If you are like the rest of America, you may have started binge-watching the recently released Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. This kind of show is absolutely fascinating, because it lets us see how much stuff other people own, and it makes many of us reflect on our own spaces and way of life.
Organizing and downsizing are big trending topics at the moment, and for good reason: studies say that the average American owns 300,000 items! Even minimalists often discover, much to their horror, that they too own way more stuff than they really need.
For many, the word “downsizing” means moving into a smaller house. But I am here to tell you that downsizing is entirely possible – without changing locations. (Note: if you do feel that you are ready to move to a smaller home, check out How to Know You’re Ready to Downsize).
In fact, downsizing in your current home is a great way to do a “test run” of sorts to see if you are ready to move into something with less square footage down the road.
Ready to downsize for 2019?
If you are ready to downsize for 2019 but want to stay in your own home, I have some great tips for you!
Eliminate duplicates. Most homes have duplicate items of things which perform the same function. When we downsize to a smaller space, we are forced to remove duplicates and keep only what we truly need and use often. Removing duplicates from your home is a great way to own less without having to make any kind of mental adjustment. The kitchen is always a great place to start!
Pare down your furniture. Furniture these days is more cheaply manufactured and easily acquired than it used to be, and it is easy to own an overabundance of it. Downsizing to a smaller home often forces us to pare down on furniture – sometimes before we are ready. If you’d like to downsize in your current home, eliminate unnecessary furniture to create more space and a less cluttered look, plus you’ll be more prepared for real downsizing down the road. Examples of great unnecessary furniture items to donate are spare chairs, small tables, extra stepstools, side tables and bookshelves.
Close out your storage unit. CBS recently reported that there are 50,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S.: more than Dunkin Donuts, Subways and McDonalds locations combined! Downsizing is all about owning less, and specifically, limiting ourselves to items that that we use and love. Though a storage unit is off-site, it represents ownership of a bunch of items that are probably never going to get used. These are items that you pay every month for the privilege of keeping, so make sure they are things that you truly want and need. I am finally closing out my own personal storage unit at the end of this month and let me tell you – it feels SO GOOD!
Focus on your garage or basement. The garage and basement are the #1 place where unnecessary household items go to die. Commit to cleaning out these areas and making decisions about the things you find there. If you are storing things you want to keep because you might use them someday, tape a sticky note to the item with the date you reviewed it. If you haven’t used it within a year of that date, donate!
Edit, edit, edit. The beauty of downsizing in the home you live in now is that you have time on your side. Editing as you go is key to being truly ready to downsize to a smaller space down the road. In that way, downsizing is a way of life rather than a single action. Routinely removing things that you don’t love or do not perform a function is key to preventing clutter build-up. Place a donation bin in your garage or other storage area and keep filling it as you find things you no longer need. When it’s full, let it go!
If you are in the Portland Metro area, you might find my handy referral directory helpful as you move forward on your downsizing projects. You can also check out my donations and recycling resource page. Please contact me if you need a referral or are ready to list your home!