Whether you are moving to a smaller space or just trying to de-clutter, down-sizing can be overwhelming. There are often many bittersweet feelings – excitement for change but sadness over what you might need to let go of. Downsizing can force you to get rid of items that you may have clung to for a long time, but it is the perfect opportunity to remind yourself what you value most. If you can sort out the clutter, you can fill your space with the things you really love, making it truly feel like home. Here are 3 main steps to follow for downsizing without sacrificing what means the most to you.
1. Create A Plan
If you’re moving somewhere new, measure the size of your new rooms and storage areas. This will act as your guide for how much you can take with you. As you begin to decide what to keep and what to get rid of, do only one room at a time. Give yourself a week or two for this part. Moving is a big job and can be time consuming, and is much less overwhelming if not done all at once. Plan to do a room a day, and leave extra time so you aren’t rushed. Start with the furniture in each room – this will give you a better idea how much space you have left to fill. You don’t want to have to reshuffle everything if you can’t take that bookshelf with you.
2. Sort What You Own
Ask yourself – will you use it? If you haven’t used the item in a year and you always say “someday” when asking when the next time you will use or wear the item, it is time to put it in the donate/toss pile. Get rid of multiples. If you have multiple coffee pots, or several sets of china that you can only use one at a time, you don’t need to keep both. As you sort, follow a strict yes/no policy —no “maybes” allowed. Create a keep and toss pile, and force yourself to choose. If you aren’t completely sure, the item needs to go in the no pile.
Then you need to decide what to do with your “no” pile. You may not want or need these items anymore, but they may be useful to someone else. Special items can be passed on to family members, while furniture, clothing and other items in good condition can be sold or donated. Anything damaged or worn beyond repair should be recycled if possible or thrown away if necessary.
3. Preserve Your Memories
Gathering up your memories in one place will make them easier than ever to enjoy. Downsizing is an emotional process. You will discover items you haven’t seen in years, and you will have to decide what to do with them. Give yourself some time to reminisce, and then make a decision. Keep in mind your space limitations. Take with you what is truly valuable — only you can decide what you can’t do without.