The idea of moving to a smaller home can be nerve-wracking… where are you going to put all your belongings? Debating what to keep and what to get rid of can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Here are a few ideas to make the process easier. Above all, remember to be kind to yourself; you don’t have to get rid of everything you hold dear. If you really love an item, keep it!
Don’t wait until you’ve signed the contract on a new home to start downsizing. This will only add to the pressure and could lead to poor decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. Start going through your belongings as soon as you decide to move.
Set time aside to address each area of the home. Start in the most remote spaces, such as the attic, basement and garage. Figure out which items you actually use, and which you simply store. Pack as you go, and make separate piles for the items you plan to sell, donate and discard. Label the piles. Items that you decide not to keep should be taken out of the home sooner than later so that you don’t change your mind.
Keep an inventory, and envision your new home.
Make note of what items are important to keep, and what you could easily live without. This will help you discard items. Embrace the opportunity to start fresh and declutter your life. Determine which pieces of furniture and other large items will fit in your new space, then sell or give away the rest.
Involve your family.
Don’t bear the burden alone; enlist family members to help, particularly with tough decisions. Items hold different meanings for different people, so the more people you involve in the decisions, the less likely you are to give away an item close to someone’s heart. Delegate decisions to the person who owns the item. If you’re unsure about whether to keep an item, figure out how often it’s used, what purpose it serves, what shape it is in, etc.
Avoid throwing anything in the garbage.
Recycle, reuse, sell and donate. It might be tempting to put hangers, unwanted clothes and old furnishings in the trash, but it’s not environmentally or socially responsible. Offer the items you don’t want to family members and friends, or donate them. It’s easier to part with items when you know someone else can benefit from them.