There are many reasons why you might be looking to downsize through a move. Perhaps moving to a different city or country means it’s time to pare down what you own so there is less to physically move. Maybe the kids have left the nest and it’s time to move into a smaller space, or maybe it’s just a matter of a lifestyle change where you’re looking to have less stuff and simplified living space to free up your time and finances for more experiences. Others simply don’t want to move a bunch of items they rarely use and want a fresh start. No matter what the reason, these tips will help you downsize in the process of a move.
Set a Schedule and Give Yourself Time
If you have the time, take it. Depending on your schedule you can do something as simple as a half-hour or hour block of time each day, tackling a specific drawer or cupboard each decluttering session, or even take on one room per week. You can even schedule the rooms you tackle with local charity pickup dates or garbage pickup dates in your area. If you need to declutter quickly, consider enlisting help, from professionals like long distance movers Toronto for example, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Make a list of everything you need for your new space and compare it with everything you have. Items that you haven’t used for over a year or things that you thought you’d use but haven’t (like that juicer) should go in a pile to be donated, gifted, or sold.
Go Room by Room
If you break up your job by room, it will help divide up the process, so you won’t get overwhelmed. The first time you sort you can divide items into a Keep Pile, a Remove Pile, and a Revisit Later Pile to review again with a more critical eye later.
Ask Yourself Hard Questions
Try to remove emotion from the equation when determining what stays and what goes. When uncertain about an item, ask yourself ‘when was the last time I used this?’ and ‘will this item fit into the lifestyle I am building in my new home?’
Create a Removal Plan
Actively removing items that you no longer want or need throughout the process will allow you to see the progress that you are making and keep moving forward on your quest to downsize. Find out what local charities are accepting clothing, small appliances, and other household items and make regular drop-offs each week. Some places will even schedule pick-ups for you when it comes to larger, high-demand items. Post items you want to sell or give away to those in need, in community online forums for pickup, or if the season is right and you have the time, consider a yard sale. If you have a lot of items that have seen better days that can’t be sold or donated, consider renting a dumpster, or taking regular trips to the dump. Say you are moving to California from Canada, depending on where you go, will you really need that big winter coat or can you donate it to a family member, friend, or charity? For sentimental items that you’re having trouble parting with, consider connecting with relatives and close friends to see if anyone wants specific items gifted from you, so you’ll know they’ll have a good home.
Sometimes what we need is a helping hand. For smaller jobs, you can call in a friend or family member with a minimalist approach to help you determine what to do with items in your revisit pile. Maybe your tech-savvy niece can help you shred old paper clutter and digitize old photographs, family movies, and other important documents to help you save space.
Know When to Call in the Professionals
Other times it’s best to call in the services of a professional junk removal service (so you can point and tell them what to get rid of), a professional organizer to help you plan for your new space or an international moving company with a storage facility who can help you organize items that are going into storage and/or being packed up to move.
Don’t Buy Too Many New Items Just Yet
While it’s exciting to buy new items for your new space, it might be prudent to wait until you’re in the space before you splurge on some of the bigger ticket items. Wait until you’re in your space to determine how big a couch you’ll need or what artwork should go over the fireplace. This is the fun stuff, so take some time to savour it and enjoy making your new space your new, downsized home.