Most people will only downsize if they have to, usually when they move. Many people find this an overwhelming time in their lives. This is not something they do every year (as I did for 10 years). They are giving up the familiar for the unknown and that can be scary.
However, if you break it down into steps and use a process around it, at least the downsizing and moving becomes manageable. It’s still scary and overwhelming and unfamiliar, but it is doable.
Start clearing items as soon as you make the decision to move. If you put it off, it becomes a bigger problem. It’s taking that first step that is the hardest.
First step is to start with one closet. Take everything out of the closet and put it on the floor. I find taking all of the items out of the closet and putting it onto the floor helps you see things more clearly. The sudden realization that you have 3 Christmas tree stands is always an eye opener. Likely you have 3 because you couldn’t find the first one, or even the second. It then becomes easier to start making tough decisions. I like starting in a closet because it’s a smaller space and a good way to develop the mental skills required to make sorting decisions.
Have some heavy duty trash bags and/or boxes for sorting. Sort through the items and put into piles – Keep, Garbage and Not Sure. Get rid of the obvious garbage – the item is broken, badly stained or doesn’t work. This is trash and you can’t give it away – to anybody. Next take out the items you really want to keep; they are useful and you use them all the time. You may not use the iron and ironing board all the time, but you still need them. Put those aside in the Keep pile. If they are seasonal, like decorations, put them all together in a separate pile for sorting later. If they are sentimental, baby clothes or kids toys or family items, put those into a separate pile for sorting later. This should leave you with an pile of Not Sure. Go through your Not Sure pile, one by one. Can this item be given away to a friend or charity? If you want to keep it – Why? Tough question to ask on why to keep something you don’t use; might use in the future is not an answer. It’s a now or never question, not a maybe. If you think it’s worth money and you can sell it, put it into a new pile called Sell.
Once you’ve gone through your Not Sure pile, go back to your Seasonal Pile and your Keepsake Pile. Do the same thing here. Can you pare down, do you really need 10 strings of Christmas lights? If your new home is smaller does 5 strings of Christmas lights now make more sense? Can the children’s toys go to a new family down the street, or to a local charity that supports children? In today’s economic landscape, over 30% of the people using the Greater Vancouver foodbank are children: giving them a well loved toy beats having the toy sit in a closet.
If you have a pile of items set aside to Sell there are a number of options: online tools like Craigslist or LetGo, garage sale or online auction. There are techniques around these options as well.
Go through your home, closet by closet, room by room. Break it into smaller pieces and do something every day. Moving day will come much more quickly than you will ever be ready for.
Downsizing is a process: reduce, reuse, recycle. It sounds easy, but it can be mentally, emotionally and physically challenging and draining.
The bonus at the end, and yes there is a bonus: A feeling of lightness, opening up to the universe, and not having to cart all of this ‘stuff’ from place to place. This new feeling is both surprising and rewarding. The process to get to the other end can seem overwhelming, but it’s worth it.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-375-4646. It is doable and it can be done!