Downsizing your home can be beneficial no matter what stage of life you are in. Having all that extra stuff can feel cumbersome and overwhelming. It actually can lead to stress. In our latest post, we discuss easy ways to downsize your house without all the stress.
With each year that passes, it seems that most of us gain more and more stuff. Many of us have closets filled with items we aren’t using, and things stored away in the attic that never see the light of day. Many people buy a home when they are first starting their family, ensuring they have enough space for everyone. But as the years pass and the kids eventually move out on their own, they find they are living in a house that is too large and filled with too much stuff to manage. Below we offer some great tips for downsizing, making it easier to sell when you are ready.
Tip #1 – The One Year Rule
You might have heard this rule for your closets. Turn all the hangers backward, and anything still backward in a year should be given away. These are the items you don’t wear, but that are taking up valuable real estate in your closet. While you might have one or two sentimental items, try to keep these to a minimum. You can also apply this rule to other clutter-prone areas of your house. Think kitchen gadgets, craft supplies, old DVD’s, and so on. If you haven’t used it in the past year, the odds are pretty low that it will get any use in the future. This is being put to the test in my own closet. About 6 months in it is amazing to see how many clothes hangers are still backwards. The one year rule gets you through all the seasons.
Tip #2 – Repurpose And Give
You likely have many things you are keeping due to sentimental value. While it is more than okay to hang on to some of these items having too much can weigh you down. Maybe your kids or grandkids would love to have your old Christmas ornaments that are lying around in the closet. Things such as old toys, clothes, and artworks can find new homes with people you love. This way you can find joy in knowing they are being used and loved, without taking up storage space in your house. Or even doing something such as taking pictures of the items for your memories. That way you can have a garage sale for extra money OR donate them to a good cause. Maybe it is time for your kids to take possession of their own things instead of storing them at your house. If they don’t want their own things, do you want to hold onto to those things in the hopes that they will one day want them? (Sorry personal action with my youngest when she was cleaning out her room. I couldn’t bear to see the cute things being thrown away so I saved them in the hopes she will want them when she gets older. That is probably wishful thinking.)
Tip #3 – Look Through All The Boxes
Sure, this might seem like a lot of work. But for many people, they will find that all kinds of random possessions have accumulated. They will only end up keeping one or two things, giving away or throwing away the rest. You might be surprised at what has piled up over the years!
Tip #4 – Assess Your Furniture
Do you need the massive sectional sofa anymore? Is the giant coffee table still a necessity? Think about your future new space, and what kind of items will fit nicely. You can ditch the entertainment center, and instead, hang the TV up on a wall. You can opt for a smaller couch, dining table, etc. You can sell these items, and use the cash toward new furniture for your new space. Do you use it or is it taking up valuable space?
Tip #5 – Digitize Where It Makes Sense
Piles of papers all over the house. Does this sound familiar? It seems we all have a stack of papers (or 5) that we are going to get around to dealing with. Make that time now and toss or shred anything that is no longer needed. You can scan in old bills and receipts if needed, and opt to go paperless for future statements. Make a rule to deal with mail as it comes in instead of letting it pile up everywhere. BUT be sure if you digitize things you have a backup copy. Don’t want to have that digitized copy fail you when you need it.
Tip #6 – Get Rid Of The Dupes
Do you need 4 sets of wine glasses or will one set do? Do you need two desks in the office or can you share one? There are many instances where people buy 2 of something, never using both at the same time. Take an inventory and keep your favorite items, giving away or selling the other items. Doesn’t everybody need 50 glasses in their cupboard? (I am speaking to myself there)
Tip #7 – Organize Everything
Before moving, take the time to organize all of your belongings. Group books, glassware, clothing, and other items. This will make packing and moving simple when you decide to go. Label all boxes and only pack similar items together. Label on multiple sides. Never know which way the box will face. Be aware that cardboard boxes can have critters like silverfish over time and also break down so it might better to buy the plastic containers. Plastic is water proof, seals well (keep out the critters), and sturdy.
Tip #8 – Hire A Pro
Yes, there is such a thing. You can hire a professional organizer to help you clear out the clutter. They can offer objective opinions if you are debating holding on to an unused item. They will help you get your belongings in order, making an eventual move a breeze.