Smart Tips for Downsizing Without Losing Your Mind

There are a lot of reasons to be downsizing your home. Perhaps you’re moving in with someone, preparing for an upcoming move, or simply moving to a place smaller than your current home.

The truth is, downsizing can be a trying time for all of us. Why? Well, mostly because we love our stuff. And smaller places – by definition – allow for less stuff.

But no matter your reason, we’re to help you downsize with a strategy, keeping what you need, parting ways with the rest, and feeling better in the long run.

Here’s how to downsize without losing your mind:

Start Big

Before you start pulling boxes out of storage and rifling through memorabilia, start with the big stuff. This means beds, dressers, nightstands, couches, coffee tables, and any other sizable pieces of furniture that may have found their way into your home over the years.

The goal here is to decide what you want to keep, and what you can keep. An old horizontal dresser, for instance, may have no real use if your new bedroom is much smaller or has a walk-in closet that could hold everything on its own.

Same goes for beds. The most obvious thing to consider is the number of bedrooms you’ll have at the new place. Typically, downsizes mean a jump from let’s say three bedrooms to two, or two to one. So if you have three beds, but are about to have only two bedrooms, it’s probably time to say goodbye to one of them. Sad, I know. But remember: it’s one less huge thing to carry.

When working with the big stuff, tape measures and floor plans are your best friend. Walk around your home and ask yourself: do you really want to keep this? And if so, will it fit comfortably and functionally in your new place?

Once you know which pieces of furniture you’re keeping, the rest of the downsizing process becomes much easier. But for now, get started selling, donating, or throwing out what you don’t need – even though it might hurt a bit.

Now for the Very Small Stuff

If I look at my coffee table right now, and really think about, I could probably throw away half of what’s scattered on top and never miss it for a second.

And I could do the same thing in my kitchen, bedroom, closet, bathroom – you get the idea.

Assuming I’m not the only one, decluttering is a good next step in your downsizing process. Fact is, clutter stresses us out, and it grows in our homes so fast and so quietly we tend to forget it’s really there. So let’s get rid of what we can, and skip out on the extra stress.

You can do this however you like, but the idea is to move from room to room, cubby to cubby, and set aside what you can donate, sell, or toss out.

Now, you don’t need to go overboard – some items have a sentimental value that if you throw away in a fit of decluttering, you may end up wishing you had kept. That’s perfectly fine. But for plenty of other items, they are simply taking up space in our homes, our minds, and – if we’re not careful – our upcoming moving trucks.

Old magazines? Books? Near-empty or never-used spices? A myriad of personal hygiene products you’ve forgotten about? Seventeen spatulas when you’ve only ever used three? How about the t-shirt you bought four years ago and haven’t worn?

Stuff like that. For most of us, there’s a lot of it laying around.

And speaking of seventeen spatulas, let’s wrap up with a few tips on downsizing from “way more than necessary” to something closer to “ slightly more than necessary”. Bonus points to those that can get all the way to just “necessary”.

How Much is Enough?

You’ve gone through the big stuff, mapping out what you can and want to keep, and starting a plan to get rid of the rest.

You’ve decluttered your heart out, throwing away the partnerless socks and the drawer of VHS tapes you still, for some reason, have.

Now, you basically know everything you’ll be keeping. This is great. But after all, we are talking about downsizing here, so it raises an important question: how much of something is enough?

Here’s what we mean by that. Sure, there’s no denying you need wine glasses. But do you really need twelve, especially in a smaller home? Maybe, maybe not.

The idea here is just because we know we need a certain item, we may not need as much as we currently have. And this idea can be used with almost anything in your home.

Common culprits include wardrobes, massive collections of unread books, and multiple kitchen gadgets that all serve the same purpose. But truthfully, the list goes on and on.

Of course, everyone has different needs and preferences. But if you’re being 100% honest with yourself, you’re likely to find you’re living with a whole lot more than you could ever possibly use.

At the end of all of this, when you’re done with your downsize and unpacking boxes in your new space, you’ll be glad you took these steps. And with any luck, you’ll feel better too.

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