When it comes to having to move, there’s nothing worse than the expectation of having to pack away all of your belongings and then unpack again at the end of it. Instead of dreading the move, you can look at it as a chance to work through old storage closets, boxes you haven’t looked into in years, and all those cupboards that need decluttering! The time you spend decluttering, organizing, and perhaps even downsizing before you move means that you will have less to deal with when the time comes to pack and move your belongings.
Focus on the End Goal
Rule number one for decluttering and downsizing: focus on what you want to have at the end of the experience. An empty closet? A garage you can park in? Or perhaps you’re moving from a home to an apartment, or otherwise downsizing. In those cases, think of where you want to be a year after you finish moving. Visualizing yourself a year down the line can help inspire you to keep at it! While you keep yourself focused on the end goal, it’s also a good idea to create smaller goals which you can easily make. For example, you could have a goal to empty a box in the attic this week. The next goal could be emptying the attic in the next month. When you hit the first goal, you’ll be motivated to hit the second, and so on!
The One Year Rule
This rule can help you work through your backlog of belongings: if you haven’t used it in the last year, the chances are high that you aren’t going to use that item in the next year either. This can apply to all sorts of things: clothes you haven’t worn in a year or more could be donated to a thrift store or put into a garage sale. Kids toys that haven’t been played with in a year or more could be sorted into two categories: “sentimental” and those which you could donate or otherwise get rid of. Those records you never listen to might be harder to let go of, but you can always keep a few special titles and divulge yourself of the bulk of them.
In your closets, Oprah and her designers suggest taking everything that hangs and turning it backwards, so that the hanger is the wrong way around. When you take out an outfit or article of clothing out to wear, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct way. You’ll find out very quickly which clothes you wear regularly, and which you never wear! If you can, keep this up for 6 months to a year, and then clear out the things you no longer want, need, or use.
Everything Needs A Place
The easiest thing to do when you have company is on the way over is to hide clutter in drawers, cabinets, and otherwise stuff it away. Many times this can lead to an area called a “junk drawer” or the closet no one can use because it’s too full of stuff. One way to combat this practice is to make sure that everything in your house has a place to be put away, a place where it belongs. There’s no obvious answers to some things. For example, soap goes in the bathroom, in the kitchen, and maybe the garage. There should be a space in each place for the type of soap you need. A cabinet in the kitchen for cleaning supplies, a laundry room should have an area for detergent, etc. Take each item out of its drawer, cabinet, or closet and weigh in: have you used it in the last year? Do you see a need for it in the next year? If you do see a need, is there a better place to store said item?
Does It Mean Something To You?
If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo’s KonMarie method of tidying, her main question for everyone she helps to get organized is simple: Does [the item] spark joy? Simply put, does the item you have at hand have meaning in your life, and a reason to be there? Sometimes we hold onto items because they have a family history or specific memory attached to it. Those items are just fine to keep, in moderation. If you have a whole dining room that’s full of items with sentimental value, you may need to revisit what “sentimental” means to you. Remember back to our earlier suggestions: have you used the sentimental item(s) in the last year? Do you ever?
The term downsizing always seems to have a negative feeling to it – let’s change that! Downsizing can mean moving to a new stage of life, whether it’s moving to a new town and starting a new job, or moving from your long-time family home into a senior community, for example. Take stock of what you have in your current home, and think about that one year into the future. What would you most want to see in your new home? What can you see in your current home that you just won’t be able to keep? Big things, like furniture, can be hard to let go of, but you may find that you enjoy your china more when it’s not locked away in the china cabinet. The things you choose to keep in your life can help you start a new chapter – or they can hold you back from a fresh start.
When downsizing, it’s often important to remember that this isn’t a one-and-done deal. You’ll have time later to go through your belongings again, and to decide whether these things are still what you want in your home. Doing it before your move can help you have a smoother transition period, instead of going through everything as you try to put it away in the new place.
If you’re considering downsizing, talk to The Hall Team about the best options on the Central Coast. We’re available any time through our online contact form, and we would love to help you find the perfect place for you!