Downsizing can be both an exhilarating and overwhelming experience. After all, no matter how ready you are to simplify your life and pare down your belongings, most of the things we own come with memories of times and people who matter to us.

Preparing to downsize can be stressful, but if you take your time, get back to basics and include your loved ones and a few professionals in your process, it can truly be a positive experience that prepares you for your next phase of life.

Here are simple tips to help you downsize and declutter, so you can happily make your move to your smaller, new apartment or townhome.

Start With What You Need
Moving can be overwhelming, so start small by going room by room and identifying the items that you absolutely need. You may want to make a master moving list, and begin by identifying these items at the top. They may include furnishings like your bed, dresser, dining table and living room furniture. They may also include cherished memorabilia, heirlooms and keepsakes, like photo albums, jewelry and artwork.

Find New Homes for the Items You Love
Once you reach the point of identifying items that you love but won’t be able to take with you, it’s time to reach out to loved ones and find new homes for these treasures. Adult children, close family friends and longtime neighbors can give your cherished belongings good homes, and it’ll give you peace of mind knowing that they’ve gone to places and people you love.

Give, Sell, Donate, Trash
Let’s face it, you likely own at least a few items that don’t get used and you aren’t deeply attached to. Determine whether you’d like to give these away, sell them, donate them or toss them, depending on their condition, value and your own personal preferences. Unloading unused waffle irons, boxes of unused photo frames or old bedding and linens can truly lighten your load and make your move simpler, faster and less expensive.

Take Your Time
Give yourself extra time to move through the planning process. Moving can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when it comes with saying goodbye to a longtime home or items you’ve owned for decades. Make a schedule and plan out your move so that you can emotionally process as you go. It’ll help you to move into your new home with a clear head and open heart.

Consult a Professional With Antiques or Collectibles
Some of your antiques and collectibles may be valuable, and selling them can give you extra cash to fund your move and your life in your new home. Consult an antique appraiser to evaluate your antiques and collectible items, or enlist the help of an adult child to search sites like ebay to determine the value of collector’s items.

Don’t Go It Alone
Whatever you do, ask for help from loved ones, family members and friends. Hire reputable movers and packers who you can trust to help you box up your beloved belongings. Seek support if you find the moving process to be emotionally taxing. No matter how much you might be looking forward to making a new start in a new home, saying goodbye to longtime or family homes can be an emotional experience and one that you don’t have to go through alone.