You can “declutter” your home to downsize to a smaller living space, to free yourself from the care of possessions or to save money. Decluttering gives you freedom from stuff - papers, books, clothing, photos, your parents’ stuff, your children’s stuff. “Downsizing” is making decluttering decisions to toss, sell, donate, and keep for moving into a smaller space. To help determine how much you need to downsize, compare the space reduction with what you need to fit into the new place.
Here are five helpful tips:
- The number one tip about decluttering is starting before you have to downsize.
- Group like items. Gather everything from drawers, closets, under beds and other storage areas to sort into categories like books, clothing, artwork, photos. Review items in one category at a time. Start slowly. Set a timer for a specific amount of time – no longer than 30 minutes. Take a break then return to the task the next day. Discard anything that is damaged, stained or broken.
- Can you answer “yes” to “Do I love it?” “Do I need it?” or “Will I use it?” If not, then get rid of it regardless of its condition or expense. Then make three piles: toss, donate and sell. If you don’t get initially excited about an item, it’s time to let it go.
- Remove everything from a space, then physically put back items. Choosing to keep, rather than choosing to let go, will result in keeping fewer things that you truly want.
- Start with the least emotional area of your home first. Memories—not things—matter. Learn to let go of guilt and sadness as you sort through the sentimental items. Find the freedom to move on to your next season.
Destination donated items
Local consignment shops, repurposed building supply stores and thrift shops might take some of your items. Decide what to keep, then give family members a chance to select their favorites. Make time for important conversations like deciding who gets a family heirloom. Sell the rest online.
By decluttering your possessions before it’s absolutely necessary, you’ll make it easier on your family. By doing this before it’s absolutely necessary, you can host a garage sale rather than pay someone to haul your stuff. You may even like the results so much, you’ll stay longer in your home to enjoy the extra space. A clutter-free space breathes life into your home.