So, the time has come to downsize. Maybe your kids have moved out, or maybe you got a new job across the country. Or perhaps you’re just tired of maintaining a large home. Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that downsizing doesn’t mean shoving all of your belongings into a smaller space.
Whether you’re moving into a condo, apartment, or townhome, the most effective way to downsize your home is to also downsize your life. We’re here with the top tips to help you declutter and effectively plan and operate your downsize.
You might ask, “How hard could it be to throw things away?” While dumping things into a trash bag might seem easy, effective decluttering is so much more than that. You’re moving into a new space, which means you have decisions to make. Do you want to channel an “out with the old, in with the new” mindset? Or would you rather selectively choose what stays and what goes? Either way, you should give yourself plenty of time to make these decisions. There are several popular decluttering methods, such as the KonMari Method, the 30-Day Minimalist Game, and the Closet Hanger Method. Choose one that works best for you and give yourself several weeks to months to follow through with it.
Consider your future
When you think of your “downsizing journey,” what comes to mind? Why are you downsizing, and what do you hope to achieve? Reminding yourself of these driving factors will help shape your experience. Maybe you want a place that’s more peaceful than your current one — in this case, don’t bring things you don’t associate with peace and harmony. Perhaps you want a fresh start — give yourself the chance by letting go of the past! If you’re having trouble imagining your move, talk to people in your circle who’ve done it. They’ll likely have their own list of dos and don’ts, and this will help you create yours.
Appreciate the old and assess the new
Letting go of the memories held in an old house can be painful. A helpful transitional method is to take photographs of your current home as it stands. Photograph your favorite areas, decorations, and times of day. Appreciate what you’re leaving behind so you can get excited for what lies ahead! In terms of your new home, make sure you carefully measure and look at each room. You don’t want to blindly plan your move only to arrive at your new spot and realize none of your plans will work. Have a favorite chair for your new living room? Take the time to make sure it will actually fit. Get excited about the possibilities, but not so excited that you ignore what’s realistic.
Say goodbye to paperwork
Every homeowner knows about the “mystery pile” of paperwork that somehow creeps into a home. Bills, magazines, coupons… it may be tempting to simply grab all of these things and “deal with them later.” The catch? You most likely will not deal with them later, and they will instead add clutter and dust to your new space. Take the time to sort through your paper piles. Deal with what needs attention, and recycle or shred what doesn’t. Proactively dealing with this type of clutter will put you in the right headspace to move forward.
Minimize new purchases
It can be exciting to buy new things for a move — furniture, silverware, decorations. But acquiring dozens of new things without taking stock of or throwing away what you own will just add to your pile. Avoid shopping sprees for things that aren’t absolutely necessary. Knick-knacks and fun decorations can wait until you’ve settled your basics. Or, if you must buy additional items, consider a one-to-one mindset: for each item you buy, throw out or give away another. This will help you maintain balance.
Make a plan for sentimental items
We often hold onto items that are special to us — and with good reason! But consider whether there might be another place for those items. Maybe you’re a parent who’s kept everything from your children’s youths. Divvying up items and passing them on to your children is a great way to keep them in the family. If you have an excess of photographs, special notes, or artwork, consider what might work in a digital format. Scanning a love note from your partner, for example, or taking photos of your children’s old artwork guarantees they won’t get damaged or lost during the move. You’ll still have a digital copy of the items, but they won’t take up any physical space — a win-win.
Selling and Donating
Often, there are items we don’t want or need but are unwilling to simply throw away. For example, that dress you wore once may no longer fit you, but it might be perfect for someone else. Selling or donating your items are very sustainable ways to start fresh. There are so many easy ways to sell things online, thanks to sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. You may also want to donate items. Many organizations, such as Goodwill and Salvation Army, will come to you and pick up your items. Donating is so easy; there’s really no reason not to do it.
Invite friends and family
If downsizing feels daunting, don’t hesitate to recruit friends and family! Downsizing “parties” can be fun. Order some food, pop some champagne, and make a game out of it. It can be helpful to have other cooks in the kitchen when it comes to making decisions. However, follow your gut first and foremost — if you know you won’t use something, don’t take it. Offer it to your helpers, or simply put it in the throwaway/donate pile. If you need a little extra help, consider hiring a specialist at Tidy Style in Meridian or Lisa Witzleben at Unclutter Me to make sure you’re on the path to organizational success.
Multifunction is key
Moving into a smaller space means making the most out of that space. Just because you’re downsizing doesn’t mean you won’t want to socialize and invite friends and family. Be mindful of this as you choose furniture. If you need a new couch, consider one with a built-in futon so people can stay over. A TV stand with built-in storage is a great way to hide any remaining clutter. Or how about installing vanity mirrors? Anything you can do to maximize storage will make your downsizing easier.
Looking to relocate to Idaho? Contact Oliver O’Gara Real Estate!