You recently sent your last child off to college and now you’re an empty nester. Or maybe you’ve decided to sell your home and move to a smaller house because you don’t need so much space. Perhaps you’re tired of paying thousands of dollars in utility bills every year and would gladly trade a bigger home for fewer expenses.
The first step to downsizing your home is to figure out what’s in your house, and then get rid of anything you no longer use.
But there’s so much to go through you don’t know where to begin. At this point it can seem like an overwhelming task. There are years of memories in your home and you don’t want to get rid of anything important.
The good news is; You don’t have to. Downsizing your home can be simple and, in the end, make your home feel more comfortable and cozy.
The following are a few tips on how to begin downsizing your home.
Evaluate each item and its meaning for you
According to lifestyle and business coach June Saruwatari, “one reason people keep items in their houses, even if they have no function, is because they’re tied to them for emotional reasons.” You should look at each item, one by one, and ask yourself if you need it, if you love it, if it serves a purpose and if it’s significant in your life.
“When you start consciously going through your stuff, knowing there’s an emotional connection, you’re going to feel better,” Saruwatari says.
It may be difficult to throw away your child’s old report cards from elementary school. But if she doesn’t want them and they don’t serve a purpose for you, it may be necessary in order to make some room. If you saved a necklace that means a lot to you, simply find a place to keep it that’s not in the way of anything else.
Move the items out of the area first
Before you start decluttering a room, take everything out of it. Adrienne Breaux of Apartment Therapy recommends doing this so that you can see how great the space will look when it’s free of clutter. It’ll be easier to get rid of things if you know what the end result will be.
Figure out an item’s value right now
Let’s say you paid $800 for a painting 15 years ago. But the painting sits in your basement and you have no plans to hang it up anytime soon. Why keep it? Even if something cost you a lot of money a long time ago, if it doesn’t have any value for you today, it’s not worth saving.
If you’re having trouble parting with anything that was once expensive, consider selling your goods online and/or having a garage sale. If all else fails, you can make donations to different organizations such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army and then claim a deduction on your tax forms.
Do a little bit of decluttering every day
You’re going to be overwhelmed if you decide to take a week and begin downsizing your home. You may not be aware of it now but it’s physically and emotionally taxing to get rid of things. Instead, take 20 minutes out of every day to sort through your possessions and decide what to do with them. It may take longer but you won’t experience as much stress as you would by doing it all at once.
Want to make your home spic and span ASAP? Check out these tips for cleaning your house in a hurry.
Scan papers and keep electronic files
It’s a waste of space to keep all your old papers around. File the important ones you need in a drawer such as birth certificates and family records and electronically catalogue the rest. Simply invest in a scanner or download an app like CamScanner or Genius Scan. You can take documents, hold them up to your cell phone to photograph and then upload them into your computer in a PDF format. Then, toss the papers. Voila — you’re free from paper clutter.
Downsizing your home can be a tedious task, but the payoff is worth it.
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