Whatever the reason you’re making the move into a smaller home, you don’t want to end up living your life in clutter.
Though there might be moments of anxiety and plenty of stress involved with downsizing your home with style, the benefits of living clutter-free in a smaller home are myriad. These include less time consumed with thinking about your possessions, a more emotionally healthy home, financial improvements, and more space — even if you’re moving into a small home.
The key is to downsize your home with style. You can do this by planning ahead, recognizing what items you can’t live without, knowing the dimensions of your new space, being smart with regards to how you get rid of items, and so much more.
Also, never forget the KonMari method: Does this bring me joy?
Identify the Keepers
A good place to start is with identifying what possessions you simply can’t let go in the move.
If there is a painting by your great-grandfather that you absolutely love, put it on the list. If there is antique glassware that you think is absolutely ghastly, but realize has some value … don’t put it on the list.
What should go on your list are items that you both love and can’t live without. Things not on the list are still going to make the move; so don’t feel like you need to put baking pans, forks, or other mundane items on the list.
This list is designed to help you prioritize your most precious items, making it easier to let go of others. Often, one piece of memorabilia from a moment in your life is more than enough, so identify which item best captures that period of time and speaks the loudest to you. Then, add it to the list and be prepared to let the rest go.
Plan Ahead — Way Ahead
Don’t start the process of downsizing a month or two before you move. Start as soon as you know you’re going to move.
Like with everything in life, the skill of downsizing improves with practice. So, if you give yourself three or four months to whittle away at your possessions, you’ll be a pro by the time you’re making your final decisions.
Planning ahead also allows you to set a healthy pace for downsizing your home with style.
Perhaps one of the best ways to put this pacing into action is to take a little time each day — or one morning a week — to tackle realistic goals. This can help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, which can either lead to you taking way too much stuff to your new place and living in clutter or can result in you panicking at the end and making poor choices on what to keep and what to get rid of.
Cutdown on Redundancies
Over time, you — like most people — have probably accumulated a number of redundancies with regards to practical items. This is most evident in the kitchen. For example, be realistic about how many mixing bowls you really need; the same goes for Tupperware. Yes, these can seem like small items that don’t take up a lot of space, but getting rid of them works in two ways.
Firstly, anything you get rid of is literally one less thing you have to store in your new house. Secondly, it gets you in the right mentality for downsizing: less is more.
Target the Storage Spaces
It’s very possible that your garage, shed, attic, and basement are all full of stuff you don’t use regularly — and might not have used in the last year.
More often than not, these spaces are filled with clutter you already decided you didn’t need in the house. For that reason alone, they’re a great place to start your downsizing attack.
Get Rid of All Those “Just in Case” items
When you have space, it’s easy to grab something on sale or hold onto a spare part for what ends up being a lawnmower you no longer have. Nearly every home has at least a couple of drawers of electronic cords and other items that just weren’t thrown away “just in case.”
A good rule of thumb for all of this — at least on your first sweep through — is if you haven’t used an item in the last year, you don’t need it. That means if you forgot to put up your Halloween decorations out this year and last year, go ahead and let them go.
Going to a Good Place
It can make it significantly easier to clear the clutter out of your life if you know you’re not condemning perfectly adequate stuff to the dump.
Every time you target an area to clean out, use three labeled bins that read: to keep, to sell, and charity. This will help you pursue the general goal of keeping only one-third of your stuff while keeping you organized.
The nicer items that go into the “to sell” bin can be sold through an auction house or online, while you should take advantage of swip-swap groups and for sale groups on Facebook to hawk the rest of your stuff.
Even though you won’t get any cash for the items being donated to charity, there is always a double bump of joy when making such donations: as soon as you drop off that bag of items you don’t need, your life is less cluttered and you’re giving those clothes or kitchen items a chance at a second life with someone who needs them.
How Much Space Do You Have?
If you know where you’ll be moving into before you start downsizing, you can really get a feel for what your goals need to be. Go into the new space with a measuring tape to see how much space there is and what the dimensions of those spaces are like.
This is particularly helpful when making choices about furniture. If you have a huge corner couch that you absolutely love but it will turn the living room of your new small home into an uncomfortable closet, it’s best to recognize that before you start moving. This way, you can get the best price on the market for the couch. The same goes with all your furniture; empty space has a lot of value in a small house, so don’t fill it with oversized furniture.
Another way to do this is by prearranging your furniture using the floor plans of the house. You can sketch your primary items in to see what you’ll be able to keep and what you’ll want to sell.
Summary: 7 Tips for Downsizing Your Home with Style
So many people nowadays are living the motto of less is more. They are striving for less clutter, less stress, less junk, and less house. By downsizing your home with style, you’ll be able to join the ranks of these people. The key is to start well ahead of time and be honest about what you absolutely need.
Now, if you’ve done an excellent job downsizing, but still have a bit more than your new small home can comfortably fit, don’t clutter it. Reach out to the experts to see what climate-controlled storage unit will best house the rest of your possessions.