Are you contemplating a move? Whether you are moving to a smaller home or decluttering your current home, many people feel overwhelmed and have no idea where to begin.
“Rightsizing” is a process to help you celebrate your memories while creating a more comfortable home environment.
- Begin with the end in mind.
Take time to create a clear mental image of your ideal home. Take time to dream and to imagine yourself living lighter, finding new freedom, and open spaces. Think about your attitude (does this bring you joy?), your space (is there truly room for this?), and your categories (how many of each item—pants, dishes, earrings—do you need?). Follow the mantra, “less is more!”
- Take measurements and develop a plan.
You’ll need a realistic understanding of space requirements, whether you are moving to a smaller space or trying to open up existing living quarters. Know the actual size of your rooms, your closets, your furniture. Create floorplans on graph paper, and cut-out “to scale” sized pieces of furniture so you can move things around and imagine new possibilities. Be creative in using space saving organizers to take advantage of closet or pantry doors, under cabinet space and more. For a minimal investment, you can maximize your living space!
- Focus on what you want to keep, and how you will find “the best” of your possessions.
Large categories include clothing, books, kitchen/bath, and papers. Sorting into these larger areas upfront helps you see everything at once so you can more easily decide the status of each item.
- Celebrate short-term successes.
Remove as you go; it is easier to take many small trips to the recycle center, the dumpster and the thrift store than to find places to stash stuff and then need a large vehicle at the end of the process!
- Manage your resources.
Be realistic about how long the process is going to take; you didn’t get to this point overnight, and you can’t undo years of work in a weekend! Be honest about the commitment that is involved in downsizing, and consider the true “cost” it is to yourself, not just in terms of time but also in energy. Plan your downsizing activities accordingly
- Don’t think about the stuff, think about the memories/experiences.
Ditching material items does not mean that you lose the memory! Often, we hold onto items that have no intrinsic value because we fear the loss of whatever is associated with it. Recognize that purging can be emotional and take time to remember the good experiences while giving yourself permission to let go of the past.
- Don’t assume your collectibles have monetary value.
Some folks have been collecting items for years, and the items are a source of pride and joy. But, that doesn’t necessarily translate financially. What is “hot?” Today, high-end vintage jewelry, designer clothing, and stereo systems have value; but china, stemware, silver-plated anything, oversized furniture, are definitely “not hot.”
- Don’t pack before you sort!
If you are moving to a smaller home, prior to packing anything at all you will want to designate four corners (or boxes, tubs, etc): keep, donate, recycle, and trash. Every item you touch must go into one of those four categories… and, don’t look back! Keep moving forward!
- Don’t be derailed.
Common reasons for incomplete downsizing include: holding onto things for adult children, searching to find new homes for beloved items, saving something that you “just might need someday,” and continuing to acquire new items. Avoid all these pitfalls and you will have much greater success.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
There are professionals who know tips and tricks that enable them to move mountains in a fraction of the time it would take you to accomplish the same tasks. Realize that perhaps the financial cost is worth it when you consider the benefit of knowing your own time will be well spent, without compromising your health.
If you follow these tips and stick to a plan, you can maintain control of the downsizing process so that your dream of a comfortable, decluttered home becomes a reality that you’ll enjoy far into the future.
Thinking About Downsizing?
Does downsizing seem like the right option for you, but you’re not sure how to get started? Download our free guide to find what to keep and what to donate, advice from best-selling author Marie Kondo, 10 tips from an interior designer and more.
Free Guide: Do's and Don'ts of Downsizing
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