Have you heard the phrase, bigger is better?
Well, it isn’t always the case, and less is more, especially when you begin to consider the tiny house trend and how many people are downsizing their lifestyle to embrace this fascinating trend.
While people downsize for a lot of reasons, the most popular reasons for downsizing is to cut down cost, save more money, and get rid of used space.
Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, downsizing your home isn’t such a bad thing and could prove to be the right move, especially at specific points in your life.
For instance, once you become an empty-nester, you’ll find that getting a smaller home makes sense.
Also, moving into a small apartment as a millennial looking to save money to travel or retire early is among the reasons people downsize nowadays.
Since there are tons of reasons why anyone would love to downsize, we have put together this brilliant guide for people who want to learn how to downsize their homes efficiently.
Today’s guide features top tips to downsize your home and live clutter-free.
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Get started and pace yourself
It’s best to start downsizing right away.
This will give you ample time to go through your house without feeling overwhelmed.
From experience, we know it’s best to begin downsizing at least three months before the date you plan to move.
And if you can start sooner, that will be good too.
Besides getting started on the whole downsizing process, the process will help rid your current space of things you no longer need.
In the last couple of years, organisation methods like the KonMari method have become insanely popular.
But whatever method you decide to use, the goal is to find a synced and balanced workflow.
This will ensure you easily choose the belongings you’d like to keep.
That said, here are some popular organisation methods you should know.
- The one-A-Day Method: This method is insanely popular among declutterers and entails getting rid of one item a day. It also means letting go of a number of your personal belongings on specific dates, for instance, giving 6 of your things away on the 6th day of every month.
- The KonMari: This method entails decluttering by category. By category, we mean items like books, clothes, sentimental items and other miscellaneous items. The KonMari method advocates that you get rid of items that no longer spark your joy.
- The Four Box Method: With this decluttering method, you restrict your options for dealing with your properties to four main options. These options include trashing/recycling, donating, keeping or selling off. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid keeping your items in storage. It may sound like a brilliant thing to do, but it may become expensive to keep up in the long run.
- The famous Closet Hanger Method: This method involves ensuring that the face of all your closet hangers hooks away from you. Essentially, when you wear an item, for instance, you have to turn the hunger hook towards you. So after six months or more, you can give away items that are still facing away.
Declutter one room at a time
Decluttering your entire house at a time might sound super challenging.
But guess what?
Taking it one step at a time has proven the intelligent thing to do.
From experience, we know that it is a lot easier to downsize if you break it up into multiple or manageable processes.
To get started, we suggest you come up with a plan.
One way to make the entire process easy is to start from one room and proceed to the next.
Doing this will ensure you don’t get overwhelmed.
Here are some tasks you can take on one at a time as you declutter your space:
- Sweep through your DVD and games discs
- Organise all your small kitchen items
- Put together some of the shoes you’re no longer wearing and dash them off
- Trim down the clothes you have
- Match up small containers, pots and pans
- Visit your dresser drawer and organise it.
Know the measurement of your new space
If you’re thinking of downsizing, a brilliant way to go about it is to have an idea of the new space you plan to move to.
This would entail knowing the square footage and shape of each room.
Figuring this out will help you know which of your large pieces of furniture you should get rid of before moving.
If you’re yet to know the precise measurement of your new place or still looking out for one, we suggest you focus your attention on getting rid of items you’re not going to need.
Once you get more clarity, you can dig into those items you weren’t initially sure of.
Remember that your current furniture pieces may not fit into the place you’re moving to.
So rather than just squeeze large furniture pieces into a small space, we want you to focus on what works and take some time to redesign your space.
Consider your new lifestyle
Besides knowing the inch-by-inch measurement of your new space, it’s always a brilliant move to consider why you’re downsizing and what you hope to get from it.
When downsizing, we have come to realise that you not only have to consider items that will physically fit but also items that fit into what you’re looking to achieve in your new space.
Always see downsizing as an opportunity to reset and revamp.
If you look at it this way, you’ll approach it differently.
With a clear understanding of what you’re looking to achieve with decluttering, it will be easy to stick to the plan without getting overwhelmed.
We know that you’re likely going to save money by downsizing, but it shouldn’t end there.
Ask yourself why you’re downsizing.
While some people’s reason for downsizing is to save money to travel, others downsize to save money for their children’s college education.
For some people, downsizing makes it easier to maintain their space, giving them more time to pick new hobbies or spend quality time with their loved ones.
With a more specific goal, you’ll find that downsizing your home isn’t as challenging as your thought.
Here are some questions we want you to ask yourself:
- What are your main reasons for downsizing?
- What do you intend to achieve?
What are the things you’ll miss the most about your old space
- What new hobbies or activities would you like to explore?
- What excites you the most about the entire downsizing process?
- What gets you nervous about the process?
- What steps can you take to help with your nervousness?
- What are the things you’d love to do when you move to your new space?
By setting your goals and intentions ahead of time, you’ll have a better picture of what items you’d like to have in your new home.
Have decluttering ground rules
Once you start downsizing and sweeping through items, it will become easier to make exceptions for some things.
Before you realise it, all you have been able to achieve is take some items and move them to another instead of deciding where those items actually belong.
If you find yourself in such a situation, a brilliant thing to do is follow a robust set of ground rules when sorting through your items.
Some of these ground rules can include:
- Passing it down to a family member.
To be honest, categorising your items can vary based on what you’re looking to achieve.
Nevertheless, try to avoid categories you classify as “maybes.”
Whether your main goal of decluttering is to organise your space or you plan to move to a smaller space, always ensure you document the entire process.
An excellent way to go about this is to take before and after photos.
This will help you reminisce and encourage you to maintain your good habit once you’re done downsizing.
Pass on sentimental items
It’s true that when downsizing, you’re going to find that some sentimental items won’t fit into your new space.
So for such items, we recommend passing them down to a family member or friend.
This will give you peace of mind knowing that the item has found a good home.
When downsizing your space, it’s best to sort through sentimental items early and schedule them for pick up a week or two in advance.
If these sentimental items are things your friends or family members aren’t willing to take or are too young to manage, we suggest you sell them off and put the money into savings.
At the right time, you can pass it on as a gift.
Who knows, the money may prove very useful at that time.
If you think you’re going to miss these items, a good thing to do is take a picture of them and add details like what it signifies and where they came from.
You can use the images to create a treasure book.
Here are some other ways to memorialise sentimental items:
- Capture images of sweet notes and cards
- Scan and upload memorabilia like pay bills and tickets
- Take photos of your children’s artwork.
There are tons of ways to organise your memories.
You can decide to create a chronological or categorised list of books you have.
Ideally, we advise you stick with whatever makes sense for you.
Sell off nonsentimental items
A brilliant way to handle nonsentimental items you don’t plan to have in your new space is to sell them off.
You can use the money realised to pay for moving or new decor essentials.
There are tons of online marketplaces where you can quickly sell these things.
Some of them are LetGo, eBay, Craiglist and more.
However, when using any of these platforms to sell your items, please ensure you take anti-fraud precautions, so you don’t end up losing money.
Before you even list an item, we suggest you read through the guidelines provided by these platforms.
If you have listed some of the items you intend to sell, and you aren’t getting any enquiries about them, we suggest you donate them to a good cause.
Popular non-profit organisations like Goodwill, The Arc, Salvation army, and Furniture Bank will be happy to receive these items.
For high valued items you don’t intend to take to your new space, we recommend getting them appraised.
Once you get their actual value, you can have them auctioned, donated or passed down to a family member.
Get help if needed
As we mentioned right from the get-go, downsizing can be challenging.
So if you find the process exhausting, we suggest you get some help to speed up the process.
Reach out to a few friends and family members and ask them if they can help you out.
If you get a yes, then be grateful and show them your gratitude.
When downsizing, it’s good to know your strength and weaknesses.
Assuming you’re pretty good at organising, you can ask your friends to help you move boxes.
On the other hand, if you suck at organising, you can pay someone great at it to get the job done.
When hiring someone to organise your items, make sure they start from the most challenging room and observe how they go about it.
You can apply what you learned to organise the other rooms in your home.
Also, when packing, make sure you don’t pack money, jewellery or other important valuables.
You can do that when you move, so you don’t lose them.
Frequently asked questions
How can I start downsizing my space?
When downsizing, a good place to start is to take it one room at a time and organise as you go.
Make sure you start early and get rid of duplicate items.
Above all, if you get overwhelmed, ensure you get help to make things easier.
Can I downsize by myself?
If your current space isn’t all that big, you can go at it alone.
However, if it is too big, we suggest you get help.
Should I pay to downsize my space?
If you don’t have the time to downsize your space, you can opt for the help of a professional.
However, going this route will mean paying more, so keep that in mind.