What’s covered in this article – click on a link to learn more:
- The Art of Decluttering and Downsizing Your Home
- Set Appropriate Goals
- Don’t Rush the Process
- Sort, Act, Repeat
- Space Saving Storage Solutions
- Maintenance is the Secret to Staying Organized
In a previous installment, I detailed why my family opted to downsize from a house to an apartment, and now I’m back to tackle the battle of the bulge… of belongings, with a realistic how-to so that you can actually get things done! Whether you’re moving from lots of space to less, or you’re simply trying to arrange fewer back-and-forths to the moving truck, here are my top tips on how to downsize your home.
My family has, on occasion, likened me to Clark Griswold, and since I don’t look a thing like Chevy Chase, I can only imagine that they’re referencing my zest, enthusiasm, and adaptability in the face of challenges. Have all my attempts at monumental downsizing and decluttering gone to the letter? Not quite. But my dedication to succeed has led me to some solutions to simplify the process, and maybe a few things to avoid, while you’re at it.
The Art of Decluttering and Downsizing Your Home
Decluttering and downsizing is definitely an art, and while I don’t tidy up as tidily as Marie Kondo, I get the job done; firstly by giving it the importance and significance it deserves. Going from a 3-bedroom home to a 2-bedroom apartment meant that we simply had to ditch some stuff to live comfortably in our new space. But, even if you’re not working with less space, downsizing can help you streamline your move, reclaim precious living space, and reduce transport costs. There’s absolutely no sense in loading up unwanted belongings only to discard them after moving in.
Set Appropriate Goals
When it comes to how to downsize your home for a move, clarity is king. You may need to do some brainstorming, imagining your desired lifestyle, envisioning the size of your new space, and clearly defining your decluttering goals so that you set yourself up to maximize your living space and live the lifestyle of your dreams. Having those clearly defined goals can help you make the right decision in the moment.
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
After setting realistic goals, put a plan together. Get your hands on a copy of a moving checklist to give yourself some guidance, and then organize how you’ll systematically move through the process. Start ASAP, so you have the time to go slow and steady, room by room. Working through it methodically allowed us to both get rid of the stuff we no longer loved, wanted or needed, while also creating an inventory list of our definite keepers.
Sort, Act, Repeat
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, just like the pro organizers you see on Hoarders, always make your ‘Keep, Donate, Sell, and Toss’ piles, and then get down to sorting. Once you’ve sorted a room, you’ve got the next few days of work lined up.
This is where you get active:
- Inventory your keep pile
- Bag or box your donations and get them into the right hands
- List your secondhand goodies on any and all suitable apps, or plan a yard or garage sale for after you’ve made your way through the entire house (or both)
- Take the trash out – immediately!
During this stage, if you must, always refer back to your goals! Our mission statement was “live with less to live with more,” and this became our decluttering mantra. I remember my wife debating which pile to put an antique butter dish in – keep, sell or donate. It was a family heirloom. She had never used it. She had to be told it was a butter dish. After reiterating the goal, and having her think about our limited cabinet space, she decided to list it on eBay. It just didn’t align with our goals, and she had other family heirlooms that held more significance to her.
Letting go isn’t always easy, especially if the items are family heirlooms or sentimental childhood art projects. We actually took multitudes of pictures of our girls with all their special creations, before parting ways, and had them scan all their drawings before culling the collection down to a manageable bin of my wife and my favorites. Clear goals and a systematic approach make this process so much easier.
Space-Saving Storage Solutions
If you’re not going for the minimalist lifestyle or just can’t part ways with things just yet, you’ve got a backup plan – space-saving storage! Maximize your living space with multifunctional furniture, like beds with built-in drawers and hide-away ottomans, a perfect marriage of comfort and utility. Vertical shelving can help you efficiently utilize your wall space without sacrificing floor area. And, investing in modular storage systems can help you create customizable wonders that adapt to your evolving needs, ensuring every nook and cranny is optimized for storage.
Maintenance is the Secret to Staying Organized
It’s one thing to get organized, and another thing entirely to stay organized. Routine maintenance is the key to staying on top of things and not getting buried. Also, developing systems and employing tools that help you stay organized can go a long way to ensuring that decluttering is just a part of life.
Since paper, and more specifically kid art, can get out-of-hand quickly for us, we set a goal to scan 20-pages a day. No, we never actually get to the bottom of the bin (unless we turn the stack over), but we also never overflow our bin, so things are manageable.
And, my wife swears by Sweepy, a simple app where you load in chores and household duties, and how often they should be done. It lets you know how long it’s been since you’ve done the task and that time’s ticking. She puts everything in there, from when to rotate our seasonal clothing to how often to cull the junk in our junk drawer. It’s a great maintenance tool to keep the clutter in check.
The key takeaways? Downsizing isn’t just about reducing items; it’s about getting organized, setting goals, reclaiming space and finding peace of mind in the process. Remember, a successful move is possible!