Lately we’ve seen a spike in clients who hire us because they are downsizing or helping their parents downsize and the stressors are the same across the board. The general feeling is not knowing where to begin, or how to let go. Read on, because this one’s for you!
Of course purging is an inevitable step in moving, selling your home, or downsizing. But that doesn’t make it any easier to do! You are seeing your home in its entirety now- every individual room and all of its contents. You’re digging up things you don’t even remember you had; recalling memories and milestones. So many decisions to be made while every item you own passes through your hands to either pack or go. It can feel paralysing.
We would love to help curb the stress with some tips for simple and effective tips to make the transition a breeze and enable you to actually let go of the things that no longer serve you.
Start Pairing Down Before Crunch Time
Your move may be months away, but now is the perfect time to start getting ready. Dedicate a bit of time each day and go through closets, cupboards, and storage spaces. Tackle one box, drawer or closet at a time, and slowly chip away. Giving yourself lots of time will help prevent feeling burnt out or overwhelmed.
Begin With The Least Sentimental Areas First
Start by “editing” areas that contain non-sentimental items. Closets, kitchens or bathrooms are a great place to begin - most people can tackle clothing or dishes fairly easily. Also, if you are downsizing from a house to a condo, be sure to spend time in the garage. Snow shovels, lawn mowers, ladders and other such things will need to be considered, as you may not need them after you move
Donate, Sell Or Consign Rather Than Throwing Away
Whenever possible, reuse, sell or donate instead of throwing items out. As tempting and easy as it may be to toss old clothes or furnishings, consider the environment and do your best to find a home for everything that is still in working condition. Second-hand stores like Value Village or Goodwill are great places to drop off usable items when you don’t have the time to sell. For even greater impact, be on the lookout for local book, food, and clothing drives, or search up specific causes that you feel most strongly about that are serving your local community or city. For example, animal shelters always need blankets, and centres supporting single moms can often use some good condition toys or children’s clothing! While the needs are often more specific here, if you’re downsizing, there’s a good chance your donatable items fall within their ‘urgent need’ categories and if you start early enough, it’s a feel-good way to begin the purging process.
Now is the time to bring in reinforcements! Not only is it helpful to have a spare set of hands to assist with furniture lifting or moving boxes, it’s also great to have an objective second opinion when you can't decide whether to keep or get rid of something.
Gift Now And Enjoy Sharing In Someone Else's Happiness
If you have family heirlooms or other special items that you no longer use but are holding onto in order to pass along to family or friends, consider gifting them now. Relish in the experience of getting to see someone you love enjoying something that means so much to you, while the weight is lifted off your shoulders of having to re-home these items in a smaller space.
Keep Only What You Love Or Is A Necessity
As a general rule, we abide by this perfect quote by William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Simple as that. What you hold on to is either functional or brings you joy to look at. Otherwise, it’s best to let it go. If you keep that as a guide-post while you declutter and pack, you might surprise yourself with how easy it is to let go of the things weighing you down. And if that’s not working….
Give Us A Call If You Need A Hand
Fact: Downsizing is hard. It’s emotional. It’s exhausting. We see it all the time. Room to Breathe has many years of experience helping to downsize and get organised. If you could use a hand at any point along the way, please don't hesitate to get in touch. It’s our joy to help create ease during such a stressful time.
And for a more extensive list to guide you week by week, take hold of our printable Moving Checklist & some great packing tips here.