Thinking about downsizing? You aren’t alone. Now, more than ever, people are looking for ways to simplify their lives, declutter, and live smaller. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start. While it may sound appealing, there are a few things to keep in mind before downsizing.
1. Make a plan
The biggest mistake you can make when downsizing is not having a plan. You need to know how much space you will have after the move so you know what you’ll need to take with you. Take a trip to your new space and measure rooms and storage areas to give you an understanding of the space you’ll have to work with. Don’t forget to measure closet space and cupboard space as well.
Give yourself plenty of time and make sure you start early. It takes more time than you’ll think to declutter. Start with large items first like furniture. Will you have space for your oversized sofa? Tackle a little bit each day and you’ll be ready for your move in no time.
2. Declutter and downsize your stuff
Once you determine how much space you will have, you need to determine what items you absolutely need to keep. Do you have clothes in the back of your closet you haven’t worn in 10 years? Or several sets of china? Maybe you have large kitchen accessories you no longer use or a garage full of yard tools you’ll no longer need.
Divide your items into 3 piles: keep, sell/donate, and toss. If your keep pile grows beyond what you’ll have space for in your new home, consider bringing in an objective party to help you determine if you need to keep all of those items.
3. Think about quality and multi-purpose items
As you declutter and sort your items, take a look at your keep pile and think about the quality of the items you are hoping to take with you and whether or not they fulfill multiple purposes. An ottoman that also serves as storage space for blankets is one example. Or perhaps you have a nightstand that also has extra space for clothing storage. When you have less space, the way you use what you have becomes even more important.
4. Digitize photos and paperwork
You’ll be surprised how much space your photos and paperwork are taking up. Thanks to technology, there are tons of options for digitizing your photos and paperwork. You can DIY it with a scanner and the right software, or search for a service that will do it for you. You’ll preserve memories and important paperwork while clearing out the clutter.
You may also want to take photos of other memorabilia you want to remember but don’t need to keep. Items such as children’s schoolwork, an old movie stub, or items from trips that bring back fond memories are perfect for a digital scrapbook.
5. Stop acquiring
While it may seem like a no brainer, it may be tempting to go out and buy a new mixer before you remember you won’t have space for it in your new home. Put a moratorium on new purchases until you are all settled in and have a better idea of how much space you’ll have.
6. Only move items that already have a designated space in your new home
As moving day arrives, it is easy to start tossing everything you have left to pack into boxes without taking the time to think about whether or not you have space. You’ll save yourself a lot of unpacking headaches if you remember to ask yourself whether or not you have enough space. If you come across an old china set you forgot about and you’ve already packed your favorite set, consider selling it, donating it, or giving it away. There’s nothing worse than unpacking items you don’t have space to store.
Moving and downsizing is a lot of work but rewarding in the end. When you take your time and declutter your life for smaller living, you are more likely to enjoy the process.