When it comes time to downsize, these tips will help you save memories while minimizing clutter in your new home.
Moving into a new home is often a bittersweet experience. You’re looking forward to the change, but it’s bittersweet to leave behind a home that holds so many memories for you. Downsizing can be even more difficult because a smaller space means you won’t be able to keep all of your current possessions.
Downsizing, on the other hand, provides an opportunity to refresh and restart. If you clear out the clutter, you’ll be able to fill your new home with the things you truly enjoy, making it feel like home.
Here are three steps to downsizing without sacrificing your valuable possessions.
1. Make a plan
Visit your new home and measure the size of your rooms and storage areas. This will serve as a guide for how much you can bring with you. It is preferable to underestimate rather than overestimate.
Do one room at a time as you decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Moving is a big task, and you don’t have to do it all at once. Plan to do a little bit each day and leave extra time to avoid feeling rushed.
First, choose your furniture. Going from large to small will give you a better idea of how much space you still have to fill. If you can’t take the bookshelf with you, you don’t want to have to reorganize everything.
2. Sort your belongings
Will you make use of it? It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ll wear that ten-year-old shirt with the tags still attached someday. However, if you haven’t used it in the last year, you’re unlikely to use it again.
Also, get rid of duplicates. Do you have several coffee pots or sets of china? You don’t need to keep both if you can only use one at a time.
Follow a strict yes/no policy when sorting — no “maybes” allowed. Make a “yes” and a “no” pile and force yourself to pick one. If you’re not convinced the item is worthy of a yes, it’s a no. “Perhaps” piles simply mean more work for you later.
Determine how to divide your “no” pile. You may no longer want or need these items, but they are likely useful to someone else. Friends and family members may inherit special items. Good condition furniture, housewares, clothing, and other items could be sold at a garage sale or on sites like Craigslist. Alternatively, you can donate reusable items to organizations such as Goodwill, which sometimes offer neighborhood or even residential pickups, making your task that much easier. Anything that is damaged or worn beyond repair should go to the recycling bin or the dump.
3. Preserve memories
Digitize photos to save space and make them easier to share with family. Photo albums take up a lot of space, and how frequently do you go through them? Choose a digital frame to view all of your photos in a rotating slideshow, or make a slideshow screensaver for your TV or computer.
Take pictures of items that bring back memories but that you no longer have room for. You can relive the memories without having to keep the items.
Pass on your treasured possessions to your children, grandchildren, or close friends to ensure they are in good hands. They’ll appreciate the gift, and you’ll get to see how they use it.
Another strategy is to repurpose keepsakes. If you enjoy crafting, items such as old movie stubs, letters, and photos are ideal for scrapbooking, allowing you to keep a record of your experiences. Alternatively, use shadowboxes to create three-dimensional artwork. Having all of your memories in one place will make it easier than ever to enjoy them.
Downsizing is an emotional experience. You’ll come across items you haven’t seen in years and must decide what to do with them. Allow yourself some time to reflect before making a decision. Keep in mind your available space. Take only what is truly valuable with you — only you know what you can’t live without.