“I ask people to be really practical
and honest with themselves about what
they need moving forward,” she says.
“You can say to yourself, ‘Does this item
function for me? Do I love it? Does it
It’s often helpful to start by going
through each space and determining the
absolutes—items that will absolutely be
kept, and items that can absolutely go.
Quick wins will help build momentum.
“Don’t start with the photo albums and
mementos,” she says. “It’s really easy
to get bogged down with those and get
worn out. I usually recommend people
pack them and deal with them at the
The idea of getting a jump on
downsizing was recently popularized by
Margareta Magnusson in her 2018 book,
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.
Death cleaning “means that you
remove unnecessary things and make
your home nice and orderly when you
think the time is coming closer for you to
leave the planet,” she writes.
“Do not ever imagine that anyone will
wish—or be able—to schedule time off
to take care of what you didn’t bother
to take care of yourself. No matter how
much they love you, don’t leave this
burden to them.”
You need not wait until your earthly
departure date nears to reap the benefits
of Swedish death cleaning. Moving to a
smaller residence is one obvious time for
culling your belongings.
There are many strategies for getting
rid of things. Giving them away to
individual family members is a common
practice, but Beliveau says it’s a good
idea to put a deadline on when they
take possession in order to show visible
progress in the downsizing.
“‘Free’ is a magic word when you’re
looking to get rid of things,” she says.
Some agencies will do free neighbourhood
pickups, and friends and family can be
enlisted to pick up and drop off giveaway
items at appropriate locations.
You can also earn a dollar or two on
items you don’t want to give away. Using
an online classified advertising service
such as Kijiji is one option, but you can
also have an estate sale while you’re
alive. Beliveau says some clients use that
strategy to cover the moving costs.
Without a doubt, the most important
key to a successful move is giving
yourself as much time as possible.
“The more time, the better. It’s a very
demanding process,” she says. “Seniors
can wind up burning out.”
Staying focused on the bigger
picture—such as why a move is the best
decision, and the positive changes that
will result—helps to offset the short-
term pain of downsizing. Once you have
successfully moved out, you can start to
Half of all Albertans live paycheque to paycheque. So when an unplanned financial setback
hits, it typically doesn’t fit into the budget. So it goes on credit. Then it happens again. You
might even find yourself having a hard time sleeping at some point, wondering how you’ll
get ahead of this debt. Luckily, as an Alberta resident, you have someone to reach out to
– someone who can help. At Money Mentors you can meet with an understanding credit
counsellor for free advice. Only Money Mentors provides the federally legislated Orderly
Payment of Debts Program which addresses ALL of your debt, even government debt.
Visit us at MoneyMentors.ca
To have good health you need more sleep.
To get more sleep you need less debt.
For tips on handling stress, visit
myhealth.alberta.ca and search for