Whether you’re moving to a smaller home or just want to get rid of clutter, downsizing can be an overwhelming task. Are emotions complicating the process as you sort through memories? Have those boxes of old bank statements been gathering dust for years? Here are some tips to make downsizing more manageable.
1. Pace Yourself
One way to make downsizing less stressful is to pace yourself and give yourself plenty of time. Start the process at least 3 months before you have to move. Set realistic goals for yourself so that you’re not tempted to overdo it in one week. For example, you can give away one item every day or sort through one category at a time, such as clothing or books.
2. Break It Into Small Tasks
Rather than trying to declutter your whole house, break the project into smaller tasks. Try focusing on one room at a time, or divide a room into smaller projects, such as sorting your DVDs or thinning out your clothes closet. If your task for the day is tackling the junk drawer, just focus on that one task. Don’t even think about the rest of the house or put pressure on yourself.
3. Set New Lifestyle Goals
Now is the time to think about your reasons for downsizing. Besides having lower mortgage and utility payments, what are your new lifestyle goals? Do you want to have more money to travel or take painting lessons? Do you want to spend more time with your grandchildren? Keeping these goals in mind will keep you motivated and help you decide what items will fit your lifestyle.
4. Sort Items Into Categories — No Exceptions!
Downsizing can involve some painful decisions about personal belongings. To keep your project on track, set some ground rules and don’t make any exceptions. A good method is to sort belongings into four categories:
- Donate or give away
- Throw away or recycle
It can be a temptation to put off decisions about some items, but remember that you only have four categories! If some items are family heirlooms, for example, perhaps you can put them in the ”give away” pile and offer it to a family member. You can even repurpose items in the “keep” category, such as turning a trunk into a table. Don’t add a “maybe” category or you’ll find yourself keeping much more than you intended.
5. Organize and Digitize Paperwork
Now is the time to scan and digitize those boxes of documents. Shred tax documents that are more than seven years old, as well as bank statements and other paperwork that you can access online. By the time you finish sorting and shredding, you will have a small amount of paperwork — such as a birth certificate — that can be easily stored.
6. Let a Professional Organizer Help
Downsizing can be an overwhelming project that can trigger a flood of emotions. Our professional organizers provide a neutral point of view to help you organize and declutter. For help with downsizing, book a free consultation with ClutterBGone today.