Whether you are moving into an assisted living community or leaving your empty nest for a smaller apartment, figuring how to downsize and declutter can be a challenge. A current home and possessions hold many memories, from the piano your children played to the ceramics they made in art class. While decluttering can be tricky, it doesn't always have to be when you commit to a plan of action. Figuring out what matters most to you, and what do to with your extra stuff, can help you get ready to transition to a smaller space.
1. Focus on One Area at a Time
The downsizing process can sometimes feel overwhelming. You might be moving from a 2,000-square-foot home to a 500-square-foot apartment and wonder how you'll be able to make the switch. Instead of looking at the big picture, it's best to look at one area at a time. Start with a part of your home that you have the least amount of emotional attachment to. It might be the linen closet or your kitchen cabinets. Don't move on from that area until you've cleared out the things you don't use or won't use when you move to your new home.
2. Spread Out Your Project
Don't feel as though you need to speed through decluttering. Giving yourself plenty of time and working for short periods, such as 15 or 20 minutes a day, can help you downsize without feeling pressured or as if you need to make a decision about an item now.
3. Give Things Away
Parting with kitchen gadgets you don't use can be considerably easier than parting with sentimental items. One way to ease the pain of giving away things like your children's art projects is to see if your kids want those things themselves. Your adult children might be excited to have the ceramic figurines they made in elementary school art class or the piano they learned to play on. But be prepared that they may not want those items, either.
4. Take Pictures
You might not need to hang on to the actual item to preserve your memory of it. Taking a picture of things that have sentimental value, but that you don't have space for in your new place, is one way to keep those memories. And since photos are mostly all digital these days, you won't have to worry about finding a way to store or a place to store the pictures you take!
5. Get Clever About Storage
Storage options tend to be limited in smaller spaces. If you've cleared out as much as you can, but still have a lot of stuff you don't want to part with, it's time to get clever about your storage options. Pieces that do two jobs at once are often perfect for smaller places. An ottoman or coffee table with a built-in storage compartment can hold books, photo albums, or little knick-knacks, for example.
Downsizing can be tough, and you might not always enjoy the process. Try to remain focused on the many benefits, like having less stress in your new place and having more room for the things that truly matter to you today.