As Americans, we are obsessed with big things. The Big Mac, The Biggie Drink, The Super Size Meal, big-box retailers, The Biggest Loser. I could go on and on. Whoever said “bigger is better” was actually wrong. When it comes to a living space – sometimes smaller is more economically feasible and psychologically manageable. Especially if you are a baby boomer and your kids have left. If you are downsizing for financial reasons, celebrate. Less house to clean, smaller utility bills, new neighbors; the list goes on and on.
The mantra I share with my clients is, “smaller is simpler!” Right? Absolutely. But, you need a plan and the right mindset. Remember, there is nothing wrong with parting ways with items that are meaningless. Visualize your brand new place looking organized and neat and get started with these simple tips:
1. First and foremost, set goals and some criteria for how you will decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Color wrong? Too big? Haven’t used or worn it in over a year? Outdated? Never even unwrapped it? Gone! Be realistic here and remove the emotion. (see tip #4)
2. As soon as you know you are moving, begin purging. Set aside some time each day to tackle one small area whether it be a jammed coat closet, stuffed drawer or an overflowing file cabinet.
3. Be very clear on your wants versus your needs. If you are moving into a home that is half the size then you need to get rid of 50% of your stuff. Yeah, you really do.
4. Start with the items that tug at your heart the least. You no longer need 10 mixing bowls, 5 old boogie boards or your boom box from the 80’s that only plays cassettes. Right? Give it the boot and don’t look back.
5. Measure your furniture and the square footage of your new place, room by room. You can use this handy tool to help you from Better Homes and Gardens’ Arrange-A-Room online software. It’s free!
6. Sell or donate the furniture that won’t fit. Don’t even hesitate on this one. You can’t fit a square peg in a round hole – so don’t sweat it, get rid of it.
7. Designate an area of your garage, side yard, patio, spare bedroom, or wherever – to stage the giveaways. Start making a pile. Don’t keep going back to it. Decide. And walk away.