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Blog Post Wednesday 17 May 2017

Essential Tips for Downsizing Your Home

Essential Tips for Downsizing Your Home

There are all sorts of reasons for downsizing - the kids are moving out, you’re trying to save money, or maybe you’re just looking for a change of pace. Without a doubt, the toughest part about moving into a smaller space is throwing things out. Follow these tips to help you live clutter-free in your new home. 

 

Getting started

The best way to begin the process of downsizing is to ask yourself one simple question: “do I really need this?”. If you can’t remember the last time you used that sound system, or the bookshelf of encyclopedias which is gathering dust, then the answer is probably no. Bear in mind there’s a big difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’. If you haven’t used it in twelve months, it’s time for it to go.

Be brutal. Invite some friends around while you de-clutter and ask them to hold you accountable and encourage you to throw things out. Moving house can be tough, so make it as easy as possible for yourself by ensuring you’re only moving what you really need. 

Letting go of sentimental belongings can be tough. Scrapbooks, jewellery, and childhood toys all have memories attached that can be tough to let go of. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but try to focus on getting rid of anything that you don’t think you’ll miss.

 

Get ruthless in the bathroom

Moving into a smaller home or apartment will more than likely mean taking a cut in bathroom storage space. Is your bathroom a secret graveyard for old makeup, expired medicine, hoarded nail polish, and enough bottles of shampoo to last a lifetime? Take to it with a garbage bag and give anything expired the heave-ho. If you haven’t used a product in the last six months, you probably never will. 

 

Cancel the storage locker

If you’re moving into a smaller place, cut the cord on any storage facilities you’re using. Unless your plans to downsize are only temporary, keeping large items stored is a waste of time and money. Storage facilities don’t come cheap, so move on from that chest of drawers that has never quite fit in your bedroom for good.

 

Spring clean your wardrobe

We’re all guilty of holding onto that great pair of jeans that fit ten years ago. It’s time to let go of wardrobe hangers-on. Get rid of things that don’t fit, outfits you’ve never worn, duplicates or anything not appropriate for your climate.

 

Go digital

You can be a booklover without a crammed shelf - remember, you bought that e-reader for a reason. Books, DVDs, cassettes and VHS tapes all have a digital alternative which will take up much less space. If you’re an avid reader who can’t stomach the thought of parting with your much-loved novels, maybe start with your music collection. 

 

Ditch the filing cabinet

Is your study or office crammed with old paperwork that you can’t risk throwing out? Consider scanning and digitally storing personal files instead. If you’re unsure of what should stay or go, contact the tax office, your accountant or solicitor for advice.

 

Have a garage sale

Nothing says ‘downsizing’ quite like a garage sale. If you’re cleaning out your wardrobe, ornaments, books, DVDs, kitchenware or bric-a-brac, consider holding a garage sale or market stall to recoup a few dollars on your older wares. Knowing that you’ll receive at least a nominal value for items you’ve decided you can do without might make parting with them a little easier.

Try sorting items into these piles:

  • Need to keep: Including important documents and your most beloved possessions.
  • Want to keep: You can live without them, but it seems like a loss to get rid of these items altogether. Come back to this list after a few days to re-evaluate.
  • Useful for others: This pile is for items that are still in good working order but no longer needed in your home. Think pots and pans, books, furniture, clothes and knickknacks. These items are perfect for a garage sale or charity donation.
  • Junk: If it’s broken, expired or unable to be fixed, it needs to go straight to the tip. Do your best to recycle where possible. Contact your local council to find out when your next hard rubbish collection day is scheduled, or to book a kerbside collection. 

 

Give to charity

Consider giving back to the community by donating older clothes, books, furniture or kitchen supplies to a local charity. Be sure to phone them first to make sure that they are accepting the items that you are planning to donate. Many charities can organise a furniture pickup service to save you the trouble of cramming that armchair in an already crowded removal van. 

 

Enjoy your fresh start

Moving into your new space without being weighed down by material possessions can be incredibly liberating. Celebrate the new you in a clean, efficient space - just don’t be tempted to go furniture shopping.