Design/Build

Top 10 Things to Do to Clear Clutter When Downsizing

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1) Know your available storage space

When downsizing, it may be tempting to make it a goal to throw out as much as possible. Many people find that when they do this, they end up throwing away many things they would’ve preferred to keep. Start your downsizing journey by getting a sense of just how much you’ll need to get rid of, and use that to create reasonable goals.

2) Maximize available storage

Often, it just takes a little bit of creativity to find ways to expand your storage space. Over-the-door shoe racks, wall-hooks in the kitchen, and the space under the bed are all wonderful tools for making the most of the space you have. On their blog, Money Crashers share some excellent tips on how to organize small spaces.

3) Before you begin, set guidelines for tough choices

If you haven’t used an item in the last year, chances are you won’t need it for the next year. You can also follow Marie Kondo’s example by asking yourself “Does this item bring me joy?” when deciding whether to keep something.

4) Recognize that sentimentality is not a bad thing

Sometimes it can be easy to go into a decluttering frenzy and throw out all the little things that remind you of noteworthy events. Sentimental items can’t be replaced like other items, so be careful when throwing them out.

5) Avoid duplicates

This goes for sentimental items too. While it’s important to hold on to some memorable items, you probably don’t need all of them. Keep what best reflects the memories you want to hold on to, and then you can feel better about throwing out the rest.

6) Take your time

If you rush things, you’re more likely to make rash choices. Give yourself the time you need to reflect on what you should keep.

7) Keep multiple piles

As you go through your things, make sure you keep them in separate piles: throw-aways, must-keeps, maybe-keeps, and replaceables. Replaceables are things like couches and TVs that you don’t want to be without, but you could replace them with a smaller version.

8) Do things in manageable stages

This is to help keep you from being overwhelmed, but it also helps keep you from throwing away things unnecessarily. Once you’ve gotten rid of all your throw-aways and have organized your must-keeps, you’ll have a better idea of how many of the maybe-keeps you have space for.

9) Go through absolutely everything

Make sure to check the attic, under the bed, deep and the closet, and anywhere else that might have hidden boxes of forgotten items that could use some downsizing. The more you go through the more you’ll be able to get rid of.

10) Keep important items with friends and family

Some things are too special to give away to just anyone, but they still might take up unnecessary space. As you’re going through these items, consider who might get better use out of it than you. An old doll you played with as a child, for example, could be passed on to a niece or nephew.

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