There are many reasons for downsizing to a smaller home, from saving money to simply wanting a more manageable household. Many people look forward to having less clutter, lower utilities, and more efficient use of their space. What they may not look forward to, however, is the process of clearing all that clutter. Downsizing requires a significant paring down of household items, and it can be a daunting task if you don’t have a plan. These tips can help you decide what to keep, what to toss, and how to go about the general process of moving into a smaller home.
Checklist for Downsizing to a Smaller House
1. Measure Your New Home
To get a good idea of just how much you will need to get rid of, make sure you know the dimensions of your new home. Figure out roughly how much space that translates to in the home you will be leaving. For example, your new house might be the same square footage as your current living room and kitchen combined. Visualize that space when you begin packing and clearing.
2. Set Goals for Downsizing
As you begin your downsizing journey, keep in mind your reasons for doing this in the first place. Perhaps you are downsizing to be closer to grandchildren, to save money, or to have more free time to spend with your family. Whatever the reason, remembering your goals can help you stay optimistic and focused during the process.
3. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
The last thing you need when sifting through seemingly endless amounts of clutter is to feel rushed. You want to be able to take your time to avoid having to throw away meaningful or useful items. If possible, start the clearing process at least three months before you plan to move.
4. Have a System
Implement a method for clearing items that makes sense to you. These are a few tried and true systems that many organizers suggest:
The Four Box System
When it comes to choosing what to do with a particular item, this system limits you to four options: keep, trash/recycle, donate, and sell. You can set out four boxes or bins with these labels and toss items in as you clean.
If you find you are filling your “keep” bins much more quickly than the other bins, re-evaluate what is in them. Remember that if an item is broken, out-dated, or no longer meaningful to you, there is no reason to save it.
The KonMari Method
Mari Kondo gained significant popularity for her balanced approach to clearing clutter within a home. Her KonMari Method recommends focusing on categories in a specific order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and, finally, sentimental items.
This method is especially useful if you find you are having a hard time getting started clearing your home for fear of throwing away something important. Sentimental items are saved for last, so you can get a good amount of tidying done before you even have to worry about that.
When you do get to the end stage of your tidying, use the second part of the KonMari method. This involves recognizing whether or not an item “sparks joy” within you. If it does not, it is time to remove the object with gratitude for its past usefulness.
Closet Hanger Method
This system will be a lifesaver for the clothes horse in your life. Even if an article of clothing is too small, old fashioned, or full of holes, it can be difficult to get rid of for many people. Help yourself understand which clothes you truly cannot live without by utilizing the closet hanger method.
To use this method, turn all of your clothes that are on hangers away from you. When you wear a specific item, turn the hanger toward you. After a few months have passed, examine which items are still turned away from you. These items should be donated or thrown away.
5. Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, and professionals when you begin the downsizing process. There is a lot of grunt work involved, including lots of lifting, trash trips, and cleaning. If the physical aspect of moving is turning out to be too much, do yourself a favor and hire some help and/or bring in the family to lend a hand.
Making the Transition to Senior Living
If you are downsizing in preparation for the journey to senior living, contact Brenda Kellogg Meyer. As a licensed Senior Real Estate Specialist, Brenda can help you find your perfect new home in a community that suits your lifestyle goals. Call or go online to chat with Brenda today.
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