Downsizing Prep: Helpful Tips to Think About Before Making Your Move
There are countless reasons to downsize your home. Whether you are a senior or empty-nester looking to declutter your space and move into a smaller home with a simpler life, or a millennial, more interested in experience and retirement savings than the accumulation of material belongings, the actual process of downsizing can be overwhelming. For this reason, and to spare yourself the more difficult aspects of moving, getting organized as you are approaching this life-changing event will ease your burden along the way.
Start Sooner Rather than Later
It is recommended to start organizing your belongings approximately three months before the move, but it might be beneficial to begin even earlier. After all, you have presumably spent a lot of time with all of these possessions, and the decision of whether to let go or to hold on may be more arduous than you think.
Try to begin by decluttering your space one day and one item at a time. You might find luck with the KonMari Method™ of inspecting each item for the amount of joy it “sparks” in you, getting rid of the items that fall flat. Another strategy is the Closet-Hanger Method, in which you face all of your close hangers hooks away from you and turn them around only after you have worn the garment hanging on it once. If the hook is still facing away from you after a six-month window, it’s a goner. The Four-Box Method is good for allowing yourself only four options: donate, keep or memorialize (through photo), recycle/trash, or sell. Try to resist storing anything, as you will just have to deal with it later.
Do It One Room at a Time
Looking at an entire house or apartment at one time is certain to be overwhelming. For this reason, take it easy on yourself and choose the more manageable path of doing it piecemeal. It is recommended to take it one step and one room at a time. You can even divide up the rooms in terms of perceived difficulty, starting with the more impersonal kitchen and moving to the bedroom, with its drawers of clothing and shelves of keepsakes.
Make sure you take breaks, as inspecting even a kettle that Aunt Mabel passed down to you might be more draining than you would have anticipated. Taking a walk in fresh air and taking some deep, cleansing breaths is always a good way to get re-centered so that you can resume with renewed energy. Creating a schedule can be a helpful tool, so that you have an order of rooms to follow. This too will reduce overwhelm and help to keep you on track.
Consider the Size of Your New Space
It will be immeasurably helpful to know the measurements of your new space. With those in hand, you can take a more even look at what will actually fit into your new life. It may help to let go of the bigger items, such as credenzas and bookshelves that simply will not make it through the front door of your new home, or perhaps a desk that might double up with yet another which is more functional and better served for your new space and future needs.
Even if you don’t yet have the exact measurements of your new dwelling, you can still do a radical declutter of your current home, making it simpler for you when those dimensions are acquired. You can also turn this into an exciting moment by taking this opportunity to redesign and simplify your new space.
Make a Plan for Sentimental Items
It is good to have a plan in place for sentimental items, as they can be particularly hard to contend with. You might want to invite close friends and family over and divvy up the things that simply won’t fit in your new home. Alternatively, you could sell these items and put the cash amount into savings for your younger relatives.
When it comes to non-sentimental items, consider donating them to a good cause. After all, they might be of use to someone else. Some non-profit or charitable organizations will even pick them up from your home.
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