Homeowners who own large homes with expansive floor plans oftentimes find that they don’t need all of the space that they have. When excess space is left unused, you may find yourself purchasing extra items and pieces of furniture solely to improve the appearance of your rooms and the home in general. If you’re not using one or more rooms in your home, you might not want to continue paying for these rooms with your monthly mortgage payment.
To better understand why you might want to downsize your home, it’s important to look at the concepts of minimalism and maximalism. When you push yourself to live a minimalist lifestyle, this means that you’ll be getting rid of everything you don’t require to live. Instead of focusing on the possessions you own, you’ll be focusing on experiences, people, and the activities you do.
Maximalism is essentially the opposite of minimalism. If you lead a maximalist lifestyle, you may find yourself buying items and accessories for your home that you’ll likely never use. While it can feel great to create a uniform interior design throughout your home, you shouldn’t spend more money than you have just to make sure that all of the space in your home is filled.
These days, downsizing is considered to be a difficult and time-consuming task by most homeowners. If you’ve been living in a larger home for many years, there’s a good chance that you’ve accumulated a substantial number of possessions that you may no longer use but could be difficult to get rid of. The key to properly downsizing is to get rid of the possessions that you don’t need anymore. Whether you want to downsize your current home or move to a smaller home altogether, there are numerous steps you can take to reach your goal. This guide takes you through six of the more simplistic ways to downsize your home.
1. Organize Your Current Spaces
You should begin the downsizing process immediately by organizing your current spaces, which will allow you to sort through your home without becoming overwhelmed by all of the things that need to be done. If you’re planning on moving to a new home, begin the downsizing process at least 3-4 months before the move date. If you have a larger home that you’ve lived in for years, you’ll likely be surprised at all of the extra possessions you have that need to be thrown away or packed away for the move. There are four methods you can use to start organizing your current spaces, which include the:
- One-a-day method
- KonMari method
- Four-box method
- Closet-hanger method
Get rid of at least one item every day. You could also correlate the items you get rid of based on the day of the month. For instance, you could dispose of 10 items on the 10th day of the month. This method has proven to be popular because it’s a structured way to dispose of unwanted items and to keep yourself accountable.
This method involves getting rid of clutter based on the category the clutter is in. For instance, you could spend one day disposing of all of your unwanted clothing items. The next day could be spent getting rid of books that you no longer read. If you no longer have interest in an item that you own, you should consider getting rid of it.
This is a highly popular method that involves using four options for every item you own. These options include donate, keep, sell, trash/recycle. You should place one of these labels on every item in your home, which is a great way to stay organized.
This method is ideal for your clothes if you’re starting the downsizing process around 4-8 months before your move. Face the hooks of your closet hangers away from the door. Only turn the hook towards you once you wear the piece of clothing. After a period of 4-6 months, donate the clothing items that are hanging on hooks that have yet to be turned around.
2. Complete One Room at a Time
If you start to think about what it takes to declutter your entire home, you may quickly find yourself becoming overwhelmed at the idea of all of the work that needs to be done. You can mitigate this issue by focusing on just one room at a time, which makes it more likely that you will complete the entire process.
Once you start to declutter a single room, place your focus on one area of the room. For instance, you could start with the closets in your bedroom, after which you can move to the other areas in your bedroom. Some tips for decluttering each room in an organized manner include:
- Dispose of most items in your “junk drawers”
- Go through your video games and DVD/Blu-ray collection
- Reduce the amount of clothing in your closet
- Throw away shoes that you no longer use
- Organize smaller items in your kitchen
- Focus on your dresser drawers
- Match your pans, containers, and pots with all of their lids
3. Think About Your New Lifestyle
Before you finalize the process of changing to a new lifestyle, you should think about why you’re downsizing and what you’ll get from this process. Knowing what you hope to gain from downsizing is key towards completing this process in a structured manner. If you want to move to a smaller home that will allow you to start saving more money for retirement or future travel opportunities, knowing what it takes to achieve this goal could make you more motivated. Once your goals have been identified, list them out so that they can be referenced at any point in the future.
Questions to Ask Yourself During this Process
- Are there any new activities or hobbies you want to take part in?
- What are you wary about when it comes to the downsizing process?
- What are you excited about when it comes to the downsizing process?
- What aspects of your old home will you miss the most?
- What kinds of opportunities will present themselves after you downsize?
- What are your main reasons for downsizing?
4. Create Rules to Declutter
You should set some basic decluttering rules if you want to complete the process in an efficient manner. First of all, it’s important to understand that decluttering is different than organizing. When you organize a room, you’re essentially moving items from one spot to another. The purpose of decluttering a room is to actively get rid of items that are causing clutter.
Sort your items into four categories of keep, donate/sell, trash/recycle, or pass it down. This is one set of rules that you can use when decluttering your home. However, it isn’t the only one.
Questions to Ask Yourself During this Process
- Have you used the item in the past six months?
- Will you use the item often?
- Does the item make you happy?
- Is the item sentimental?
- Does the item fit into your new home?
- Would a loved one want an unused item?
- Does the item still work?
5. Get Rid of Sentimental Items
While downsizing your home, you’ll likely find that there are numerous sentimental items in your possession that won’t exactly fit into your new home. If you have sentimental decor or furniture items, consider asking some friends and family members if they would like the items before you throw them away. You could also attempt to sell these possessions, which would give you money that you could place into savings.
If you have sentimental items that are made from paper, consider digitizing them, after which you could store the items on your computer or cloud storage. Technology is very helpful when getting rid of sentimental items because it provides you with the ability to memorialize items that you may no longer be able to keep.
6. Sell or Donate
Once you’ve gotten rid of any sentimental items that won’t fit into your new home, you should look into selling or donating non-sentimental items that you won’t be using. The money you make from selling these items could go towards your moving costs or closing costs. If you would like to sell your items on an online marketplace, some of the best options available to you include Craigslist, LetGo, eBay, and OfferUp. Make sure that you practice anti-fraud precautions when selling any of your items online. Each website has its own set of safety guidelines.
You could also consider donating certain items to nonprofits or charities, the primary of which include:
- The Arc
- Salvation Army
- Furniture Bank
- Habitat for Humanity
Any high-value items in your possession should be appraised if you don’t have space for them. These items could then be sold at an auction or donated.
Along with the aforementioned methods of downsizing your home, there are a couple more tips and guidelines that you should keep in mind. For one, it’s highly recommended that you avoid renting a storage unit. If you rent a storage unit, you could make the mistake of placing your unused items in the unit instead of getting rid of them, which only serves to waste money. You should also be discerning about any new purchases you make to avoid adding even more clutter to your new home.
Minimalism is a relatively modern technique for home organizing. In the past, unused items were simply stored away in a basement or the corner of a closet. However, more and more people are starting to lead minimalist lifestyles that aren’t constantly focused on consumerism. Once you’ve minimized your space and have removed all of the unnecessary clutter, your main goal should be to make sure that new clutter doesn’t get added to your home. You should also take the time to clean your home once it’s free from clutter, which will help you appreciate all the work that you’ve done.