In a society where ‘bigger is better’, it can seem impossible to downsize. And, even if you want to downsize, you may worry about all of the things you have acquired over the years. But, as we all know, bigger isn’t always better. And, simplifying your life may have benefits to your overall well-being. So, where do you start?
1.) Realize what you have.
A lot of times we collect things that we don’t even realize. When downsizing, it’s important to make a list of everything that you have. Pick a week to designate to taking inventory. To make the task seem more achievable, break it down into one or two rooms per day. Make sure you record all the items in that room and the number of each item you have.
2.) Streamline your list.
Now that you have this big, long list what do you do? From your inventory list, make three different categories, things you haven’t touched in a year, things you use a few times a year, and the things you use on a weekly basis.
Most of the things you haven’t touched in a year may be thrown away. But, sentimental items, like family heirlooms, may not. Be honest with yourself when sorting through these items.
The second list should be things you have used a few times in the past year, but do not use on a weekly basis. Go through your ‘past year’ list and see if you can narrow it down. For example, if you have 150 books, pick 15 that you cannot part with.
And, the third list should be things that you use on a weekly basis. In many cases, most the weekly basis list may be kept, except for duplicate items, such as two vacuums or multiple sets of dishware.
3.) Donate or sell immediately.
This is the most important step, because if you have your items sitting around your house for too long they might just end up back on that book shelf! Consider donating items to families, friends or a homeless shelter. If you are selling your items, determine a sell-by date. If you don’t sell them by the date, then donate them. This will keep you from waiting around for a buyer for too long.
4.) Creatively store the remaining items.
There are some items that you just won’t be able to part with, and that is okay. Pictures and important paperwork may be among the things you choose to keep. Now, the key is to store these items creatively. It’s easy to go out and find boxes to put on a shelf. But, stop and ask yourself if this is the most effective way. Look for furniture pieces that can double as storage, such as a hollow ottoman. This way, you will be able to store photos, paperwork, and other important items, without your guests knowing.
If you have decorative family heir looms, consider using them to decorate your new place. And, if these items are too large to keep in your new home, think about passing them down to another family member. If you can’t bear to part with them, a climate controlled storage unit is an option, too.
Through taking these steps, you may be more likely to stick to your downsizing project! And remember, you are simplifying your life in order to make room for bigger, better things such as being closer to your grandchildren. Or, waking up on a cold, snowing day knowing that you don’t have to worry about finding someone to shovel your drive way.