For some people, downsizing means getting rid of what you don’t need so you can live more comfortably and peacefully with less. For others, it may mean selling your home and buying a smaller place. Downsizing is popular in retirement when kids are out of the house and you’re in a new phase in life, but individuals, couples and even families can benefit from downsizing, too. Whichever category you fall into, these tips will help you do it right to save money and your sanity.
#1 Look at Your Lifestyle
Your home and everything in it should reflect who you are and the way you want to live. When we start to feel like we have too much space or “stuff” is overwhelming our lives, it probably means our home environment isn’t really serving our needs. Do you have furniture pieces that are too big for your space, items that don’t serve a purpose, or just more space than you need? If so, downsizing your belongings could be a beneficial change.
#2 Be Choosy About What Goes into Your Home
Whether downsizing your current space or moving to a new home, the guiding principle behind what goes and what stays should be finding meaning or purpose for everything. When it comes to function, make your furniture do double duty. Multipurpose furniture and storage maximizes the usefulness of each object in your home and means you can get away with less stuff. Objects that don’t serve a function should be meaningful to you. Everything in your home is a part of your life, so approach downsizing by being choosy about what you let into it.
#3 How to Handle the Big Stuff
If you’re downsizing to a smaller home, you probably won’t be able to take everything with you (and that’s a good thing!). Money Crashers recommends starting with the big stuff, so if you have entire bedroom suites or too much living room furniture for your new space, get rid of what you won’t use. Do this before moving so you don’t pay to have these large items moved. You may also decide to trade out large furniture for smaller pieces that accomplish the same function but fit better in a smaller space.
#4 What to Hold onto and What to Let Go
When it comes to the smaller stuff, take your time deciding what to keep, because you don’t want to purge carelessly and end up getting rid of things you actually need. As important as it is to part with things that don’t serve a purpose, you also want to be smart about holding onto things that do, such as important documents, family heirlooms, and sentimental items. After identifying what you absolutely should keep, deciding what goes can be a little trickier. One reader at Apartment Therapy recommends going through the process by taking it a few things at a time, like choosing five books you want to keep and five to part with, then repeating the process.
#5 Everything Has a Place and Every Place Has a Purpose
Whether you’re trying to cut clutter to live more peacefully in your current space or you’re organizing a new, smaller home, approach cutting clutter and organizing by making sure every space in your home serves a useful purpose AND that every item has a place to “live.” This can be a daunting task, so take it room by room, and don’t try to tackle everything at once. Sometimes, cutting clutter means you need better organization, while other things can simply be eliminated without loss, like digitizing photos and paperwork.
Cutting clutter and downsizing is emotional, so don’t be hard on yourself if you have a difficult time parting with some things. The key is to keep the big picture in mind. Remember that when you’re done, you will have a more peaceful and functional space that truly adds value to your life.