It’s time to downsize. Now what?
Downsizing, or rightsizing as some call it, is a right of passage. Keep these tips in mind for a smooth (and dare I say enjoyable) journey.
Focus on what you need and want to bring to your next home. Deciding what to keep is a personal decision heavily influenced by our experiences. As you make decisions, use your future home’s size as a gauge for what you CAN keep. Do you have three furnished bedrooms now and your new space has one? Two of your three beds will need new homes. Does your new home come furnished with curtains? Time to donate those extras.
As you make decisions remember a few things: age does not equal value, value is relative, and keeping only what you need, use, and love is a good start. A favorite organizing quote that might come in handy comes from Francine Jay, “Your home is living space, not storage space.”
Get excited about where your unwanted items are going. Loved ones might want your items but it’s unlikely they’ll want the majority of them. Start researching local organizations who can benefit from your donations. For example, Bridging. They use donations to furnish apartments and homes for people transitioning out of homelessness. Local Buy Nothing groups connect you with neighbors who might be looking for items you’re offloading. Your group can be found by searching Facebook using your neighborhood and “Buy Nothing” as search terms. Reframe the process. You’re not just “getting rid of your stuff”. You are rehoming your items so they can live on!
Stop bringing new items into the home. This is a difficult one for many folks. If your goal is to downsize, shopping and bringing in new items will surely complicate things. Instead of buying new, consider bringing out the China you’ve used sparingly if at all and start using it! Using instead of storing your beloved belongings can help dissuade your urge to buy new items. If not now, when?
Downsize early and often with your goals top of mind. It’s a lucky few who get to downsize on their own timeline. Create your own luck by starting now! The work of sifting through years of papers, photos, clothes, holiday decorations, etc. can be grueling. Try breaking it into manageable pieces. Three hours here. Three hours there. By breaking down the work you avoid burnout and can measure small successes as you get closer to your downsizing goal.
As you begin or continue downsizing remember that you are not your stuff. Sift and sort and think about a life lived and of all the life yet to live! Happy downsizing.
Preparing for life's transitions is difficult but can be made easier by working with a professional organizer. Naomi Hertsgaard is a Twin Cities based home organizer with Shared Planet Home Organizing. Learn more about her and her services at www.sharedplanethome.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Naomi can provide gentle guidance and expertise as you sort through items and make decisions to simplify your space, freeing you up to focus on what matters most.
The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less by Christine Platt
Downsizing the Family Home by Marni Jameson
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson