A 3-Step Downsizing Plan
person CondoGo | watch_later 2022-02-04
A 3-Step Downsizing Plan

Moving into a new house is both exciting and sad. You are excited for the change, but you also have memories at your old home that you will miss. Downsizing can be even harder—a smaller place means you might not have room for all of your current possessions.

But downsizing can also be a chance to begin again, getting rid of clutter and filling your new place with the things that feel most important to you.

Here are three steps for downsizing without sacrificing your meaningful belongings.

1. Make a plan

When you arrive at your new residence, measure the rooms and storage areas. This will be your guide for how much you can take with you. It is better to underestimate than overestimate.

Here’s a good way to feel better about moving: take it one room at a time. You don’t have to pack up the whole house right away. Just get started on one room, and leave yourself enough time so you aren’t rushing around.

Choose your furniture first. Starting with larger pieces and working toward smaller pieces will give you a sense of how much space you have left to fill. You don’t want to have to re-arrange everything if your bookshelf doesn't fit in the new place you're moving to.

2. Sort your belongings

Will you use it? It’s easy to convince yourself you might still wear that 10-year-old shirt with the tags still on someday. But if you haven’t used it in the past year, it’s likely you never will.

You might also consider getting rid of duplicates: do you have multiple coffee-makers or multiple sets of dishes? If you can only use one at a time, it doesn't make sense to keep both.

Follow a strict yes/no policy when sorting through your stuff. Make two piles: “yes” and “no.” Only items that you can confidently say “yes” to earn a place in the “yes” pile. The rest will go in the “no” pile — no maybes allowed. For example, if you aren't convinced you'll wear an item again because it hasn't been worn in years, it's a no-brainer to throw out those old jeans or lawn furniture.

Divide your unwanted items into four piles: keep, give away, sell, or recycle. You may want to use a colored marker to make different sections. Special items may be handed down to friends or family members. Furniture, housewares, clothing and other items in good condition could be sold at a garage sale or on sites like Craigslist. Or, you can choose to donate reusable items to organizations like Goodwill, who sometimes offer neighborhood or even residential pickups, making your task that much simpler. Anything damaged or worn beyond repair should make its way to the recycling bin or a trip to the dump.

3. Preserve memories

Digitize your photos to free up space and share them with family. Photo albums take up a lot of room, and how often do you actually go through them? Pick up a digital frame or create a slideshow screensaver for your TV or computer and watch all of your photos in a rotating slideshow.

Take photos of items that bring up good memories, but you no longer have room for. You can look back on the memories without actually keeping the items.

To ensure that your treasured items will be in good hands, pass them on to your children, grandchildren or close friends. They will love the gift, and you can enjoy seeing the items being used.

One way to make the most of old items is to use them to make something new. If you love crafting, you can put together items like letters, movie stubs and photos in a scrapbook. This can help you keep track of your life's experiences. Or you can create three-dimensional art using shadowboxes. By gathering your memories in one place, you'll find that it's easier than ever to enjoy them.

Downsizing can be emotional. You'll discover things that you haven't seen in years and will have to decide what to do with them. Give yourself some time to reminisce, then make a decision. Keep in mind your space limitations. Take with you what is truly valuable—only you can decide what you can't do without.

Just imagine: Once you’ve finished your move, you’ll be able to enjoy your new place surrounded by the feeling of home.

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