Deciding to transition (downsize) into a smaller home or apartment can provide a less stressful and more affordable lifestyle. We downsize for all sorts of reasons; empty nesting, divorce, retirement, medical reasons, age…the list goes on and on. But, getting rid of all that extra stuff to move into a smaller space is not an easy task. That’s why we’ve put together the best tips on how to downsize your home with help from organizing professionals like Marie Kondo. Follow along for steps on how to declutter and downsize your home quickly!
One vital thing about downsizing is to pace yourself. It doesn’t happen in a day, or even 2 or 3. You want to give yourself plenty of time to downsize so that you don’t over-stress. Experts will tell you that 2 to 3 weeks is a great pace, or even longer is necessary. The point being; take your time, do it right, and don’t get stressed out.
Focus on One Room at a Time
Many folks make the mistake of trying to downsize the entire house at once. That, however, can be confusing and lead to errors or oversights. Better to concentrate on one room at a time and finish them as you go. Start with rooms that aren’t used as often, like a spare bedroom or the den. Save the kitchen and master bedroom for last as you use them the most.
Use the “One-a-Day” Method of Downsizing
The One-a-Day method of downsizing states that you should give one item a day away. That can be to a friend, charity, or even the garbage removal team. Some go even further and use the date as their daily guide number. For example, on the 1st of the month, they give away one thing. On the 4th, 4 things, the 22nd, 22 things, and so forth. Either method will help you slowly but surely pare down to the bare essentials.
Digitize As Much as You Can
From photographs to documents, books, magazines, and more, if you can digitize it, make it so! Considering you can fit an entire library on a tiny hard drive, digitizing makes a lot of sense when downsizing.
Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash to Downsize Your Home
Known as the “4 Box Method”, this downsizing strategy has you use 4 boxes. One box is marked “Keep,” the others “Sell,” “Donate” and “Trash,” respectively. As you’re downsizing, use the 4 to determine what to do with every item. It’s an easy-ish way to get rid of things and help others in the process. (With the donated stuff.)
Which Items Should You Give Away and Toss?
There is a wide range of things that have no sentimental value in every American home. These things can easily be given away or tossed, depending on what they are. It’s basically “how to downsize your home” 101! They include:
- Books and magazines. (Unless they were gifts or special editions.)
- Mismatched socks and older clothes.
- Old towels and sheets
- Kitchen appliances and gadgets you don’t use
- Drinkware like mugs and glasses you never use
- Old receipts, spices, and cookbooks.
- Outdated electronics, including DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, etc. (8-tracks too!)
- Old, mismatched, or worn-out food storage containers.
- Hangers, especially from the store or dry cleaners.
Consider What to Do with Bigger Items First
When it comes to how to downsize your home, the big stuff can be the most difficult. Washers and dryers, refrigerators, ride-on mowers, and other big stuff take up a LOT of space. If you’re moving to an apartment, you might not need (or be able to fit) them. They’re also more challenging to sell, donate, or trash because they’re big, bulky, and heavy. That’s why figuring out what to do with them should be one of your first tasks.
Use the KonMari Method of Downsizing Your Home
Trendy, slightly absurd, but we love it anyway – the KonMari method says to toss things that “no longer spark joy” in your life. (No, husbands don’t count!) Take, for example, a pillow. If it doesn’t somehow make you feel joyous, happy, or even slightly giddy, let it go. (Sell it, donate it or trash it.)
Use Multifunctional Furniture to Downsize Your Home
If you’re downsizing to save space, multi-functional furniture is excellent. A sofa bed, for example, or a Murphy bed makes sense in a tiny apartment. Drop-leaf tables are fantastic for saving space, as well as folding chairs. Modular furniture that opens up when needed is excellent too!
Rent a Storage Unit to Downsize Your Home
One of the very best ways to downsize and save space is to rent a storage unit. Clean, safe, and secure, you can store almost anything in a storage unit. They’re affordable, too, and you can use them as a big closet! Renting a storage unit is one of the easier ways to downsize, no question. It can also give you extra time to downsize and keep your stress down, too!
Moove In Can Help You Downsize Your Home
The process of downsizing may be difficult at times, but with a little planning and some patience, you will get through it! Through that journey, Moove In is here to help. After you try the rest of these tips. put anything you are not ready to part with yet into a storage unit! Hold on to keepsakes because they likely have meaning and memories that you want to keep close. Then, when the time is right and you feel up to sorting through it all, you can visit your storage unit and take that next step of going through all the excess.
Check out more organization and storage tips on the blog.
This post was originally published on 1/12/2017. It was updated on 9/7/2021.