Downsizing in the New Year

room with many things in cardboard boxes
  • 15 hours
  • Beginner

Downsizing can feel daunting, but when you need to clear out some things to start your new year on the upside, it's a project worth tackling. Start your new year (or the mid-year or end of the year for that matter) off right by dejunking, decluttering, and getting your house in order. Literally.

Downsize for a Move

If you're headed to greener (and smaller) pastures, you'll probably need to make a Goodwill trip or two in order to fit everything into the new space. Especially if you're transitioning from a house to an apartment or condo, you'll likely need to downsize.

Start by making a list of the necessities you have to have to live. Then make sure your new space can accommodate your current necessities. If you've got a king bed, but only room for a queen at the new pad, chances are you'll need to sell or donate your bed and purchase a new one. The same goes for any other large item — like a dresser, an armor, an entertainment center, or bookshelves — that won't work in your new space. If it's too big, it has to go.

If you're trying to keep expenses low with the move, you can always consider selling your old items on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, and shopping secondhand for their smaller replacements as well.

hands taping small box shut

After you've gone through and made sure the necessities will work in your smaller space, it's time to make decisions about the extras. Be real with yourself about the space you have available and make strategic choices about what you bring with you. If you're getting stuck, we suggest using the Konmari method to help you determine what will make you happiest in your new space.

Don't be afraid of making a massive donation pile. If you don't love it in your current home, chances are you won't love it in your new place. Look at this as a chance to start fresh and reinvigorate a new space. You have the chance to make your new home more personal, so ditch what doesn't work and get your DIY wheels spinning for new home decor.

Downsize for a BIG Move

a young couple moving a large box in a home space

You've seen it on Instagram and after this last year, you might be considering it yourself — people selling it all and hitting the road (or Hawaii). And whether you plan to move to the Big Island for a little while or convert an Air Stream into your new home, you'll need to downsize in a big way.

If your Kerouac adventure has an end date in mind, start by deciding what you want to pay to store. Maybe you plan to live in the airstream for a year or two and don't want to start completely over when all is said and done. Using a storage facility might be your best option. Store away big items that you won't need and anything valuable or sentimental you want to keep safe.

Use the opportunity to donate or sell anything that you don't want to store and can't take with you. Then, pack a bag with all of the basics — like clothes and a few sentimental items. Be really honest with yourself about what you'll need and use over the course of your adventure. And skip packing things like food and extra toothpaste, you can get that when you need it and you don't want to waste packing space.

Downsize for You

clothes in keep and donate piles

And for the rest of us whose houses could just use a deep clean, decluttering and downsizing is a lot simpler.

Tackle this project room by room. Donate or sell items that are no longer used, that you don't like, or that serve no purpose and take up space. If you've accrued trash and broken items over the years, you know where those need to go.

By attacking your downsizing room by room, your project becomes more managable. We like to start with the bedroom closet and then rotate between big areas and small areas to keep our sanity in check.

Like any downsizing project, you need to be honest with yourself when you're on the path to a more minimal lifestyle. Don't keep things that just take up space, clear your home out to make room for items you genuinely love.