4 Tips for Downsizing and Decluttering
Spring is the perfect time for clearing out the clutter that has piled up over the rest of the year. The flowers are beginning to bloom, the winter cold is beginning to ease, and new beginnings are all around.
There are plenty of reasons why you might be ready to downsize and declutter.
Perhaps you are preparing to move into a new home, and the first step in this process is to sort through all the home items you have accumulated over many years of living in the same spot.
Maybe you are a new empty nester. Your children have grown and flown the coop, and so you are ready to make a change in the home atmosphere. Or you have recently retired, and are looking to simplify what you have in your home. Or, perhaps, you are just inspired by the season to sift through the clutter and make some extra space in your life.
Whatever the reason, there is no better time than now to downsize and declutter. In this article we will share four top tips to help you approach the downsizing and decluttering process in your home.
1. Take it Room by Room
You are getting ready to approach the project of clearing out your entire house and suddenly you realize what a daunting prospect this is. Feeling overwhelmed? That’s normal. Take a deep breath, and start to approach the decluttering process in a different way: room by room. Start with one room at a time and set out a schedule for yourself in advance- if you have time to work on this project only on the weekends, mark which room you will approach each week in advance, so you can stick to your schedule.
This will help keep you focused on the task at hand, and stop you from feeling burnt out. And this approach will be necessary, because when you start each new room, you are going to need to take everything out. Yep, that’s right. Lay out everything in the room. Empty every drawer, open every closet, and take stock of absolutely everything in that particular room.
You can work furniture piece by furniture piece, or storage space by storage space, but you will want to get a full comprehensive view of everything that is cluttering that particular room. By laying everything out, you can get a quick visual picture of where you have too many items, and can quickly sort through the first layer of items that are easiest to get rid of.
2. Sort It Into Piles
You have laid everything out and now you are starting to sift through your items and objects- and pieces of furniture. So how do you figure out what to do with each thing? Consider sorting it into separate distinctive categories: what you will throw away (or recycle), what you will give away or donate, what you will keep for daily use, and what you will store.
Broken items that you know you will never use again can easily be thrown away or recycled. Any items that you haven’t used for years can be donated. If you have doubles of any item, that can also be a good reason to donate one version. Seasonal and sentimental items can be put into storage. And things you know you absolutely need and use for everyday daily life, can be sorted into the “keep” pile. Keep in mind that you are trying to get rid of as much as possible, so try to be disciplined and don’t rely too heavily on putting most of your items in storage.
3. Reckon With Your Spaces
Particularly if you are decluttering as you prepare to downsize, moving into a smaller space, you will want to be very attentive to the new dimensions of the space you will be moving into. Take measurements of your new space and get rid of any furniture that just won’t fit into your new space.
As you sort through papers and file cabinets, scan any important documents into your computer and store them in digital form online, in remote cloud storage. Relying more heavily on the internet will allow you to save precious space by getting rid of old documents. And any tax or health-related documents that are more than ten years old are usually safe to shred and throw away.
Regard each item that you bring with you as vital, because with limited areas in your new place, space is at a premium. Now is the perfect time to shed any extra objects that you have kept out of guilt, like presents people have given you over the years that you never actually loved. This is a great excuse to shed any objects you don’t really like, because the truth is, once you downsize to your smaller space, you really won’t have room for those objects in your home- or your life.
4. Organize As You Go Along
As you move through each room and storage space, be sure to group “like with like”. Whatever items you are planning to keep or store, group them by categories, so that as you sort and declutter, you are getting yourself further organized.
Then when you move into your new smaller space, or even when you put the objects away where they will live in your home, you know exactly what is in which space. So you know that when you need to look for office supplies, for example, they are all stored together in one space that is easy to reach and find. This will make your daily life easier, and help your home feel more manageable.
Whatever approach you choose to take as you clear the clutter out of your home, remember to enjoy the feeling of ease and spaciousness that the process can bring. As you clear the junk and things you don’t need out of your home, you are also making space in your life. Embrace the feeling and you just might find that you are able to happily shed more items as you go along.
By Teresa Bennett
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels