Baby boomers approaching retirement age look at their empty nests and wonder how much longer they need to be tied down to their big home with a big yard and a garage with two cars. After a while, it just gets to be too much, keeping up with everything. That's when it occurs to them that it could be time to actually begin paring down on the non-essential, downsizing as it were. A home built for a full life though can be quite overwhelming even to downsize. What they want is to sift through everything they have and to end up with just enough that would fit into a small apartment in a retirement community. To anyone who understands how boomers lived, it's easy to see how any project to clear clutter can be overwhelming.

For the most part, baby boomers were really close to their children. They never threw away anything that their children made - pictures, art projects, scrap books. And they were known to be kind of over-careful. They never threw away any kind of paper record. It was just the way things were in those days - no one felt safe throwing away any kind of record that might be of use one day. Here are a few tips that anyone who needs to clear clutter and downsize can use.

Starting out with a whole project a clear clutter doesn't have to be overwhelming. All you need to do is to forget about the size of the entire undertaking, and concentrate on getting it right one step at a time. Start with the smallest room, the one with the least amount of stuff. Clearing that out, it should be easy to work out some kind of system for how to keep things and how to throw them away. Clutter doesn't necessarily have to be receipts and books. It could be furniture too. Consider a yard sale for all the furniture in your home that you plan to clear out. You might want to give some away to your children of course, but the rest absolutely needs to go. One way to clear a lot of stuff out is usually to call the children in and ask them to take away whatever they want. Anything that's been kept in memory of their childhood, will rightfully belong with them. That would include sentimental possessions like your children's first clothes, their childhood toys and the like.

Lots of people have endless collections of books and old magazines. It would be a good idea to donate them. There are lots of senior centers happy to have collections of books and magazines. Kitchenware, garden tools and the like, clothes from a long time ago, can all go into your garden sale. To clear clutter is a liberating feeling. You no longer have to worry about the tons of stuff that you carried around for a lifetime. It'll take time to mentally let go of all of this that you've grown attached to. But there is no hurry.