When considering a move into a smaller space, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the prospect of downsizing. But rather than dwelling on all the things you feel you’ll sacrifice, think of it as a wonderful opportunity to “right-size.”
Rightsizing is the process of adjusting the volume of your belongings to live only with items that have practical purpose and/or true meaning for your lifestyle now. In other words, it’s a way of living more efficiently, freeing up your time, space and energy for the people and activities you love most.
One step at a time
As with any move, it’s important to make a plan with a realistic timeline for making your right-sizing choices. Leave more time than you expect to need so you can take your time making important decisions about what to bring with you into your new home and what to set free.
You can work in one room or with one category at a time. Set aside only what you use regularly and truly enjoy, beginning with the easiest, least emotional items. For some that’s clothing. For others it’s books or kitchen items. Leave photos and memorabilia for last since it can be tough to part with them.
Less is more
Always keep in mind the dimensions of the rooms and storage spaces in your new house and limit yourself to keeping what will comfortably fit inside. Most people use just a fraction of the spaces and items in their homes. Think about what you use most frequently in your current home. Then consider how your life may be different in your new one.
If you’re moving into a pedestrian-friendly area or into a retirement community, you might find yourself cooking and entertaining less. So unless you are an avid cook or entertainer, you probably won’t need many dishes or cooking utensils. A few basics should do. The same thing is true for lawn care and gardening.
If you’re having trouble making a decision, ask yourself:
• How many do I have? How many do I really need?
• Why exactly am I attached to this item/reluctant to part with it?
• Could I get by without it? Is it replaceable if needed?
• When is the last time I used it?
• Is it in good condition?
• Would I buy it again now?
Dispose of unwanted items right away. You can schedule bulk pick-up for trash or hire a junk truck to haul it away. Rightsizing is a great opportunity for loved ones to enjoy their inheritance in your presence. Offer special items to friends and family members, but don’t force them on anyone and don’t be offended if they’re not wanted. Donating items to charities, schools, libraries and churches can be just as rewarding as giving them to people we know.
It’s increasingly difficult to salvage monetary value from antiques, especially furniture, china and silver. If you choose to host a yard sale or estate sale, list items online or consign them, be prepared to accept low prices. It might be worth saving your time and energy by choosing donation instead of sale.
Eye on the prize
Remember that rightsizing is a tough but worthwhile process. The pang of sadness you may feel when you let something go is momentary and will fade into memory when you start enjoying your carefree life in your new home.
Professional Organizing Coach Marin Rose of Libra Organizing is celebrating five years organizing people’s spaces and lives to help them become happier and more productive… and less stressed. Contact Marin to schedule a free organizing assessment in your home or office, or to hire her as a speaker. Visit libraorganizing.com.