Downsizing your home is usually a weight off your shoulders, regardless what stage of life you are in. Hoarding too many things that you in reality don’t need, and likely will never use, can feel overwhelming. In this post we share some easy ways to downsize your house without all the stress.
Every year that goes by it seems that a lot of us gain more and more stuff, and the worst part is that a lot of it can be considered junk – or at least things we don’t need that are just cluttering our home. Some people have closets filled with things they don’t, and stuff stored away in the attic for when the day comes that we’ll use it. It’s common to buy a home when first starting a family, ensuring that you have the space and security you need. But as time goes by and the kids eventually move out, it’s common to start feeling that their original house is too big and filled with too much stuff to manage. I can personally relate, as my mom suffers from this. She has a very difficult time letting go of all of the clutter because there are some important keepsake items mixed in with all the junk. And she is a very emotional woman, that has a very hard time letting go of the home that she created our family in. This story is not uncommon. This article will provide you with some tips for downsizing and de-cluttering, making it easier to sell when you are ready, or just making you feel more at home in your house.
Rule 1 – The One Year Rule
A lot of people share this rule for clearing out closet space; Turn all the hangers backward, then when you wear something you can turn it forward again, and anything still backward a year later gets donated. The clothes you don’t wear, but that are crowing real estate in your closet. You probably have a couple of sentimental pieces, but keep these to a minimum. Only save the ones that are truly meaningful; a tee shirt from a trip you took shouldn’t qualify (in most cases). You can also use this rule on other parts of your house. Think kitchen items, arts and crafts things, your storage shed, old DVD’s, and so on. If you haven’t used it in the past year, chances are very low that you’ll use in the future.
Keep in mind many donations qualify as deductible on your taxes! So make sure you ask for and save receipts for everything you donate so you can save or even get a bigger tax refund in April!
Rule 2 – Repurpose And Give
Most people have a lot of stuff they are keeping for sentimental value. Of course you want to keep some of this stuff, but having too much can weigh you down. Most kids would love to have their old family Christmas ornaments. Old toys, clothes, and art can find new homes within your family, or even someone you don’t know that will add their families tradition to the item and reignite it’s special meaning. You will feel great knowing they are being used and loved, especially since they’re no longer cluttering your home.
Rule 3 – Look Through All The Boxes
Of course this one seems like a lot of work. But most of us find all kinds of things that have accumulated over years. Most likely, if you’re honest, you really only need to keep a couple of these things and you’ll feel a weight off your shoulders once you donate or throw away the rest.
Rule 4 – Assess Your Furniture
Is it just the two of you? Do you still need the full size sectional sofa? Does the large coffee table still put to good use? Think about your new clean space, and what kind of items will fit nicely. You can sell the entertainment center on craigslist, and hang the TV up on a wall instead, saving TONS of space and bringing new life into your living room. You can swap out for a smaller couch, dining table, etc. You can sell these items and use the cash toward new furniture.
Rule 5 – Digitize Where It Makes Sense
Let’s be honest, we all have a stack of papers…or 7! That we always intend to getting around to organizing. Make that time now and scan what you need, and toss or shred the rest. You can scan in old bills and receipts if needed, and log into your account to choose to receive paperless statements going forward. Then you for any accounts your forgot, each time a statement comes in the mail use that as a reminder to change that account to paperless statements.
Rule 6 – Weed Out The Duplicates
Do you still need 4 sets of wine glasses? Do you still use both of the two desks in the office or can you sell one? It’s all too common that we see people buy 2 of something but never use both at the same time.
Rule 7 – Organize
Before the your moving day approaches take the time to organize your things. Trust us, this date will sneak up on you! Group books, glassware, clothing, and other items. This will make packing and moving simple when the time comes. Label all boxes (use a piece of tape and write on it, or just write on the box with a sharpie) and only pack items together if they belong in the same area on the house or room.
Rule 8 – Hire A Pro
No, this is not a silly option. If you have as much trouble getting rid of clutter as my mom does, you should definitely hire a professional organizer. They can offer objective opinions if you are debating holding on to an unused item. Plus they are much more time effective and they’ll finish this task in about 10% of the time that it would take most of us, usually in a matter of hours! They will you get your things in order in a way that you actually know where everything is but it also looks very nice, and that will make moving a breeze. Here are a couple of options: Aloha Organizers, The Organizers Hawaii, and Zen Smith Organizer Maui – But please note we can’t comment on the quality of these companies, but they have great reviews!