What Should I Get Rid of When Downsizing?

Downsizing is about getting rid of the things you don’t need without losing sight of which possessions bring you joy. It’s a good solution for people moving from a larger home to a smaller one or for those moving cross-country. Actually, downsizing is a good thing for just about everyone to do at least once or twice in their lives.

You probably don’t need all the things you have. You probably don’t even use most of the stuff you own. How do you decide what to keep when you downsize? How do you decide what to get rid of? These questions may seem hard to answer, but we can help. Follow each of these steps to make the best downsizing decisions based on your specific needs:

Go through everything one room at a time. 

If you start trying to downsize your whole home at once, you’ll get overwhelmed. Instead, try starting by digging through one room at a time. Don’t move on until you’ve gone through every cabinet, shelf, and closet in that room.

As you work your way through this room, carefully consider each possession you find. Ask yourself each of the questions below about each individual item. Be honest with your answers. When you’re done cleaning, organizing, and downsizing one room, consider taking a break. Then, when you’re ready, move to the next room.

Ask yourself important questions about each thing. 

Ultimately, how you’ll determine which possessions you can dispose of will depend on your unique needs. Regardless of those needs, however, there are a few questions you should ask about each item you consider. These questions will help you decide what to do with your stuff:

Does this thing make me happy? 

Sometimes we keep things even if they aren’t “useful” simply because they bring us joy. That’s okay! You don’t need to get rid of every single thing that isn’t useful in your home. Instead, when you’re downsizing, be honest with yourself about how your things make you feel. 

If whatever you’re considering brings you joy, keep it! If it doesn’t, let it go. A painting you love is obviously something you should keep! A painting you never think about or even particularly like is something you can get rid of.

When was the last time I used it? 

Sometimes we hold on to things because we’re convinced we might need them someday. More often than not, however, “someday” never comes. Meanwhile, all those “someday” items become the clutter that slowly renders your home messy and disorganized. 

Ask yourself when was the last time you used something. If it’s been longer than a month, seriously consider getting rid of it. Try not to convince yourself you really are going to start using that exercise bike or smoothie maker. If you haven’t used it by now, then you’re in the clear to get rid of it.

Why am I keeping it? 

If you’re having trouble getting rid of things, try asking yourself why. Facing the facts of why we hold onto things we don’t need can help us learn to let go. 

If you’re holding onto a shirt you never wear because you father gave it to you, ask yourself why. If it’s for any reason other than explicit use or joy, let it go. Your dad won’t mind.

Consider the space you’ll have in your new home.

Make sure you actually have room for everything you want to bring with you. Try to think of where you’ll end up keeping everything specifically. If you can’t think of a place where you’ll keep something, consider getting rid of it. Why waste energy moving things that you won’t be able to use? 

Measure your sofa, bed, and other especially tall or wide things. Use software to plug in room and furniture measurements to create a basic layout. This will help you plan for your smaller space without relying on guesswork.

Sell or get rid of the things you’ve decided not to keep.

When you’re done figuring what you’re keeping, you’ll have to figure out what to do with everything you’re not keeping. Have a plan for getting rid of all the stuff you want to get rid of, or you’ll just end up hanging onto it longer.

You could take everything to your nearest thrift store or resell it another way. If you have the time and patience, you could throw a garage sale. Otherwise, try online markets like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to re-home your possessions.

Once you’ve assessed, evaluated, organized, and downsized your possessions, you’ll feel a lot more prepared to move. If you need any more help when it comes to the transition, give Wheaton a call. We’ve been helping families move from one place to another successfully for decades now. We can help you, too!

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