Downsizing Do’s and Don’ts
Whether moving from a larger home to a smaller residence, just shifting your apartment living, or really just want to get more organized, downsizing can offer you a valuable financial opportunity. Less space generally costs less to rent or own, not to mention you’ll be able to save on utilities as well. Downsizing means it’s a great time to take inventory of all your stuff. If you happen to be moving, you’re probably considering whether you have enough space for all your stuff at the new place. A couple of quick questions can set the project in motion. Do you need? Does it make you happy? If you answer “no” either of these questions, then it’s probably time for some purging and decluttering.
Getting organized and decluttering can be a bit of a project, but it’s one that can be personally well worth the effort. You just need to keep these do’s and don’ts in mind when downsizing.
Start Your Downsizing Early And With A Plan
By starting early, you can work on your downsizing at a much more relaxed pace. Downsizing and purging your belongings can be stressful enough so give yourself plenty of time so you don’t have to get it done all at once.
Take time to create a clear mental vision of what your new downsized home is going to look like. How much better you feel with less clutter and more freedom in your life. To this end, it’s a good idea to start working on your vision by getting the necessary measurements of your new home or space.
It’s essential to know the exact measurements of your rooms, closets, storage spaces, and the furniture that you’re going to be using in each of the rooms. It’s easy to know that if you’re going from a three-bedroom place to a two bedroom then you’re clearly not going to need that third set of bedroom furniture, and even the sheets and linens. But if you’re going from a three bedroom to a three bedroom, but the room sizes are smaller this is going to impact your decisions on what you keep and what you can’t.
So, keep a careful eye on the floorplan of your new place and just where and how your items are going to fit. You may find that you may be able to keep your breakfast table but have to sell your dining table. Or, you may be able to keep two of the three living room pieces you have, but which two in combination and how will they fit? Remember it’s much less expensive to make these decisions before you move then having to deal with the lack of a decision after you move. Also, depending upon what and how much space your new place will offer you may want to take a look at new furniture that can serve multiple functions. Storage ottomans, fold-out futons and desks with shelves are some space-saving ideas.
Note: Remember, it can be easy to get off track if you take your eye off the downsizing objective. Be focused on whatever area you are beginning in. Constantly stopping to take to those great trips down memory lane is not only mentally taxing, but they can cloud your judgements and certainly add hours upon hours to your downsizing project.
Whether your plan is to go through your downsizing room by room or category by category have a plan in mind before you start digging into your downsizing project. This way as you check items off your room by room list or your category by category list, you’ll definitely be able to see progress being made and you’ll get a sense of accomplishment each time you check off one of your boxes on your project list.
Pro Tip: Don’t Save Things For Later
If you don’t know where something is going to go or otherwise can’t seem to make a decision on it, don’t set it aside for later. It’s an easy thing to do, but by doing this you’re addressing the very things that are causing the clutter. The “saved for later” stack of stuff will only continue to grow and you’ll end up making the project longer and the clutter even worse. So, try to touch something only once. One of the keys to decluttering and getting organized is that everything should have its place. Remember “less is more” when it comes to keeping things nice and tidy and sure makes things a lot easier.
Digitally Downsize Wherever You Can
Anything paper from bills, receipts, statements, and old photos, now is the time to keep them in the cloud. Over the years, file storage space has become ridiculously cheap, fast, and easy to access from anywhere. Take advantage of the technology and as an over-arching strategy of your downsizing project now is a great time to go paperless.
Don’t Be A Saver Of Everything
Clutter builds up when you keep everything that your purchased or that you received as a gift. When something sits around your house unused, perhaps even put away in some cabinet or drawer somewhere then it serves no real purpose in your life. So, does it still make sense to keep it? In fact, you may not even know that you had certain items, if you had not embarked on your downsizing project. If you use it, find a place for it in your home, else it might be time for it to go.
Don’t Put Anything In Storage
The entire point of your downsizing project is to do just that… downsize. It shouldn’t mean just hiding it somewhere else and now paying for the privilege to do so. If you feel the items that you are considering placing in storage have a monetary value, then you should determine what that value actually is. For example, if you end up with a storage unit that you have $1,000 worth of your items stored in, and that storage unit costs you $500 per year… at the end of the first year what now is the net worth of your items that you have stored?
As far as using what storage space you have in your new place, go with square or rectangular storage bins. These are easy to use and stackable. That circular storage container doesn’t fit nicely into corners and takes up more space. If you’re buying bins, consider that wicker is strong and can still look good outside of a closet.
Do Keep The Things You Enjoy
You goal for downsizing shouldn’t be get rid of everything. If you enjoy having something around from your college days or a few old tools that your grandpa used then keep them. You home should always reflect the things that make your happy. The key is to able to do an honest assessment of what you need, use, and ultimately enjoy. So, When going through everything, make sure to keep what is really important to you. Keep what truly makes you happy and find new homes for most of the rest. You’ll actually find you’re much happier when you move into the new location because of it.
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