5 Tips for Downsizing Your Home without Getting Overwhelmed

After accumulating stuff for years, downsizing to a smaller home may be an overwhelming and freeing experience. People often ask, "Where should I even start? I use everything I have... Or plan to, at least." This is particularly common among those who need to move and go through a checklist for selling a house by owner and don’t have a real estate agent to ask for guidance. 

5 Tips for Downsizing Your Home without Getting Overwhelmed

Here are some things to remember when trying to cut down on clutter and downsize.

Be Positive!

When downsizing, the mindset you adopt is critical. When you get rid of old, unused objects around the house, you may notice an improvement in your mood. First, you should consider why you wish to downsize your home. Will keeping things organized help you relax more? Are you thinking about selling your house and moving into a smaller place? 

Regardless of the "why," the key to completing this project is a positive outlook. You've got a lot of work ahead of you, so hating it from the start isn't helpful.

Begin Now, But Slowly

Prepare for the move by listing everything that needs to be done. You could devote a day or two to going through each room. It's an excellent opportunity to clean up as you go, organize your stuff, and make any repairs or upgrades that may enhance the value of your property when you're ready to sell.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Remembering the benefits you'll reap from your efforts might make the task seem more rewarding and less like a chore. If you're having trouble staying motivated, just think about how much more time you'll have for the things and people that matter most to you once you've finished downsizing and decluttering.

It’s Okay to Keep Some Things

As you go through your home and decide what to get rid of, set aside anything that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling; these are the things you should hold on to the most. Understandably, letting go of things with sentimental value can be difficult. However, there are ways you can keep the things you love while downsizing!

You could repurpose the items into something that you'll use more often. For example, instead of keeping a collection of records you don't use in a box, choose your favorite records and turn them into wall art. If you have old jewelry you can't part with, consider taking it to a jeweler and asking if they can turn the pieces into something new and truly unique.

Beyond this, if you have bigger sentimental items, perhaps an old table that is in excellent condition but you are not ready to throw away or know that one of your children, once they have a big enough space of their own, is willing to take off of your hands, it may be worth putting these items into storage. Though it might take some research to find the perfect storage solution for you, this can be a valuable exercise in that it will remove oversized, infrequently used items from your home with the security of knowing that they are still your belongings. Just make sure you don't end up using the storage space as a dumping ground, or that defeats the object completely!

Unfortunately, not all old and sentimental things can (or should) be salvaged. For example, you're holding onto a chair in your grandfather's house for sentimental reasons, but it doesn't look good, and it's just another thing to collect unfolded laundry. It's okay to let some things go.

Don’t Second Guess Yourself

However, while going through the different rooms, avoid touching anything more than once before moving forward. If you pick something up and decide what to do with it, don't second guess yourself. It's best to start packing and organizing your belongings as soon as possible so you won’t feel rushed and possibly second-guess yourself. 

You can make things easier by putting them into different groups:

  • Keep: Things that are dear to you
  • Sell: Things in good condition that you don't need or use
  • Donate: Things you don't think you can sell but can still be used
  • Toss: Things that are broken and/or no one wants

Downsizing doesn't mean selling everything and living a minimalist lifestyle in a tiny home. It's a good idea to eliminate any unused stuff lying about your house, whether you plan to move or not. And remember, it's okay to keep the things that make you happy or hold sentimental value!