It almost seems like there are two types of homeowners in the world — the ones who cherish their belongings and the ones who cherish decluttering their belongings. No matter whether you keep every sentimental item, or spring clean and cleanse every month of the year, deciding what to discard when you downsize to a new home is difficult. Here are six tips on how to tackle downsizing.
Turn on your Marie Kondo mode
Moving into a smaller house, forces you into Marie Kondo mode. Ask yourself — does it bring me joy? If not, give it away, donate it, recycle it, better yet…sell it. With easy access to Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and countless apps and websites geared specifically for this purpose, selling or giving away belongings to charity has never been easier.
Give yourself time, give it some thought
It may seem like if you wait for the last minute, then you’ll be forced to part with the excess items. But in reality, you’ll be so overwhelmed that you’ll stop organizing and be forced to just go into packing and moving mode. You’ll end up at a brand new home, weighed down by furniture that doesn’t fit and belongings that you don’t want. The last few weeks before you move might be too late, so give yourself at least 2-3 months before the move!
You don’t have to draw out blueprints and arrange your new space in your head, but consider what the square footage difference is between your old house and new house. Also rearrange and strategize based on how many rooms you’ll have. If you’re downsizing from a 4-bedroom family home to a 2-bedroom, you’ll have entire rooms of large furniture that you won’t need. Decide which pieces you want to make the most of in your new space. If you are downsizing from a 3-bedroom to another 3-bedroom that just has smaller square footage, then you have a different equation. In that case, think of how existing or new furniture can be used to maximize space with tall cabinets, narrow tall dressers, and wall shelving.
Repurpose instead of re-purchasing
If the refreshing feeling of purging your belongings gets to you, it can be hard to stop. If you have the desire to just start fresh, you might be looking forward to decorating and setting up a new home with your current tastes. It’s understandable and it’s exciting. It’s a chance to paint new walls with the colors you love, to go shopping, and to decorate the space with your new favorite furniture and decor. But make sure that you don’t go too far and start tossing out items that you will just have to re-purchase. Analyze what you can repurpose and change up, so that you don’t end up having large needless expenses.
While you’re probably thinking about all of the heavy furniture that you’ll have to transport, one of the most difficult things about moving is all your papers. The old tax documents, real estate files, every birthday card that your kids drew, and Christmas cards distant family friends sent two years ago really stack up. Give yourself time to go through your paperwork. Make and organize digital files and folders of everything that you don’t need physical copies of.
Old CDs and DVDs, and even photos are other items that you can save onto the cloud or a local hard drive to free up more space. You don’t have to go totally paperless, but you’ll be glad that you’re not starting a new life with file cabinets of things that you don’t want or need.
Think like an interior designer
Arranging and decorating a new home may seem daunting, but it is also a fun, creative, and personal endeavor. Here are some tips for how to think like an interior designer for when you get to that point.