Downsizing is all the buzz. With the Boomer population aging, the sandwich generation flourishing and the elderly aging in place, you can understand why. This being said, there are lots of ways to make downsizing easier and a lot more efficient. The easiest way is to let us, The Organized.Life do it for you.
Here are our top 10 tips for easy peasy downsizing
1. Be Prepared
Downsizing is not just about a physical preparation, it is also about getting mentally prepared. We can form deep emotional attachments to the things within our home but we need to be realistic about what we should keep and what needs to go. Be aware that specific items can cause us emotional stress, and in order to combat these triggers we commend making two initial piles; one to keep, and the other to dispose of. This way it allows you to revisit the “keep” pile at any given time.
2. Tools & Equipment
As with any project, you need to prep your space with the proper tools and equipment in order to complete the project move with efficiency and speed. Fancy items are not required, the basics will do the job just fine.
You will need:
Empty Cardboard Boxes
Packing Tape & Painters Tape
Three Different Coloured Garbage Bags (recycling, donation, garbage)
3. Set A Realistic Time Frame
If you set out thinking you can roll up your sleeves and get all the downsizing done in a weekend, then you will be doomed to fail. Set a pace and do not overwork yourself. A few hours a day is enough for you to be mentally and emotionally productive. Overdoing it or trying to rush the process can result in both physical and emotional distress. It usually takes longer than you anticipate, so please allow yourself some extra time when you are outlining your schedule.
If you are moving or downsizing your current space, remember each room should have its own function, and furniture should be kept to a minimum. Tag all the items you truly love and have a use for with a piece of painters tape.
5. Artwork & Photographs
If you are downsizing to a different space, keep a floor plan on hand for wall sizes and window locations to know exactly what art/photographs will fit. Use the tagging method to mark the pieces you love, but only if they fit the space.
As you work through your home you will most likely find photos tucked in drawers and closets. Keep a large plastic waterproof tote with you as you work through your home and place them in as you go. Resist the temptation of looking through them, otherwise you will spend time going down memory lane and your momentum will be lost. The tote keeps the photographs condensed and safe. You can do your viewing and sorting after the downsizing is done.
6. Consignment & Donations
Choosing items for consignment can take up a lot of your time, distracting you from your downsizing process. Be realistic about the pieces that are worth consigning. Once you know what you are keeping, and your family and friends have taken what they would like, call your consignment shop or charity of choice. Take pictures of what you would like to send them. This step is important to do early in your downsizing process as it may take up to 3 weeks to have the items picked up. There is such an influx of “stuff” these days so consignment shops and charity centres are being selective in what they will take. All consignment and charity companies can arrange pick up but there will be a fee. If you are a crafter call the local churches to see if they are hosting a tag sale or craft sale.
7. Triple P
Pots, Pans and Plates…..the kitchen area is a tough area to downsize as you will be asking yourself the “what if I needed it” question over and over. You have to step back and remember you are decluttering or downsizing for a new and improved space. Keep the plates, glasses and mugs that you use daily to a minimum. In addition, keep only the pots, pans, serving platters, bowls and bakeware that you always gravitate too and feel free to let the rest go.
From the front hall to your bedroom closets, every inch of these spaces needs to be decluttered. Based on the time of year, keep only the outerwear for that season in the front hall closet and store away any seasonal items you are not using at the time. Although we must keep our Sunday best outfits, fancy gowns and suits, we only wear end up wearing 20% of all our clothing. So with that in mind, keep only what you love, what fits, and what makes you happy.
9. Permission to Let Go
When downsizing, try not to keep items just because it makes you feel guilty getting rid of them. They should be items that you love, are useful and make you happy. Usually it is the heirloom and sentimental items that are the most difficult to let go. You can certainly ask your children or extended family members if they would like them. If others can say no, then you can too. Give yourself permission to consign or donate and let someone else love it. Use today’s technology, take pictures of the items you once enjoyed and have them printed into a coffee table book.
10. Curb & Bin
We can try to donate or consign as much as possible, but everything cannot be kept out of our landfills. The curb at the end of your driveway is a great last pitch attempt to give away items for free. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There is a great service that we use and highly recommend...1-800-GOT JUNK. A team will come to your home with a bin and all you have to do is point to the item and and they will remove it from your home.