Downsizing can be a lot of work, but getting rid of excess junk can also be liberating

Downsizing can be a lot of work, but getting rid of excess junk can also be liberating

There are many reasons why people downsize. Sometimes it is because children leave home and the excess space is no longer needed. Other times, couples separate and items gets divided between exes, including the family home and all its contents. Of course when two people decide to begin living together downsizing occurs as well, as you do not need two of everything (ie. two sets of dishes, cutlery, or excess furniture). Job losses can reduce income, forcing a family to move to cheaper and usually smaller accommodations. And there are some who get tired of the excess stuff that seems to accumulate in our cluttered lives, so choose to ditch the big house and all that comes with it.

Regardless of why you downsize, the process is a big one and can sometimes seem overwhelming. How does one go about reducing your amount of stuff? How do you decide what to keep and what to toss? Where do you start?

Downsizing 101

  • Assess an item’s worth – How essential is the item? Can you live without it? When was the last time it was used? How often do you need it? Can you make do with renting or borrowing said item if it is only used occasionally?
  • Be kind – Make piles of your possessions—keep, sell/donate, trash. You don’t have to get rid of everything, but consider selling or donating items which may still hold value for other people, like furniture which won’t fit in your new home, clothing you haven’t worn in over a year, or appliances and kitchenwares you just don’t use.
  • Be ruthless – Only touch an item once. Once you have made the decision to donate or trash an item, stick with that decision. Put it straight into a box and don’t waver. Downsizing is difficult enough without packing and repacking things which don’t serve you anymore. This is about purging space to make room for your new life.
  • Thin collections – When downsizing, one aspect to take into consideration is the amount of stuff to keep. Consider decreasing collections—keep a set number of a collection, or only your favourites, and purge the rest. Instead of 50 towels, keep 5. Save wine glasses for 4 versus 400.
  • Stem the sentimental side – Sentimental items are often the hardest pieces to let go of, but not impossible. Consider putting your pictures on zip drives to save room from photo albums. Keep sentimental pieces that are in good shape and toss items that are worn or shabby. Rethink items, by keeping a portion of something to repurpose—a swatch from your wedding dress or a table leg—and disposing of the rest of it.
  • Consider your new space – As hard as it is, you have to be realistic. If you are downsizing, all of your existing items physically will just not fit into your new home. Furniture pieces might be too big. Closets might be too small. Storage might be even smaller. Keep your new floorplan in place, as you are sorting.
  • Start today – You have to start somewhere. Start today. Pick a room, choose an area of your home and begin the process. Do a little bit every day, so that you are not overwhelmed by the time moving day arrives. You might even want to consider a lifestyle change and buy less stuff in the future to prevent yourself from having to go through the process again.

Once you have let go of excess stuff, you will be amazed at how freeing it can feel. Think of the space you will create! You might be surprised at how over time our possessions become a yoke on our happiness. So ask yourself. Do you really need all that stuff holding you in place? The answer is NO!

Don’t forget that Load of Rubbish can help. Call us for a pickup once you are done sorting and we’ll take away the donations and/or rubbish. If the pile is too much to handle, call us to assist you with your Estate Cleanup. We can help sort, pack, and organize in a timely and considerate manner that makes the job at hand easier to manage. You don’t need to do it alone. Let us help. It’s what we do.