it.

Do you need a car? How does everyone get around? How much living space do you need?

Picture yourself in various parts of the environment, downtown, off the beaten path, or in a beach house. Now imagine going grocery shopping.

The best retirement spot for you is where you can finally say, “This feels like home”. Whether you’ve chosen a place near or far, you can always change your mind. If you have a side hustle you can do anywhere, just pick up and go.

Remember to do your homework first. Hit the latest reviews on retirement spots around the world.

Job Growth For Women

 

The status of women, work and income is an ongoing and constantly changing theme in how America lives.

Previous to the start of WWII, only18-20% of women worked outside their home. Those who did work were mostly single women who worked as seamstresses, clerks, housekeepers and teachers.

However, the beginning of the 1900’s saw a growth surge of women taking jobs. Many women were seeking employment, fostering the establishment of the Women’s Trade Union League in 1903. It’s primary responsibility was to oversee working conditions. During WWI, women worked as mechanics, police officers and truck drivers.

Background

Workplace conditions continued to be a major concern, and on June 5, 1920, the US Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau was established.

In the early part of World War II, 143 women went to work in seven airplane factories. Eighteen months later, 65,000 women worked in those same factories. Yes, 65,000. During that war, women left jobs as clerks, seamstresses and teachers to find better paying jobs in factories. Women not only built airplanes and other war materials, they drove trucks and felled trees in the Northwest, becoming female lumberjacks.

Today

Today women comprise 47% of America’s workforce, according to Women and Work Current Facts and Reports from US Department of Labor Women’s Bureau Director Dr. Patricia Greene.

Changes in circumstances and opportunities reflect the attitudes toward and the value placed on women and work. Traditionally, women dominated certain industries and types of work, usually with lower pay. Today, that picture has changed considerably.

Advancements in opportunities for women have been hard won. A recent opportunity is an upswing in apprenticeships. The President’s Task Force on Apprenticeships in America is partnering with industries to expand the numbers of apprenticeship opportunities for women to Learn and Earn, giving them the background and skills to compete for these jobs. You can read all about it here. https://blog.dol.gov/2018/11/16/more-apprenticeships-more-opportunity

What Else Is New?

Affordable Day Care: To help mothers and fathers thrive in these and other opportunities, they must have access to quality, affordable childcare options. The President recently signed a federal budget to increase funding for the Childcare and Development Block Grants from $2.8 billion to $5.2 billion – the largest increase yet.

Business loans: Women entrepreneurs often have a difficult time obtaining a business loan. Recently, the Small Business Association increased their lending budget by $128 million for women-owned businesses.

Statistics: 70% of mothers with children under 18 are in the US labor force.

Mothers provide at least half of a family’s income in households with children under the age of 18.

Summary

Job growth takes time, and is an ongoing endeavor for women in America. The unemployment rate is at an all-time low, and training and education is opening up to prepare women to compete. Women still get paid about 20% less than men, things being equal. There are important issues that need to be addressed regarding the workplace, and the definition and value of “women’s work.”

 

 

 

 

The Money Tree How To Plant And Grow The Seed

We’ve all heard the statement, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” It was conveniently used to warn us, or admonish us, about our spending habits. Parents were especially good at throwing it out when the kids wanted something frivolous, like designer jeans or a TV in their room.

The truth is, there is no money tree. But there are ways to grow more dollars for your retirement fund, before or after you quit your job. Let’s face it. The fixed income most people have doesn’t keep up with inflation. And seniors are the fastest growing demographic. We need to plant that tree sooner, rather than later.

A simple but exact plan will give you an accurate picture of what you need. Today there are numerous ways for seniors to add cash to their wallets. The first step is to calculate your situation, so you can determine what options are right for you.

Steps to planting the seed.

You have to know all the facts.Financial picture

Get out your calculator, papers, statements, tax records, budgets, financial records, social security information, pensions – anything with information regarding your finances.

First, determine your assets. Exactly what do you have now and what comes in monthly? You can do this on your computer or use paper and pencil, but be diligent. This is tedious, so do it in steps – every evening for an hour, or whatever works. If you find yourself starting to guess at numbers, set it aside. This needs to be accurate.

Write down monthly income from every source. If numbers change from month to month, figure an average. Add totals, then multiply by 12. Enter in two columns – monthly and yearly. This is your basic work sheet.

Figure your expenses and list them in categories. These may be insurance, food, rent/mortgage, entertainment, travel, car expenses, etc. Decide on your own categories, but include everything. I go through my checkbook and credit card and bank statements. If I use cash, I jot down what I bought and include it. I know this sounds picky, but when you see at a glance where your money goes, you’ll have a better idea where you can save or tweak it.

The big picture. Go over your results carefully, and get a feel for what your interests and skills tell you.

 

 

Time To Plant The Seed

Outline several options for growing more money. In fact, take your time, and make notes. This is a huge, life-changing decision, so give your money tree the best possible start.

I know I hammered away at being very diligent, but there’s always room for tweaking and revising. The point is that you’ll devote a lot of time, energy and some money into your cash flow plans. The smoother it goes, the better.

Single women have issues to overcome that can derail them or hold them back. Many senior women are living on very limited budgets, and have less work/credit credentials than men. Getting a loan can be daunting. Here’s a link to a resource for you.

https://www.fundera.com/business-loans/guides/small-business-loans-for-women

You can begin your search for options right here on my website. Check out a couple of my other blog posts that give information and links to women’s issues and earning money. Here is the link to the website.

https://seniorwomenandmoney.com

Posts:

Women Startup Business Solutions – resources for getting money

Best Money Advice For Stressed Seniors – options for a cash flow

Best Part-Time Internet Job After Retirement – the many ways seniors can utilize their skills and interests

There are more. Just click on the above link and surf around.

When I realized I needed an income, I chose writing and affiliate marketing. I began by writing two books about grief and loss. Now I concentrate on blogging and copywriting. I concentrate on issues confronting seniors, as we retire and learn to embrace change. I love doing research and sharing it with everyone.

Affiliate marketing is a new learning curve. My training is with Wealthy Affiliate, a business that teaches, supports and connects people with businesses and with one another. I did a lot of research before I signed on, and find it to be positive, trustworthy and really excellent training. Lessons are on video, with hands-on assignments. The best way to learn and retain. Here’s a logo. If this business idea interests you, check it out. If you want a link, please contact me.

Growing the seed, once it’s planted, is all about being attentive and nurturing. Millions of retirees are in various stages of building businesses and adding cash to their retirement funds. It takes time, but the journey is worth it. You’re worth it!

If you found this post to be informative, give you ideas, encourage you, or if you have questions, please leave a note. I would love to hear from you.

Judy

Nutrition And You Do You Know What You Need?

Staying healthy is a serious concern for everyone, not just senior citizens. The amount of information on the subject is daunting. The list of concerns covers practically everything you do. For example:

  • What do you eat?
  • Do you exercise?
  • Do you get enough sleep?
  • Is there too much stress in your life?
  • Do you socialize?
  • Do you smoke? Drink Alcohol, coffee, sweetened drinks?
  • How many fruits and vegetables do you eat?
  • Do you eat red meat? Foods containing hormones, nitrites, or excessive salt?

Just the worry alone is bad for your health. Where do you go for factual information, not hype or advertising? The gradual changeover in grocery stores is a good example of giving people choices about what they consume. Categories of produce and meat and fish products abound, such as organic foods, whole foods, farmer’s markets, hormone-free, gluten-free, low salt, no sugar, no artificial color – the list goes on.

I love to shop at a farmer’s market or fresh foods store. The price is certainly right and I trust that it’s nutritious. By that, I mean that it still retains the vitamins and minerals and has no extra additives. And I drink a lot of water.

I also take a multivitamin every day. Have for years. I’m healthy. As I’ve said, I eat well, but I consider my vitamin pill as essential as brushing my teeth. Some people take oodles of supplements, and others take none. Both may be equally healthy or not. I take it because it’s extra insurance. Once in a while, I eat junk. And staying healthy is a priority. Wellness is 100% better than illness, so I pop my pill and start my day.

Whether to take supplementary nutrition is a very personal choice, based on your values and preferences. Eating good food is, by far, the best choice of all. I say this because the cost of groceries – like everything else – goes up. Getting the most bang for the buck means meeting your daily nutritional needs. Here are a few resources to check out.

https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/benefits/food-and-nutrition/senior-nutrition/

https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/life-stages/seniors

https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/nutrition-for-seniors#1

http://www.ascseniorcare.com/nutrition-for-seniors/

Talking to your doctor may give you nutritional guidelines for your age, activity level, weight and overall health picture. You can surf around the internet and come up with websites in addition to the ones I have linked here. There are hundreds of recipe websites that encourage good eating.

I hope this post has given you ideas that you can use. I would love for you to share any “good eating” ideas or stories you have. Please use the comments box to connect.

 

How Women Travel Today

Women are traveling today in record numbers. They globe-trot, sight-see their own country, or they may just venture to the county next door. Some women go it alone, others like a group. Whatever the particulars, traveling light and, at the same time, having everything you need, takes some strategizing before you ever leave home.

After you’ve decided on the destination, booked the tickets and outlined your itinerary, the most important thing is to determine what to take and how to get it there. Once upon a time, people who traveled took large suitcases and trunks. Of course, many of these people were wealthy and had help. Today’s traveler is on their own. Even if you are with a group, your stuff is your responsibility.

Personally, I’ve had a backpack for years. The first time I strapped it on and walked through the airport, carrying only a purse, I knew it was a winner. While walking or standing, it freed up both hands to dig in my purse for paperwork, or money for a purchase. Sitting at the gate, it rests at my feet, and I can easily grab my computer, a book or a sweater.

What do you require?

No matter where you’re going or for how long, there are a few imperatives regarding your belongings.

  1. Safety – Anti-theft locks and closures are a must.
  2. Comfort and convenience – A backpack is easier to carry than a hand-held bag. There’s support from larger muscles. It’s also more convenient because it not only frees up your hands, you won’t set it down and forget it.
  3. Economy – Buy exactly what you need. No more, no less. Frills are a waste of money.
  4. Quality – Any kind of travel/mobility is hard on luggage and carry items. Lightweight and tough as nails is ideal for longevity.

How to get your money’s worth.

There are hundreds of types of backpacks, with numerous functions for the user. An item that started its life as a durable piece of cloth with straps, the backpack has taken center stage. There are packs for hiking, weekend trips and 2+month excursions around the planet. It’s important to do a little research to make sure you purchase exactly what you want and need. Today, packs are made to last forever. The saying, “You get what you pay for” is 100% true here.

Women, in particular, need to be fitted for a good travel backpack. Height, frame and condition are priorities for choosing your backpack. It may be on your back nearly every day of your trip. A pack that has a removable day pack here is ideal.

How active are you in your daily life? Do you exercise – in a gym, at home, walk around the neighborhood? Actually, being active doesn’t mean 3 hours of cardios. But too much sitting isn’t good. Readiness for any kind of activity means get in shape early.

If you are an experienced traveler, you probably know the drill for sight-seeing all day, or hiking the trails. I’d love to hear your stories – good, bad, funny, scary.

If you’re new to traveling, check out the websites I’ve listed in my previous post, Senior Women Traveling Alone, on this website. And leave comments or questions, please. We’ll find someone with the answers.


Women Startup Business Solutions

Women as entrepreneurs are making impressive strides in their endeavor to earn, gain independence and compete for recognition in the business world. According to the US Department of Labor blog (March 1, 2017), there are 74.6 million women in the civilian labor force. Women own close to 10 million businesses.

The reasons for these statistics are well-known. The movement, known as Feminism, revved up to full gear in the middle of the 20th century. Groups and organizations formed to educate, support and give legal counsel to women, as a means to end discrimination and inequality.

Today, more women than men have a college education and earn graduate degrees. And they still earn about 20% less than men. A featured article by Kerry Hannon, Entrepreneurship Expert, on Next Avenue (October 5, 2017) states that women over 50 have distinct advantages as business owners. Let’s take a look at the problems and issues women face, and see what the real picture looks like.

Can I Run A Business?

Many women have worked in business jobs for years, often in decision-making and management positions. Understanding how things work, organizing a department, assigning work loads and dealing with people yield skills and experience that are essential to running a business. These same skills are acquired in numerous work areas. Education, creative workplaces, volunteer jobs, military and managing a home and family challenge women to learn, grow and accomplish. Applying those skills has given enormous opportunities to women who use what they know and ask when they’re stumped.

Where Do I Get Cash?

Women who have acquired funds through a 401k, IRA, or other retirement funds have some money to start a business. Keeping it running is the issue. Women find it much harder to get a loan than men. The Small Business Administration will guide you through the application process and help you get a loan. Having a solid business plan, evidence of profit, and determination are core requirements for success. This is only a general overview, but the list of lenders and resources is long. Check these out and do a little more research if you need to.

 

www.lendingtree.com/Business-Loans/Women

https://www.forbes.com/sites/.

https://www.sba.com/funding-a-business/small-business-loans-for-women/

https://us.accion.org/resource/free-online-resources-women-owned-businesses/

www.ewomennetwork.com

https://www.womanowned.com/

Networking

Possibly the best thing you can do is to join a few organizations. This can be online or in person. Check out Meetups in the library, or ask other business owners about support groups. The local Chamber of Commerce is loaded with ideas and suggestions for business owners. They also put on events for all aspects of business and marketing.

A startup needs tending like a newborn baby. There are solutions both on and off the internet. Older women have experience and persistence on their side.

Go for it.

 

 

 

Solutions to Health Issues Good Habits

As we age, health issues for men and women are similar. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis to name a few. As a matter of fact, heart disease now affects as many women as men. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for women around the globe. At the same time, reproductive health for American women is lower than that of nearly every other high-income country. Two to three women die of pregnancy complications every day in America. Being mindful of wellness measures is the best solution to maintaining good health.

Maintaining Health Habits

In a previous blog post, Women’s Health: The Cost of Wellness, I mention that the best solution to maintaining good health is to follow a few personal habits. That, along with regular appointments with your doctor, will allow you to feel and be well. There’s a consensus on those habits that are necessary for wellness and a long life.

The Women and Health Initiative of the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health has offered this suggestion for a healthy and long life. Studies reveal that it’s wise to follow these five habits.

  1. Eat a healthy diet.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Maintain a healthy body weight.
  4. Limit alcohol consumption.
  5. Do not smoke.

The Harvard Healthy Eating Plate is an excellent resource to remind us of what healthy eating is really all about. I cannot include a link without getting written permission. However, it is easily found using Google, and I recommend it highly. After decades of unhealthy eating – too much salt, sugar, red meat, desserts and saturated fats – our society is returning to common sense good – and good for you – food. You really are what you eat.

Relevant Questions

  1. What do I actually eat? Your favorites go on your permanent shopping list. You don’t have to force-feed foods you hate.
  2. How much am I spending for groceries? Do you shop once a week? Every few days? Run to the store because “there’s nothing to eat”? Meaning nothing I like?
  3. Do I look and feel well? Item # 3 above fits right into this pattern. Maintaining a healthy weight is difficult. If you don’t like the way you look or feel, make some changes.

The best diet is the one that keeps you well. I don’t count calories or beat myself up if I have a gooey dessert once in a while. But I strive for balance. I eat more for breakfast and lunch, then keep dinner simple.

Where you take meals is also important. Eating at home, eating out, cooking for yourself or for others weighs in and usually changes what’s on your dinner plate and how much. Writing down what you eat is recommended by many. I don’t keep a food journal, but I give some thought to these facts.

Supplements have been a huge topic for decades, and it has pros and cons. I take a daily vitamin. Even though I eat well, sometimes I skip a meal, don’t feel well, or know my fuel is running low. My Reviews and Recommendations page has information about the vitamin I take. If you’re curious, take a look. The most important fact here is that you should get almost all of your nutrition from food.

I’m always open to ideas, questions,comments or stories from readers. Nutrition is a worthy topic for an open diaogue. Would love to hear from you.

Judy

Best Part Time Internet Job After Retirement

The good news is that you can find a great part-time job just by looking on the internet. The not so good news is that there are thousands of sites and types of jobs from which to choose. It takes some researching and probably note-taking before you decide which is best for you. Actually, it depends on why you are looking for a job. Though 72% of seniors plan and expect to work in retirement, some really need the money and others are looking for something meaningful to do.

According to an article in Nation – Part-time internet jobs for seniors (3/16/2018), there are many reasons why retirees are job-seeking. Money is only one of them. Others include feeling productive, interacting with people, and learning new things. Each individual has his/her own reasons for wanting to work.

All the studies and statistics I’ve seen confirm the fact that this generation’s retirement isn’t like any other. People are healthier, living longer and have more options for leisure and activities. Unfortunately, that old question, “Will you outlive your money”? is likely to come true. There are many ways to earn extra cash today, but if you want to find the best one for you, whether it be full or part-time, some research is necessary.

Part Time Jobs You Can Start Now

The internet has an infinite number of possibilities for making money. A home-based business can be set up in a matter of days or weeks. A website, a blog or newsletter, a product(s) and you’re good to go. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Millions of people do it every day. The catch is that it isn’t really the slam dunk some want you to think. It does take time, thought and some computer know-how. Depending on your final choice, there’s usually a certain amount of old-fashioned work before it’s profitable.

The choices break down into several categories. Generally, you can sign on with a company that researches and publishes lists of jobs you do from home, or possibly commute occasionally. The hour and pay are spelled out – 35 hours or less is considered part-time. A Google search turned up a long list, including Flexjobs, Indeed, Surejob, Dreamhomebasedwork and Moneyconnexion, and there are more. The number of jobs was plentiful and the navigation on the websites fairly easy. There was a wide range of jobs from which to choose, with education and experience stated.

On the other hand, there are an unlimited number of businesses you can start on the internet, using your skills, interests and experience. Information as a product is extremely popular right now. If you are an expert on something, you can write about it, teach, coach, make audio books, ebooks or video tutorials. And if sales is your thing, Ebay, Etsy, Shopify, Amazon, Upwork or 99Designs have programs. The list is endless and simply requires you to start searching on the internet to find your best job.

Programs – Time and Money

As retirees, we have experience, time and (hopefully) patience. Look very carefully at any programs that offer to help you make money. Though many are sincere, it’s also important to look at the actual lessons and format by which you learn. It should be specific enough that there’s no guesswork. Also, don’t buy a tutorial unless you can see samples for free and give it a try. It depends on your learning curve, computer skills and how you follow up on the instructions. There should also be a way to ask questions and request help when you need it.

Write a business plan for yourself, contact the Chamber of Commerce where you live, and find good resources. Take your time in making a decision. You’re retired.

Retired And Cash Strapped? Best Ways To Earn Money

Once upon a time, people retired with a gold watch, a party and thoughts of leisure activities dancing in their heads. But the truth is, most retirees today find that they have underfunded this time of life. What does the older generation do when they’re strapped for cash?

Perhaps a cruise was in the works, and golf games penciled in on the calendar. Plenty of time for all those books waiting to be read. Visits to grandchildren and leisure travel anticipated. How many people include Ways to Earn Money on their retirement wish lists?

An article by Susan Ward (12/27/2017, Best Business Opportunities for Retirees – the Balance), states what many seniors discover, “Retirement is expensive”.

Options for Earning –  Home-Based Businesses

Hobbies, interests and experience fall into this category. Is there something you love to do? Something you’re good at? Crafts, needle art, woodworking, painting – pictures or walls, fixing cars and/or appliances, cooking/baking are all skills that can be turned into home businesses. The list goes on:

  • Chauffeur – drive people who no longer can or wish to drive a car.
  • Child care – a few hours or all day.
  • Pet walking/sitting – your house or theirs. You and the dog both get some exercise.
  • Tax and budget services – you may need training and you could work for an established company instead of starting your own business.
  • Tutoring – some credentials may be required, but you could decide what subjects you wish to teach.
  • Teaching – there are many opportunities for adult education. Foreign languages, English as a second lnguage, any subject in which you have considerable knowledge. Sports – golf, tennis, etc., speciality foods, quilting, embroidery, needlepoint – and the list goes on.

As a matter of fact, retirees have an edge on creating streams of income. We have experience. Every one of us probably could set up more than one small business and start the cash flowing. The internet is loaded with websites and ideas for throwing your hat in the ring.

Getting Started

Write a business plan. You need to have goals. Join the Chamber of Commerce for information and support.

Check the market. What are people talking about? Find a need and fill it.

Do what you like and what you’re good at. This should be pure joy, not drudgery.

How To Downsize Your House

There are various names for the process of downsizing: declutter, assign value, let go, make three piles. There are probably more terms, but what it amounts to is getting rid of stuff. We’re a consumer society. We work, we earn, we buy. And whether our purchases are necessities or likeables, after a few years there’s just too much stuff. Most realtors will confirm that we can’t have too many closets or storage areas.

When I moved from Minnesota to Arizona in 2002, the moving van was nearly full. Last month I moved from Sun City West to Scottsdale. Two Men and a Truck brought 26 boxes, 2 chairs and a bicycle. Whew!

I’ve been downsizing for quite awhile. I tossed some things without batting an eyelash. But I felt some pain in letting go of a few things I really liked. There was no particular sentimental value or usefulness to the item. I just liked it. Now someone else is hopefully enjoying it. My guiding light was to keep reminding myself that sharing is a good thing.

The necessity of “getting rid of”

There’s a logical reason for disposing of some of our belongings. Clothes are out of style or no longer fit. Or they’re worn out. Redecorating means out with that sofa you once loved and in with the new. Toys, athletic equipment, hobby materials, kids’ stuff – whatever has filled those closets, storage areas, basement and the garage – needs triage.

If you move, for any reason, you can choose to take it with you, or not. Things to consider:

  1. Will it fit where you’re going?
  2. Will you still need it? Ice skates in Atlanta? Maybe
  3. Is the furniture suitable for the new rooms? Size? Style?
  4. Why are you moving? Kids gone? Job change? Retiring? How much cooking will you be doing? Do you need two cars? How many rooms are you furnishing?

If you’re not moving but simply want to declutter, make a plan. This doesn’t have to be done in three weekends.

A system for keeping/tossing

My plan started with unopened boxes of items I hadn’t looked at for months/years. It doesn’ mean you’ll get rid of all of it. It does mean you don’t use it every day. Sometimes you can decide at first glance what to do. “Why did I ever save this”? is pretty clear. Don’t need it. Don’t want it.

There’s a temptation to close the box, label it “get rid of” and move on. Get rid of it now. In the next few days, look for other “get rid of” things, decide if it’s sell, donate, or trash and just do it. Set up an account on a website where you can sell your stuff. Ebay and Craig’s List come to mind, but there are many more sites emerging. I Googled Sites for selling unwanted items and turned up many suggestions. You can take a look at each one, get recommended lists from users, or enter the name of the item you want to sell. A little research will give you loads of ideas.

The stuff you haven’t seen or used in decades is only a start. It gets personal when you look in closets or on shelves, bookcases, end tables, etc. We have favorite pieces of clothing that just can’t be discarded. Some knick knacks, gifts and family items passed down are things held dear and must be kept. Your home isn’t just a repository, it’s who you are and what you really value.

A good plan for the personal items starts with memories. Where did it come from? Was it a gift from a cherished friend? Was it passed down to you through the family? I have a small vase that was carried from Germany by our first immigrant, 19 year old Dorothea, when her family sent her to make our footprint in America. It’s handed down to first daughters. I have it now, and will be giving it to my oldest daughter soon. Perhaps a child made somehing for you and it’s unthinkable to dispose of it. Instead of a cardboard box for its home, get a nice keepsake box and store those items on a shelf where they’re easily accessable.

The psychology of giving.

Things you sell online will be purchased by someone who wants it. Your buyer has been looking for it, likes it and is willing to pay for it. It won’t end up in a land fill, at least not yet. If an item is too worn to sell but still has some life in it, donate it. There are also various sites for free items. I had a bicycle (before this one) that I couldn’t sell. I listed it on FreeCycle and gave it to a teacher who could walk to school, but occasionally wanted to bike.

Some items demand a decent price. Nice art work, expensive glassware or decorative items can be consigned. Also furniture. Look carefully at consignment shops, read their terms, visit the store and see how mechandise is displayed. Also, how consignees are treated and how customers are helped.

I found a place I was comfortable with and consigned my special things. It’s still in the works and I’m pleased, so far, with the results.

The heart of the matter.

In many households, there are belongings that can be given to family members. Either it was theirs to begin with, or it’s about an aspect of their life. School papers, toys and stuffed animals, sports equipment, gifts from immediate family or hobbies that didn’t stand the test of time. Talk it over and ask what they want to keep. Be honest about what will happen to it if they no longer want it. Then box it up and send it.

Gifting things to friends falls into this category. Perhaps there’s something someone has aways admired. Ask if they would like to have it. Maybe yes, maybe no. But ask.

Neighbors may be happy to take your old tools, lawn mowers, what have you. Be creative. Think of ways to downsize your house, without feeling that you’re throwing out the baby with the bath water. We’re really talking of downsizing your life. It’s not pain-free. Take pictures of everything you want to remember.

Say hello to your new life.

Purging is really the beginning of something new. Things change. Reinventing yourself happens by accident or design. Better that you have time to manage it the way you want it to be. Everyone has had to give up some things they really wanted to keep.

I invite you to share your stories here, tell us how you were able to let go, what was painful or how a gift made someone happy.

I wish you well,

Judy