Having an organized, sorted and manageable house is something many people strive for, but not all of us achieve. Do you look longingly at those wonderfully designed, organized homes where the golden rule is, ‘a place for everything and everything in it’s place.’
When thinking of the reality of downsizing, the entire task can be a bit scary. Taking what you own from the level it’s at today to a much smaller amount can scary and overwhelming for most people.
Short of doing the work for you, we have some tips that can help you tackle downsizing with a clever plan so you too can enjoy living in well-designed home.
Tip One: Have a Strategy
Write down your overall goal. What is it you want to accomplish. Do you want to get rid of everything in your garage and that spare bedroom? Are you tackling every room in the house?
Whatever it is, once you’ve written it, you can then focus on the details. Start by breaking down the work into manageable pieces. Assign a timeframe to each portion of the task. Go through the house one room at a time, or even one drawer at a time, deciding what stays and what goes.
Make it manageable and break the sorting process down into smaller pieces. Go through the house one room at a time, or even one drawer at a time, deciding what stays and what goes.
Finish each project before tackling anything new.
Once you have your overall goal, your plan, and your lists, you can take action. Remember as you go along to finish each project before tackling anything new.
Tip Two: Avoid Burnout by Tackling Small Tasks
Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by trying to focus on your entire home and property all at once. Developing a strategy that works for you and sticking with it will help make downsizing a more manageable process.
Go room by room, create an inventory list and move on. This is not the time to sit and stare lovingly at that wood carving you picked up at a yard sale in 1983. Write it down and get on to the next item.
Squirrel! Don’t let yourself be the dog easily distracted by the backyard rodent. If you start in one bedroom, finish it before you move on to another. Bouncing around will not only slow you down, but it can also lead to organizational mishaps down the road.
Tip Three: Do Not Downsize In One Day
You’ve spread out the tasks, remember to spread out the time.
It is going to be emotionally and physically demanding enough without trying to rush the process. It is best to schedule times to downsize (depending on your physical capabitilites) that are no more than six hours at a time because any more than this and the whole process can become overwhelming or too stressful.
Maybe your health (and back) and stamina level allows you to handle more, by all means, do what you can.
Make sure you have the following things handy as you start the downsizing process:
- An area to separate keep items, discards, give-aways, and things to donate
- Helpers for lifting/carrying/sorting
- Boxes, labels/permanent markers, scissors, and packing tape
- Easy access to important/valuable items
- Snacks and water (don’t forget to stop for meals and a long rest at least twice a day)
Tip Four: It’s Ok to Ask for help.
Know what your capabilities are physically and financially and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family, friends and close neighbors are a great place to start. Other resources in your area can be your doctor’s office or even the good folks at your local library.
When you ask, communicate clearly the best ways for them to help. Do you need help moving things into the area you’ve delegated as the separation area? Maybe you need assistance in getting items to local charities for donating.
Tip Five: Get creative about letting go of things you won’t need.
Once you decide what to keep, it’s time to decide how to get rid of what goes. It can be expensive to have things hauled away, she says, so explore other ideas. For example, consider having an open house where friends and family come and take things that are still useful but that you may not need anymore.
Know that emotions are OK. Moving can be a particularly hard time emotionally for anyone, and it’s important to know that it’s normal to feel this, says Robbins. “It’s OK to grieve, it’s OK to be sad and afraid.” Acknowledging the emotional component gives closure to the memories of the house you’re leaving behind and lets you feel more settled in your new home, she says.
Get Help and Guidance
Because so many items have an emotional tie, it’s been very helpful to have objective view points from others.
Final Take -Away
You’re only a well-laid plan and some action steps away from living a less-cluttered, well-organized life. When the dust settles, we promise you really won’t miss what you gave away but you’ll feel more at peace.
Afterall, isn’t that whole reason for downsizing, to make us feel better about the space we live in.