Downsizing -- What you need to know!

Downsizing? Here’s What You Need to Know to Make It Work

by Patrick Young


Photo from Unsplash

If you feel like your life is burdened by an excess of “stuff,” or you’re in a place that’s too big and has an overabundance of living space, downsizing may be the step you need to consider. Getting rid of what we don't truly need can help free us physically and emotionally. Here’s what you need to know about beginning this process of letting go of the stuff in your life that you no longer need.

Make a Plan

It’s amazing how many people think downsizing simply means “throwing some stuff away,” so they start the process without any semblance of a plan. Don’t make this mistake. Sit down and write out a game plan.

In order to tackle your entire home, you must start and complete each job, section by section. Plan your attack. Start in an infrequently-used room, like a basement or guest room, and start paring down your possessions there. If you have a home office and tons of files, instead of keeping hard copies, scan them. When you’re done with an entire area -- meaning there is a place for every single item -- then you can move on to the next area.

HGTV reminds us that before beginning a downsizing plan, make sure that everyone in your family is on the same page. This can help you avoid conflicts and confrontations later on down the road.

Look for Double Duties and Duplicates

A true downsizer will be able to see the potential in their items to pull double duty, or items that can be repurposed into something useful in the house. They will be able to get rid of the items that wind up being redundant, or items that no longer serve a purpose. That old empty wine rack can be repurposed into a towel rack, for instance.

Think about what you need to store. Do you have an empty set of cabinets in your TV stand? Put your blankets there and get rid of the blanket chest. Do you have a toaster and a toaster oven? Those are duplicates, and one can go.

Most of these choices won’t be hard once you accept that you can’t keep everything you own.

Purging Closets Is the Biggest and Best Early Step

Closets are typically where we throw all our stuff that we technically don’t use, but can’t seem to throw away. All of this unnecessary stuff is taking up room where actual useful stuff could reside.

The more stuff you remove from your closets, the more storage space you have for stuff that’s cluttering up your rooms. You may not have to get rid of that one sentimental lamp your mom owned, but have no space for, if you can find it a home for it in a closet that has been purged of truly unnecessary junk.

Start with your clothing. It's common knowledge that most people simply own too many clothes. Donate a good portion of your improperly-sized and out-of-style clothing to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Wit and Delight has some handy tips for a successful closet purge.

Force Yourself Into a Smaller Living Space

If you literally don’t have space for all of your stuff, it’ll force you to make some decisions. Beyond that, moving to a smaller living space can be cathartic. You’ll also save money, time, and sweat on home upkeep.

Remember: just because you’re downsizing and moving to a smaller home, it doesn’t mean you should give up on extracting the most value from your current home. If you're selling your home as a way to downsize, be sure that your home is in the best shape possible to get the most out of your sale.

Downsizing isn’t giving up on your stuff. It’s not a sign that you can’t handle what you own. It’s a sign that you want to take better control of your own life by purging the items (and sometimes space) that you truly don’t need. Don’t be sad for what you are losing, consider it a step toward greater independence.

Planning to buy a smaller home in seacoast Maine or New Hampshire? Let 207 Prime Properties walk you through the process of buying or selling your home. Get in touch with us at (207) 646-2223!


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