If you’ve decided to relocate to a smaller home, you know you probably have to purge your home of extra clutter and unwanted belongings. What you probably don’t know is how to go about downsizing things to fit your new smaller home lifestyle. The key is to keep only what you need. We all have items that we don’t use, but they sit there harmlessly. Only when we need to downsize, do we see how many belongings we’ve actually amassed.
Start Small But Think Big
Anything that costs you more hours of effort or worry than it brings you hours of enjoyment is a candidate for downsizing, says author Jonathan Lockhart Huie. You should ask yourself the following questions when downsizing:
When did I last use this?
Do I want to spend money and time moving this into a new home?
Do I love this item?
Keep these questions in mind as you tackle the rooms in your home. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed. Start slowly, by going through each room. You should avoid the temptation to clear the entire house at one time.
Start by placing out boxes or bags for discarded items. You can label them don’t keep and throw away. Many experts suggest forgetting the maybe pile because too often, these maybe end up in the keep pile. They have a rule of thumb called the OHIO rule, meaning “only handle it once.” Creating a maybe pile only encourages indecisiveness and guarantees your process is more tortured than it needs to be. Anything broken or unusable should go. Storing away items for a rainy day project that hasn’t happened yet often leaves us with piles of junk. It’s time to move on and purge your home of clutter.
Discard Things, But Keep Memories
We’re tempted to hold on to mementos such as ticket stubs, old grade school report cards, children’s artwork and more. You don’t need to hold on to every item that has a memory attached. Instead keep only the most important items, or an item that is representative of a time in your life. By keeping one thing rather than ten, you reduce your clutter dramatically. You can also take digital photographs of these items.
Have you been holding on several items to pass down later? It might be time to do that now. Give away heirlooms and gifts. If you’ve been storing valuables or heirlooms with the intention of someday giving it to your children or someone special, consider giving it away now. You will free up more space and get to enjoy the recipient’s delight at receiving the gift.
Slim Down on Media
Thanks to the internet, iPads, smartphones, and other devices, we no longer need to have physical copies of media cluttering our shelves. Books, CDs and DVDs take up a lot of space and you may be able to cut your collections in half.
Without so many things to organize, take care of and store, you will instantly feel lighter and freer. Downsizing can be a complicated process, but if you approach it with the right spirit, you can accomplish it with minimal stress. Remember, your home isn’t things, but a feeling and a place where you love to be.
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