When you downsize your home, it often feels like you’re downsizing your life. However, clearing your life of extra possessions can leave more room for what matters-people and experiences.
There are many ways you can sort your items to determine what to leave behind. However, going from the biggest and most obvious items down to the most sentimental is more manageable for many people. Read below to learn how to carry out this strategy during your next move.
1. If It Doesn’t Fit, You Don’t Need It
This strategy works best if you’ve already walked around your new place. Once you can gauge how big your new rooms are, you’ll have a better idea of what furniture you’ll need. You’ll also know which furniture items you’ll need to replace with smaller versions.
The main items to downsize in the furniture department are couches, shelves, and tables. If you are moving to a smaller home because all your kids are grown, do you really need a dining room table that seats eight? If you now live alone, do you need both a couch and a loveseat?
If you’re moving to a condo, apartment, or a smaller yard, you can apply this strategy to outdoor equipment as well. If you don’t need a riding lawnmower and it won’t fit in your new place, don’t keep it.
The key is to sell what doesn’t fit so you can put that money towards high-quality items that you will use and love. If you don’t need a full-size couch, you can indulge in a brand-new loveseat that will suit you much better.
2. Be Ruthless with Your Clothes
Most people have far more clothing than they ever wear. So how do you get rid of the extras? The simplest way is to use the three-box method. Label three boxes as “donate,” “trash,” and “keep.” If it has holes or deodorant stains, it goes in the trash. If you wear a shirt multiple times a month, keep it.
Your “donate” box is for clothing that you don’t actually wear. If you haven’t worn something in over a year, you probably won’t wear it ever again. Be ruthless-you’ve had plenty of chances to wear those pants, but you didn’t, so give it to someone who will.
Donating your clothes to a reputable charity can help you feel better about losing your belongings. A pair of dress pants you wore once can help someone get a job. A t-shirt you got for free can clothe a child in foster care.
Of course, you can feel free to exempt one-use only items like wedding dresses from ruthless purging.
3. Preserve Sentimental Belongings that Make You Happy
We all have belongings that mean something, whether they’re your grandmother’s china, your daughter’s baby clothes, or a stack of your child’s drawings. Sentimental items are the hardest to part with because of the emotions that they stand for.
This means that instead of being completely logical about it, you need to get your emotions involved if you want to part with them. Only hold on to things that make you feel happy, not things that bring up bad memories, resentment, or other negative emotions.
As you sort, touch every item and ask yourself, “Does this make me feel joy?” If not, consider donating or selling it. If it’s something large, take a picture. You can also scan children’s drawings and keep them in a digital album.
Downsizing can seem like a stressful process, but when you follow these steps, it can go smoothly and cause less emotional strain. If you’re relocating or downsizing, call your local moving company for a moving estimate.