Simple Is Beautiful: How to Downsize Gracefully
Simplify your life by finding the true meaning of the objects that surround you
Whether you’re moving into a smaller space or just trying to simplify your life, downsizing can feel like a daunting task. When you look at your belongings as a whole, it may seem like each item has some sort of importance, whether it be utility or sentiment, and the process of simplifying can feel overwhelming or unnecessary. However, the long-term benefits of lightening your load will outweigh the short-term stress of making decisions about your stuff, so get organized about downsizing and get ready to enjoy the next chapter of your new and improved life.
An honest inventory
The first essential step involves taking an honest look at what you have and what it means to you. Take a moment to ask yourself what you would replace if all of your belongings were lost in a disaster. Categorize your items as follows:
· What would you be truly devastated to lose?
· What could you live without?
· What would you replace if setting up a new household from scratch?
The items you can’t live without obviously take precedence – but be realistic about this. These items will most likely be sentimental instead of just useful. This isn’t a list of things you like; these are the things that you would rush around in a panic to save first if a disaster was approaching. Evaluate these items first to ascertain their importance, and then again to determine if there’s any way that you could condense or organize them better.
Is there a way to store this stuff that maximizes space? Honor these belongings by finding a place of importance for them in your new home.
The second category is for items that are truly superfluous. Look for seldom-used items, things that you own more than one of, or items that are showing excessive wear and tear and begin placing them in boxes labeled: trash, give, or sell. Be realistic about your needs, too – do you need 28 hand towels? Maybe you do, but chances are, you don’t. Would you replace the coffee grinder you received as a wedding gift if you’re now using a Keurig? Probably not. Don’t envision a future possibility of needing it; if you’re not using it now, let it go.
Motivate yourself to be generous in assigning items to this pile by thinking of the extra cash you can make by selling these things in a garage sale, eBay, Craigslist, or a Facebook community sale site.
The last category will most likely include items that you use frequently. These items are functional, serve a distinct purpose, and are used frequently enough to be worth inhabiting important space.
Remember, your goal is to simplify your life and surroundings. Place a value on having empty space, less to clean, and an aesthetically pleasing area free of clutter. Ask if each item is more important than the joy of uncluttered drawers and countertops.
The end game
Once you eliminate unnecessary items, assess your potential for storage and purchase storage solutions that will help you streamline available space. Consider items like storage ottomans, shelving, under-bed storage boxes, closet organizing systems, and containers.
However, make sure each storage solution is actually a solution and not just adding to the overall clutter; buy these products intentionally and with a purpose in mind.
Finally, once you’re organized in your new place, make a concerted effort to keep it that way. Don’t carelessly grow into every inch of your new home – battle the clutter constantly and fight for your newfound space.
This requires being a conscious consumer; consider where each new purchase will go, how important it truly is to your overall well-being – and if you must have something, consider getting rid of a similar item to maintain the balance you’ve achieved.
Challenge yourself to continue simplifying by forcing yourself to purge your home of the unnecessary on a regular basis. Choose a day of the week or month and fill up one garbage bag or box of items that you no longer need. This chore will become easier as a regular habit.
Simplifying your life means your home will look nicer, things will be easier to find, all your belongings will have value or meaning, and your home can feel like the sanctuary it should be. Although downsizing can initially feel chaotic, it will eventually bring so much calm to your everyday existence that maintaining that feeling will mean more than a bunch of stuff ever could.