If you’re moving into a smaller place, or you’re moving in with someone, or maybe you want to declutter your home, downsizing isn’t always going to go as planned. Instead of trying to downsize without any real plan, here’s some expert advice on how to downsize your belongings without losing your mind.
1. Begin downsizing early
Downsizing isn’t something that you can do overnight. Getting rid of “junk” can be an emotionally charged process and, if you rush it, the stress you’ll feel will skyrocket. Instead of trying to pare down all your clutter in a single weekend, plan out your process over a few weeks. Start by tackling big projects, one room at a time. When you get closer to the “deadline”, turn the music up, grab some wine and keep that downsizing momentum going.
2. Organize the remaining clutter
It can be overwhelming when you are going through your stuff, especially when you have so much, and you don’t know where the best place to start is.Rather than creating several small messes, set goals and tackle your clutter room by room use four boxes labeled trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Every item in your home needs to classified into one of these four categories and be dealt with accordingly. Establish ground rules upfront to keep yourself on task — once you touch an item, you must decide its fate. If you’re unsure, place it in the giveaway pile for 24 hours. If the day passes and you haven’t thought about it, then toss it.
3. Let go of emotional guilt
It’s understandable that when you go through your stuff, you’re going to feel like you can’t get rid of certain things for one reason or another. Make a list of the things that you’ve inherited and considered each of those items for a moment. Decide whether or not you use that item on the daily basis or if you get enjoyment to having it around. If not, get rid of it. Define clear rules about what is going into your new space and what you don’t want to bring with you. Whatever you don’t want to bring with you, you can donate or sell.
4. Eliminate duplicate items
Storing those huge soup pots in your 2,500-square-foot home wasn’t a big deal, but paring down to just one is going to be a challenge. When it’s time to downsize, you have to let go of items that you have multiples of is a no-brainer. Start by turning a critical eye to your “must keep” pile and ask yourself how necessary the item is. In the past, you’ve always had an overflowing linen closet,but that doesn’t mean you need five sets of bath towels at your new place.
5. Falling in love
When you’re buying things, decide to invest in quality, not quantity. Now that you’re in downsizing mode start to think of your things regarding love, you know, the “if you don’t love it, then toss it” kind. You can sell or donate those five black winter jackets and invest in your dream coat.