Steps to Downsize Your Home
There are many reasons people decide to downsize, no matter the reason, downsizing can be an amazing experience, freeing yourself of excess items.
For some downsizing can be a difficult task, especially if there are belongings that have been passed on from previous generations.
Here are some tips to get you through downsizing your home and letting go of items that are just taking up space.
1. Start Early and Pace Yourself
To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the task of downsizing, the earlier you start the better. Generally, three months is the latest you want to wait to get started.
Reducing clutter will not only help you downsize but, will also better prepare your home when you're ready to sell. There are several different organizational methods to help with this process.
- One-a-Day - Commit yourself to getting rid of one item a day or if you are really up for the challenge get rid of the number of items that correspond with the date. For example, on the 3rd of the month get rid of 3 items and so on.
- Four-Box Method - Only allow yourself four options, keep, donate, trash/recycle, or sell. By limiting your options, you will have fewer items to find a home for or put in storage, which you want to avoid.
- Closet-Hanger Method - Face all closet hangers away from you, once an item is worn, turn the hanger towards you. After six months, any clothes that are still facing away, sell or donate.
- KonMari Method - This is a method created by consultant Marie Kondo, she has an amazing Netflix Series, Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo. She has families take on clutter by category (clothes, books, sentimental items, etc.). She encourages you to pick up the items and if that item is no longer "Sparks Joy" it's time to get rid of the item.
2. Take on One Room at a Time
The idea of downsizing your entire home can feel overwhelming, making the process easier on yourself by starting one room at a time. Attempting to jump from room to room, you are more likely to give up and failure is not an option when attempting to downsize.
Making a plan will allow you to work on one project at a time and feel like you are achieving your goals. Break down your projects and keep to a schedule, you may even want to alternate them by having a more difficult or time-consuming task with a less time-consuming task.
Examples of tasks are:
- Go through games and DVDs
- Clean out the "Junk Drawer"
- Narrow down your shoes, decide what to keep and what to donate
- Trim down your clothes
- Clean out your dresser drawers
- Match up containers and pots and pans with their lids.
- Organize small kitchen gadgets.
3. Measure Your New Space
It will be easier to determine what you keep, based on your new space. Unfortunately, you may not already have your new space selected but, you should consider getting rid of items you know that you will not need.
If you are planning to move into a smaller home, the large sectional currently taking up space in your living is likely not going to fit in your new space. The China cabinet putting your fine China on display is likely not conducive to your new home.
Downsizing from a larger home with multiple living areas could mean that you have duplicate furniture that no longer has a place in your new home, this is the time you want to eliminate excess furniture.
4. Pass Down Sentimental Items
Sentimental items that you were hoping to keep in the family, start asking family members if they are interested in the item early and schedule a time to pick up or drop off at its new home.
Unfortunately, there will be items that you've held onto hoping to keep in the family that no one wants to take possession of. When there will not be room in your new home and no one in the family wants or has room for it either, consider selling it and putting the money in a savings account to pass down at a later time.
Some items that no longer have a home, you have a sentimental attachment to that you are having a hard time letting go of. A unique way to keep the memories close take pictures of the items before selling or donating them, create a photobook or your family's memorabilia.
5. Digitize Documents
It's amazing how quickly paper accumulates, so while your decluttering, take the time to scan and organize paper documents into digital files.
Scanning documents such as old tax documents and shredding the paper files will clear up space in no time. You must back up all files on a separate drive.
There are some documents that you need original copies of and wouldn't want to scan and shred, documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, social security cards, etc. you will want to keep the original document. Make sure these items are kept in a safe space.
6. Repurpose Items
Hanging onto items you just don't have the heart to let go of can be challenging, especially if your new space does not account for it. There are some things you can repurpose, so they have a use, and you have a purpose for the item.
Examples of repurposing items are:
- Turn old t-shirts and/or jerseys into a quilt
- Utilize an old dresser by turning it into a bookshelf
- Turn an old hope chest or toy chest into a bench with storage
- Convert your kids or grandkids' most-prized works of art into wall art
7. Bring in Back up
Downsizing and decluttering is not only a lot of physical work, it can tug at your heartstrings as well. If you fear you aren't going to be able to complete the job to the full extent, call for backup.
Calling friends or family that you trust to handle your possessions and make decisions that are in your best interest is a smart decision on your behalf. Having someone help you get through your most sentimental possessions will help you overcome the challenges you would face without a reasonable, listening ear.
Some people will opt to hire a professional to assist with downsizing. There are pros and cons to hiring a professional, the professional will not have any attachment to the items in your home and will direct you in the right direction. A professional is someone you don't know and may not be as sensitive to your desire to keep certain items.