Smart Tips for Downsizing
Downsizing—cutting down on household belongings and expenses—is no longer just for retirees or those struggling economically. More and more people are downsizing to simplify their lives and living spaces while minimizing waste and expenses. And downsizing is essential when combining households.
Downsizing typically starts with a purge. This initial shedding of belongings can be difficult, even for people who are committed to the idea of simplifying. Taking an organized and methodical approach can make the downsizing process easier and more successful. At Platinum Moving, we’ve been part of many a household downsizing! Here are some of the most useful downsizing tips we’ve gathered.
Deciding What to Keep and What to Toss
There are a lot of different approaches to choosing which household belongings to keep and which to donate or throw away. They typically boil down to one overarching idea: keep only what is truly useful and meaningful to you. Of course, definitions of useful and meaningful vary from person to person! If you or the person you’re helping downsize has trouble with the purge process, consider trying one of these methods.
Smartest Ways to Downsize
- Think about what items you would replace if everything you owned was destroyed in a fire. As explained on Lifehacker, this helps you determine which of your belongings are truly important to you and which you can live without. You wouldn’t replace clothes that don’t fit or knick-knacks that just took up space, right? There are surely plenty of things in your home that aren’t absolutely necessary to you. This exercise will help you cull them.
- Keep stuff for the life you have—not for the life you don’t. It’s easy to keep acquiring things out of habit—if you used to go to cocktail parties and receptions as part of a previous career or social schedule, you may find yourself buying clothes and accessories for those occasions even after you’ve transitioned into another life stage. You may be keeping up a collection even after you’ve lost interest in it or purchasing supplies for a hobby that you’re hoping to commit to—even though you haven’t. Downsizing gives you an opportunity to get realistic about your lifestyle and your everyday necessities. You’ll likely find that it’s a relief to get rid of something that you weren’t using—no more pressure!
- Rethink those “extra” or “just in case” items. Do you keep an extra set of dishes just in case you find yourself with a dozen unexpected dinner guests? Is there an old vacuum cleaner stashed away in your hall closet just in case the one you use breaks down? Do you have extra pots, pans, spatulas, and other cooking tools that rarely, if ever, see the light of the kitchen? Really think about whether or not it’s worth having all these “extra” items taking up your storage space and if you want to continue to house them.
Go Deep: Downsizing Mantras
Even with a solid method in place, it can be very difficult for some people to part with things. For a successful downsizing, it’s critical to let go of that weight. When it’s down to the wire, try these wise words to help you decide what to let go.
- “Does it bless or oppress?” – We’ve all got them—things we hold on to out of obligation. Holiday candlesticks from an aunt who passed years ago. A set of old books given to you when someone was cleaning out their stash. An expensive bag that has been sitting in the back of the closet waiting to be repaired for ages. When you feel reluctant to get rid of something like this—an item that you’re only keeping because you think you should—asking this simple question can help solve your dilemma.
- OHIO (Only Handle It Once) – This is more of a rule than a mantra. If you find that you are often tempted to put things aside in a “maybe” pile, this one’s for you. It means you’ve got to decide whether to keep or toss something as soon as you encounter it—not later.
Key Downsizing Rule: Eyes on the Prize
As you go through your household belongings, dividing up multiples and tossing things that don’t fit, can’t be repaired, or no longer enhance your lifestyle, keep the end result in mind: a home without clutter, peace of mind, and fewer things to take care of. All of the difficult decisions you’re making will be worth it in the end!
And, if you’re downsizing in advance of a local, national, or international move, you’ll have less to pack and transport! Imagine that.
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