How to Downsize Room-by-Room

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Many people embark on downsizing missions when they are moving into smaller homes. While moving does offer an opportunity to make lifestyle changes, it’s not the only time that you can scale back on your belongings. If you’ve lived in your home for a while or if your storage space is overflowing, it may be time to consider getting rid of some things.

In fact, minimalism has recently become a trend more people realize how freeing it can be to get rid of the things that are crowding their lives. Research has shown that too much stuff overcrowding an environment can create stress, which in turn has a negative impact on a person’s mental and physical health. According to experts, many people retain items because it is comfortable, but it can also be suffocating. Even just reducing your load a small amount can make a tremendous difference in your mood and productivity.

Of course, downsizing can be a daunting task, especially if you have a large, clutter-filled space. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you bravely take on this big project.

Have a Plan

First and foremost, always have a plan of attack before starting any big project. If it’s too overwhelming for you to create a plan by yourself, enlist the help of a friend or family member. Anyone who lives in the home should be a part of the planning process, as their items are likely contributing to any clutter in the home.

As you plan, you’ll want to decide where you are going to start. It’s unwise to choose the most cluttered room in your home, as it may be too much to tackle at the beginning of your project. Once you have decided on a room to begin with, schedule out the other rooms. Be sure to allow yourself ample time to complete each room before moving onto the next. To more effectively do so, make a general list of what you hope to accomplish in each room so that you have a guide as you get started.

If you’re moving, keep in mind the size of the space you are moving to as you go through the downsizing process.

Determine What You Need

Oftentimes we confuse needs, likes, and wants. The latter two, of course, are no

Oftentimes we confuse needs, likes, and wants. The latter two, of course, are not necessary for our survival; they are just nice to have. Take a walk through your house and note which items are absolutely essentially for your and your family’s survival.

Once you’ve made your list, scrutinize it for items you may be able to get rid of. Think about how long you have had an item, how often you have used it, and whether you will survive without it. Be honest with yourself here.

Once you have your list of items taken care of, you can start the downsizing process by choosing which items to sell, donate, or throw away. (Only throw items away if they are unsalvageable.)

Know Your Storage

Be sure to know all the storage capabilities of your property—whether that applies to your current or new home. Knowing how much space is available can help determine what amount of sentimental or hard-to-part-with items you can keep and how much downsizing is necessary.

When calculating storage space allowances, you should designate about 10 percent of the space to item storage. Be as objective as you can as you look at each item. Place items to be stored in well-labeled boxes so that they are easy to find if you need to retrieve them.

Don’t Forget Small Spaces

Everyone loves a junk drawer right? Wrong.

Although it may seem insignificant, these small drawer spaces add up. Part of your downsizing plan should be to look through any junk drawers in your kitchen or bathroom, paying attention to cupboards, closets, pantries, and any other “secret” storage spaces you might have.

Be sure to toss all broken or damaged items and give away things you have multiples of. Always remember to keep in mind what items you need in order to live and what items are merely collecting dust.

Take Breaks When Needed

It’s important not to let the downsizing project overwhelm you, which can be a major setback to your success. Take as many breaks as needed to keep moving toward the completion of the job. As often as you need to, remind yourself how wonderful it will be when you are all done and how good it will feel to complete the task.

Again, whether you are moving into a smaller home, or you are just looking to clean up and reduce clutter in your current home, keep your mission in the forefront of your mind as you work toward completing the downsizing project.