Regardless of the reason, attempting to downsize your home can seem like a difficult and sometimes incredibly frustrating job. You may be at the point where you are getting married and have decided to live with your significant other. You may have just decided that it’s time to have a smaller home. There could be a home located in a great neighborhood that is just smaller than what you had before. It may also be that a new job has opened up in a different location, and a smaller home was the only option.
Whatever the case, ask yourself a few questions. What should you decide to get rid of? What is an absolute necessity that you cannot part ways with? Questions of this sort can help map out different actions that can be taken in order to make this entire process much easier.
Need vs. Want
This is the most basic struggle that comes with downsizing, packing, and moving. If you are unable to live without it, then you probably need to keep it. If you can visualize life without a certain object, then, by all means, get rid of it. Also, if an item has been kept in storage that is nothing more than an old hobby, let it go. Take your time with these decisions. This isn’t a race and such things do not have to be rushed. It is best to begin this process early so that you allow plenty of time to sort through things.
When deciding between what is needed and wanted, the term “maybe” simply isn’t an acceptable response. Develop a simple questionnaire to help make a final determination.
- How often do I use this item?
- When was the last time that I decided to use this item?
- Do I have more than one of these items?
- Do I know of anyone who could benefit from this item more than me?
- Does this item even work anymore?
See If You Have Room
For starters, either measure your new living space or obtain a copy of the home layout. This should give you a good idea as to how much room there will actually be in the new home. Information like this can help make several decisions for you. If you don’t have room for certain pieces of furniture, you can’t keep it. Go through the new location and count all of the storage space. Think of storage space under beds, or maybe space inside of other objects.
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Often you can use storage inside of coffee tables or footrests. By knowing this, you should only keep what you have room to store. Sit down, and take a moment to visualize your new home. If an item doesn’t fit in, it won’t fit in later either. So go ahead and make arrangements to get rid of it. Your last choice should be a storage space rental. These aren’t cheap, so they aren’t the best idea for storage space.
List and Mark Things Off
Take a pen and paper, sit down, and make a list of everything. In doing this, you have the ability to see everything and mark things off as decisions are made. A list such as this can also be used for insurance purposes whether it be for rental or homeownership. Make piles to go along with this list. Name the piles that are made. Names for these could include friend pile, family pile, charity pile, shelter pile, selling pile, and a trash pile. I would personally ask my friends and family if they want anything before I would choose to move on to the latter piles.
Keep Up with the Time
Technology has given us some wonderful new ways to assist in the downsizing process. Rather than packing up tons of photos, attempt to obtain digital copies. These can be easily accessible from a computer or smartphone. Movies and books can also be digitized, making it incredibly easy to store them without ever needing to move hardly anything. Movies and books can also be accessed from a smartphone, computer, smart TV and a multitude of streaming devices. These electronic devices take up a much smaller space than would the physical copies of all of these items.
Never Look Back
Once a decision is made to part ways with an old item, don’t go back and change that decision. It will be tempting, however, take time to be certain that the first decision is the right one. Don’t be hasty, and be sure to weigh all of the options. Don’t allow emotions to make these decisions any more difficult than they need to be. Once that item lands in the pile of choice, don’t move it.
Donate, Donate, Donate
In most cases, there is someone else that would greatly appreciate most items that you don’t need anymore. I would start by asking my family members. From there, ask some of your close friends. If no one from these groups needs anything, consider taking things to a shelter or a charitable organization. Even a place such as Goodwill can help find someone who needs these items. It is better to help someone in need than it is to just throw belongings in the trash.
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Once you start going through old things, you’ll begin to have fond memories associated with the purchase or use of such items. These memories may lead you to keep unnecessary belongings. Be sure to start going through things well in advance so you will have time to make these tough decisions. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, especially if these decisions stir up tough feelings.
Have someone to talk to who can help you work through these difficult situations. If you wait until the last second, you are much more likely to box up everything you own and move it all with you, only to unpack it and throw it away later. So skip all of the extra moving, and just make these decisions well ahead of time.
Plan a way to attack your home, basement, attic, or storage spaces. It is probably best to start somewhere in your house where you do not spend most of your everyday life. It is here that you are more likely to find those things that you can live without. As you move from these rarely-used rooms, begin to pack things that you intend to keep. Move the rest to those piles that were assigned once you first started the process.
In some cases, as we grow older, we begin to think about retirement. A retirement home could be a prefab cabin out in the country. Cabins may be much smaller than the house in which you currently live. Be sure to refer back to your questions that were outlined earlier. If you rarely see an item that is kept in storage, is it necessary to take it? Does it stir up emotions? If so, are the emotions causing you to hang on? Or are you actually going to use the item in question? There’s a good chance that if you own multiples of various devices, there is only a need for one of them.
Drop the rest of them. Throw away the old stuff in the cabin before you move in all of your things from your home. Use all of the various tips, hints, and tricks outlined in the aforementioned article to make moving to your cabin much easier.
Make that Money
Items that aren’t being boxed up, given to family, or being sent to friends can possibly be sold. When you decide to sell it, also sell everything that goes along with it. You can sell an entire bedroom suite, or possibly all of your old kitchen items that match one another. There are tons of options when it comes to selling these items.
eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Facebook Market are your most popular online selling platforms. There are also multiple seller apps that can be accessed from computers and smartphones. If all else fails, a good old-fashioned yard sale or garage sale can always be planned. Keep in mind, the longer you keep unnecessary things the more they lose their value over time.
Once you are finished packing up or moving, feel free to go out and celebrate. Just as those old items stir up old memories, you can easily make new memories in the new home. Moving to a new place and downsizing can be very frustrating. Going through all of your old things can stir up many feelings that you possibly didn’t think were stored up in your mind. By following all of these various tips and bits of advice, downsizing has hopefully been made easier. Just be organized.
Make a list, and stick to it. Try and organize piles so that you know where everything is going. Once you make a decision, don’t change your mind. If you are moving in with your significant other, definitely ask for their opinion. If you haven’t seen an item in a very long time, chances are you can easily live without it. Take your time and don’t rush. There’s no reason to make things any more difficult than they have to be.