Downsizing has an upside when you are talking about purging your excess when you move to a smaller home. However, it still can feel like an insurmountable task if you are not careful to follow a few simple downsizing strategies.
Downsizing is an emotional journey. Perhaps that seems like a silly statement but consider all the items in your home are there because you liked them enough to bring them home. From clothes to kitchen utensils, every item in your home has a story. As you begin to downsize you re-live those stories. As you are working through your possessions, be careful to not take on too many negatively emotional tasks at once. However when you encounter those items start asking yourself if you really want to move those items and memories to your new home. Start to see this as your chance to purge and start fresh.
Have A Plan And Enlist Help
Give yourself a head start of at least a few months before you move to go through your home and decide what goes and what stays. No, it does not have to take that long but it is going to take longer than you expect. It is also extremely difficult to make so many decisions while you are in the throes of moving. When you have help, delegate the less emotional tasks like sorting a kitchen drawer as opposed to the box marked “Grandma.” If you are making a drastic downsize, consider using a storage unit as a temporary buffer zone between your old and new home because you might need to actually live in your new space before you decide.
Space And Footprints
Of course you fell in love with your new, smaller space or you wouldn’t be moving. Now you have reached the time to consider the space you have to work with and the footprint of the things you have now. The footprint is the physical space an object occupies. Perhaps your wonderful and extremely comfortable sectional sofa has a footprint so large that it will not work in your new living room. When you started this endeavor you did not expect to need a new sofa but now it is clear what you have is not going to work. Hanging objects, like televisions, means they won’t take up valuable floor space. Small spaces always demand creative solutions so search images of similar spaces and what creative solutions they used for inspiration.
One of the best downsizing strategies is eliminating things which only have one use. Items that only serve one purpose take up space and you tend to not need or use them as often as objects which have many purposes. Small spaces often mean rooms themselves have more than one use. If your living room now serves as your office, for example, consider how to increase the utility of each item in the room. For example, your desk chair can also be extra seating and what looks like an ottoman is actually a filing cabinet on the inside.
The Mental Switch
Moving to a smaller space also requires a mental switch many homeowners do not anticipate. If your normal Saturday routine is to hit the farmer’s market for boxes and bags full of fresh-from-the-field produce you might suddenly long for your huge kitchen table when you bring your first produce hall to your new home. Some people might be tempted to feel upset or even give up the farmer’s market but if it is important to you, you need to find a way to make it work in your new space.
Downsizing can be a refreshing change and an opportunity for new creativity to flow. It is more than moving from point A to B, it is letting go while embracing a new adventure. Take that new space and make it your own as quickly as possible. Most downsizers would not go back to a larger home given the opportunity. Downsizing can be freeing, if you approach it with the right spirit.
Mark is a contributor and author at FindTinyHouse.com. He loves exploring tiny houses and sharing his experiences and ideas. Mark lives in a tiny house himself and enjoys inspiring people to live simply.