Few people like having to downsize their homes. Not only can it be physically and mentally exhausting, but it can often feel like there’s little tangible reward at the end of it. After hours – sometimes days – of deciding which things to keep and which to toss, you can sometimes be faced with having to make tough decisions about which items of sentimental value you should let go of.
Downsizing is never easy, but if you’re faced with a property move, it’s often a necessity. It makes no practical or financial sense to ship or transport items you no longer use or need.
Sometimes it’s not even a move that necessitates a downsizing. For example, maybe a new baby is on the way, or you have to make room for an aging parent. Whatever your reason is for downsizing, we have some tips to help make it a little easier.
Benefits of Downsizing
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of downsizing, let’s talk about a few of the benefits.
If you’re moving to a smaller place, there can definitely be some advantages to downsizing. For starters, getting a smaller, less expensive property means potentially lower utility bills, fewer property taxes, or a cheaper monthly rent.
You will also likely have less upkeep both inside and outside of your house. That means more time to do the things you really love, or it could even serve as an opportunity to increase your earnings. For example, it could give you extra time to take on a side hustle like food delivery or paid online surveys.
The other significant benefit of downsizing is that you will be dealing with less clutter. And that’s what downsizing is really about—clearing out the clutter and making space for the things that really matter.
You probably already have most of the furniture and household items you need, so instead of feeling compelled to fill up a large space with new stuff, you can get by on what you have and save your money for things like travel, dining out, or new experiences.
Lastly, getting rid of several years’ worth of accumulated objects can be mentally liberating. Sometimes, our possessions own us instead of the other way around. Simplifying your life by removing some of the physical chaos can help you get organized and feel more in control.
What’s the Best Way To Downsize?
Now that you can appreciate some of the benefits of downsizing, you’re ready to tackle this monumental task. A good plan will help make the process go smoother. Here are some tips:
Don’t Wait to Start
Procrastination is your enemy. If you have a deadline, give yourself plenty of time to declutter properly. It will probably take longer than you expect. If you’re shipping items, then you will know beforehand how much you can take with you. Get your shipping boxes ready and refrain from over-packing (there will probably be a maximum weight specified by the shippers, which you will need to stick to).
If you’re hiring a removal truck, again, you will have a rough idea of how much you can fit in. When deciding on what to take with you, always keep this in mind, and don’t be tempted to squeeze in just one more box!
Give Yourself the Opportunity to Clear Out the Clutter
Whichever way you are physically moving items to your new home, see it as an opportunity to clear out and start with a relatively clean slate. Maybe the property you are moving to is different in style from the one you’re leaving, in which case consider how your furniture items will fit in your new home.
Also, consider which items have come to the end of their useful life. For example, if you’ve been meaning to replace an old kitchen chair because it’s now more dangerous than useful, then this is the perfect time to do so.
Make a Plan for Where Your Unwanted Items Are Going
There are several ways you can get rid of those items you no longer want. One idea is to sell them. Some people make a very good living flipping old items for cash. Online marketplaces are also an excellent way to sell items locally.
However, if you are in the middle of a house move or some other significant life change, you may not have the time to do any more than simply try and get rid of things quickly.
A more hassle-free option is to donate your items to a local charity. Many charities will come and collect the items from you, and you won’t need to do much more than calling them to arrange a day and time for them to collect them.
You can also ask around to see if anyone is collecting for a rummage sale, or something similar, as this could be another opportunity to give your items away to a good cause.
While you can donate many items to charity, some things may have passed their best or simply no longer work. Segregate those items and throw them out.
Start with the items you know you want to get rid of. This will ease you into the process so you will be in the right mindset once it comes to those items that you may be a little unsure about.
Honor Your Emotional Attachments
Understandably, it may be difficult to throw away items that once belonged to a lost loved one or which may hold emotional significance for you. So, If you can, try to keep only one or two small items to remind you of those happy times, and place them in a prominent position in your new home: It’s much better that you get to see those items every day than that they are closed away, packaged up with lots of other sentimental pieces.
Or perhaps you can turn a sentimental item into something that serves a practical purpose: Maybe a piece of clothing can be made into a cushion cover (if you don’t have the necessary skills, you can always ask a professional to do this for you.)
Another option is to consider selling those items of sentimental value you feel you should let go of and donating the proceeds to a charity that has significant meaning for you or the lost loved one.
If you think any of those items may hold similar emotional significance for someone you know, you could always ask if they would like to have them.
Don’t Do It Alone
Decluttering is a difficult process and one that can be deeply personal. However, please don’t do it alone. It’s a good idea to at least get help with the physical moving of items and tasks such as checking shipping labels and other small details.
If you’re in the process of relocating, then there will almost certainly be other aspects of moving that you will have to contend with, some of which could be emotionally challenging. So don’t hesitate to ask for help!
One positive that you can take from this process is that once you’ve done it, the benefits will undoubtedly stay with you for quite some time, even if you did find it a little traumatic. This means that you are likely to always think twice before buying or saving items in the future, just in case you ever have to go through the process again!
Downsizing also will often leave you with a feeling of liberation. Take this energy forward with you as you start the next chapter in your life, enjoying the newfound freedom you’ve achieved.