10 Tips For Downsizing Your Belongings

Whittling down a lifetime’s worth of belongings can be emotional for anyone who has grown attached to their stuff. Seniors, empty nesters and people preparing for a move all face the challenge of creating a new living space.

Whether you’re moving from a mansion to a condo or just ready to simplify, downsizing usually involves transitioning into a space with limited room for furniture, accessories, clothes and collectibles. So, how can you decide what to keep and what to toss? Here are some tips to keep in mind to make the process easier:

1. Determine An Appropriate Quantity of Belongings

Before diving in, first take a step back and evaluate how much stuff you want to have. Once you have a vision in mind, then go through each room, item by item and see what makes the cut.

2. Plan For Your Current Lifestyle Needs

Don’t worry about how much something used to mean to you or if you might need something in the future. Focus on your current lifestyle. What activities are part of your normal routine? What are your hobbies and interests? This will help you decide what belongings best serve you at this point in time.

3. It’s Either a “Hell Yes” or a “Hell No”

My determining rule for deciding what to keep is: if it’s not a “hell yes,” it’s a no. If you don’t absolutely love/need/want it, then it’s got to go. This way, all you’re left with is a home full of your very favorites.

4. Donate Unneeded Items To Charity

Sometimes we struggle to part with certain items that have been so good to us over the years. The nice thing about downsizing is it doesn’t mean you have to throw everything out in the trash. You can donate it to people in need or thrift shops and others will totally appreciate your generosity for doing so.

5. Sell Unused Valuables

Do you ever look around at your clutter with a bit of buyer’s remorse, wishing you had all the cash you spent on collecting everything? Well, guess what? It’s not too late. If you have unused valuables, there are so many different places that you can sell them all and get your money back.

6. Toss Out Ragged, Old, Broken Stuff

If it’s not valuable enough to sell and in poor enough condition to where even charity wouldn’t want it, that’s when you know it’s time to throw it out. If you have tattered items, whether it be clothes or furniture, you may be better off moving on without having it take up your space.

7. Envision Your New Home

The whole process of organizing a home is very goal-oriented. To stay motivated, keep your eyes on the prize at the end of the road. Remember your desire to have a comfortable living space. Once you get through downsizing, you will be one step closer to a home free of clutter.

8. Honor Your Family Heirloom

It’s alright to have that one non-negotiable item, such as a treasured family heirloom. Even if the item is old and worn, if it’s something that has been passed down for generations, it’s special enough to hold on to, even if you don’t use it everyday. Use your best judgement on what is truly sacred.

9. Avoid Tackling The Whole House In One Go

When you look at your whole space at once, you see how much needs to be done and it can be overly daunting. Instead, break up your work into sections, one room at a time. Dedicate a little time each day and eventually, you will get through everything.

10. Be Absolutely Thorough

While you are taking the time to downsize, you might as well do it right the first time instead of having to go back through for a second round. Make sure you’re in the right mindset before diving into a session of downsizing. Be prepared to make quick decisions and not let yourself get distracted.

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I’m Alyssa Leverenz, a professional home organizer helping people maximize their environments by creating smartly appointed residential living spaces. Head to my website to learn more.