blog post on how to downsize and declutter

The Ultimate Guide to Downsize & Declutter Your Home

It’s easy to spend money on things: clothes, shoes, books, furniture, makeup, handbags, and other items you don’t really need. You may think it harmless to keep buying or hoarding stuff as they make you happy for the time being. The truth is: things you buy on an impulse will start to accumulate in your home. The next thing you know — your home is already full of clutter. While acquiring things can be fun, getting rid of them can be stressful for some. 

This is why we wrote this guide on how to downsize and declutter your home. 

When is it time to downsize and declutter

Your humble abode is supposed to be your refuge. A place where you can destress and unwind after a busy day at work. Yet you come home feeling anxious instead. You feel a need to keep cleaning or organizing your stuff. The unread books on the bookshelf keep piling up or you have tons of makeup you’re not even using. You can’t even find some of your favorite things and you have too much furniture or electronic appliances. When you are constantly stressed out at home then it’s time to downsize and declutter. And there is no better time than NOW. 

A Guide to Downsizing and Decluttering

A bigger home doesn’t always mean a better home. When you have a larger space, that means more room for other things. You spend more — electronics, furniture, appliances and other home decor/accessories. With a smaller home, there is no need to buy a lot of stuff. 

By downsizing, you get to also save money on rent or mortgage, energy or gas, and home maintenance costs. You reduce the time you spend on chores and therefore more time for leisure activities. 

Although downsizing a home has a lot of benefits, it can be a little costly and time-consuming. You’ll need time to find a smaller home and have to deal with other fees or legal costs. A smaller home isn’t also always cheap especially when situated in a strategic location. And of course, you’ll need to take a lot of time getting rid of your possessions. 

This is where Decluttering comes in. The key to effectively downsize your home is by decluttering. You need to remove the clutter — the items you do not need. 

How to Downsize Your Home

Step 1

Take Marie Kondo’s advice  before decluttering your downsized home. Commit yourself to Decluttering first. You are likely to become successful when you are willing to go the extra mile. 

Downsizing will take more than just a mindset; you will need more time to think about things you really need and then the courage to let go of things you only want. If this sounds like something you can do, proceed to the next step. 

Step 2 

Make a list of furniture and appliances that you need for your downsized home. If you live alone, there is no need to keep a king-sized bed as that will only take up a lot of space. Your option is to sell that and get a new one. 

The key here is to only keep essential furniture and appliances. If you have a blender or a coffee maker that you have not been using, consider selling them instead. 

Go through the list again to make sure you have everything you need for your smaller home. 

Step 3

Downsize and declutter one room at a time so you don’t overwhelm yourself. And take it one day at a time. Set aside a couple of hours each day or every other day solely for decluttering. Try not to get distracted so you can fully focus. 

Consider decluttering the room you dread the most so you can get this off your plate. To make this less stressful, focus on one category at a time. You may start with your clothes. Before deciding to keep or discard an item, ask yourself these questions:

  • When was the last time I wore this?
  • Do I really like this? 
  • Can I live without this?

You can also take another one of Marie Kondo’s approaches to decide whether you should keep an item. Keep it if it sparks joy. Otherwise, discard it. 

Step 4

For things that were given to you or have sentimental value – try not to rush. Give it much thought. You do not need to discard all of them especially when they will not be taking up much space. Consider having a box just for items that have value to you. For larger items, why not give them away to your closest friends or family members? They will surely appreciate the gesture. 

Step 5

Are you the type who keeps receipts, bank checks, paper bills, documents, pictures and other paperwork? Unless there is a need to keep the original documents, scan them all and save them on the cloud. You can make a backup if you want, so you can still access them in case they get lost.

Step 6

For the decluttered items — you can sell them, throw them away, give them away to friends or family, or recycle. 

You can put up a garage sale for those things you plan to sell. Items for recycling may be sent to organizations like Parley who accept plastic materials for recycling. 

Step 7

Congratulate yourself for a job well done. The next step would be to learn how to overcome impulse buying. Before purchasing an item, ask yourself whether it’s something you really need or want. Learn to say No. 

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On Buying Multipurpose Furniture

One of the most effective ways to reduce clutter is by acquiring a piece of furniture that serves more than one function. For example, a bed that has a storage compartment underneath or a couch that will also serve as a sofa bed. 

It won’t only save you space but it also saves you money. You spend only on one item instead of buying two. 

When downsizing, having multipurpose furniture can help you reduce clutter and can streamline the look of the entire space. 

What Not to Do When Decluttering

When it comes to decluttering, there is no “right way” to get rid of your stuff. Some tips may work for you while others will not. However, there are things that you shouldn’t do to make decluttering a little easier and less stressful. 

Don’t Convince Yourself to Keep Some Items

Decluttering takes a lot of time and effort. Sometimes, you may even make the wrong decision of keeping things you do not really want. This can be tempting — but try not to talk yourself into it. Otherwise, you will only end up with more clutter. 

Don’t Do Everything at Once

When excited, you may want to do everything in one day. Avoid doing this or you’ll end up frustrated. Give yourself time to think about things you want to keep and discard. Do it one task at a time. You can give yourself some little rewards after a decluttering session to keep yourself more motivated. 

Another thing you should never do is declutter when feeling emotional. You will only end up with more clutter as it will be difficult to let go of things.

BONUS SECTION: Decluttering and Downsizing Before a Move

Moving to a new home can be pretty stressful especially when you have tons of stuff with you including furniture and appliances. Thankfully, there are effective ways to deal with this. 

The key to making Moving painless and stress-free is by decluttering and downsizing. Follow these steps:

Step 1:

Start decluttering and downsizing at least 3 months in advance. That should give you enough time to think about what you need to keep and let go. 

Step 2:

Start with your furniture and appliances. Ask which ones you really need — and by this, we mean an appliance or furniture that you at least use every day or on most days. As much as possible, do not rent a storage unit for your other stuff. Consider putting them up for sale or giving them away to family members. 

Step 3:

Get rid of large furniture that takes up a lot of space. 3 months is enough to let you sell stuff — use the money to buy something multipurpose to save space for your new home. 

Step 4:

You can make an inventory of the other things you own and then put them in different categories: Keep, Donate, Trash and Sell. Do not fall into the trap of keeping something just because you want to keep it. Remember to keep only the things you need and things that make you happy. Otherwise, discard it. 

If you need help downsizing and decluttering your home, access our complete Home Management System Trello Board by signing up in the box above ☝️. The board also has a comprehensive list dedicated to decluttering sorted by different areas of your house.  

I hope that this post has proved useful to you. If you want to save this so that you can come back and read again later, use the image below to pin to your Pinterest board.

blog post on how to downsize and declutter

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