Downsizing your home, after all of the kids have left, is a daunting task! You’ve had years of collecting, storing, and decorating that now you’re left with a lot of…stuff. Much of this stuff is no longer necessary or needed but it can still be hard to declutter and get rid of. There are so many memories and nostalgia connected with these items that it can seem almost like throwing part of your life away if you don’t hold onto them.
You Must Declutter And Organize!
The problem is that with moving into a smaller space, you absolutely cannot take everything with you. We went from an almost 5000 square foot home to a mere 850 square feet in our condo. I had to declutter big time!
Although it was a tough process to go through, the result of simplifying is so calming and freeing. For instance, with just keeping the extra special decor items, I appreciate the focus on those items even more. They’re not surrounded by a lot of extra stuff just to fill the space.
One area that was somewhat easy to declutter was my kitchen. Since I had a large kitchen, I had plenty of space to store every known kitchen gadget to man. The problem was that I only used a few of these regularly. I set aside the important items and sold the fluff.
How To Declutter Your Home
If you follow a very diligent process, it’s really not too difficult to sort your stuff and get it down to a reasonable amount. Start with a small area and then work your way throughout the entire house.
Step One: Sort Your Stuff
Take everything from one room and get it out of it’s current storage location. You will now have one big pile. Depending on the room, it may be easier to do this in even smaller steps. For a bedroom, you may want to start with just the closet or in a kitchen do one cupboard at a time.
Once you have your pile, begin sorting everything into three smaller piles. One pile will be things you definitely want to keep. The second pile will be things you can donate or sell. And the third will be things you want to store.
***Be very careful with this third pile. Why do you want to store it? Will it serve a purpose later? Is it only nostalgic? This was a particularly hard pile to deal with for my husband, who is much more of a saver than I am. I had to tell him that if the items were not going to be displayed, used or serve a purpose later, we had to get rid of them. There is no sense in keeping a box of things that will only collect dust.
Step Two: Deal With The Piles
To Keep Pile
If you are not moving right away, put these items back into their storage or decorative location. Or, if you are doing this process at the time of move, place these items in a moving box with a descriptive label for where it will go in your new place.
Donate Or Sell Pile
The items that I had left, I began to price for a garage sale. This may or may not be worth your time. Since I had so much, it seemed like a great way to whittle down my donate pile. Plus, it was nice to make a little extra money for things we may need for condo living.
After the garage sale, load up the things that didn’t sell and donate them to places like Salvation Army or Goodwill.
Try to keep this pile as small as possible. For awhile, I had been saving some of our kids toys for our future grandchildren. I ended up selling this pile with the thought that I could always purchase a few play items at the time they were needed.
I saved a few mementos from when the kids were in school, but not all of them! The plan is also to put the saved items into an organized album for each child. This is also something that I had done with photos. I had separate photo albums for each child that I have now given to them, keeping a family album for myself.
Another big area to whittle down was holiday decorations. Again, my kids got a lot of this stuff and I have kept a much smaller box of decorations for myself.
Keep your storage pile as small as possible and then box and label it.
Step Three: Organize Again After Moving Into Your Smaller Space
It’s highly likely that some of the things you packed up for your new space won’t actually fit in. Both from the standpoint of space and style, they simply can’t be used. If you find this, while unpacking, make sure to put those items right back into the box and either give away or sell them.
You may find that you need to purchase some new items that fit the space better. Hopefully some of your garage sale proceeds can offset the cost a bit. Be careful with what you purchase, making sure you really like or need the item. Don’t buy anything to just get by for awhile. It is better to have a more empty space until you find exactly what you need. That way you don’t need to get rid of the ‘getting by’ items later.