A few years ago I sold my large four-bedroom home and moved into a cute but significantly smaller cottage by the sea. Downsizing had to be done, and within the two-month closing date. Yikes!
Needless to say, going through the mounds of stuff that I had accumulated over the 24 years of living there was seriously daunting. But I am here to say that the benefits of having a more manageable living space has freed up loads of “internal” energy, giving me more time and money for the things that I really love.
Whether you are moving into a smaller bedroom, a smaller home or condo, or live in a petite space, here are some tips for organizing and/or downsizing your life to make your cozier space work wonderfully for you.
15 Tips for Downsizing your Living Space
1. Make sure what you keep is really something you can’t live without. Is everything you own worthy of a space in your home or office? Is it useful – like a toaster, or a shredder, or a great pair of shoes? Is it something that you find beautiful or inspiring – something you love? Or is it something with great sentimental value – one of a selected number of things you keep because of the sentiment? If it’s not any of these things, then perhaps it’s something that you can part with, and let it go to another home.
Surround yourself with things that make your heart sing, or make your life easier. Just OK is not OK!
2. If there’s something you use very infrequently, do you need to own it? Could you borrow it or rent it when you need it?
I now borrow the extra chairs for entertaining from a friendly neighbor who stores mounds of them in her garage.
3. You can limit the amount of space you’re willing to give to any type of item: Only the books that fit on the bookshelf, only the toys that fit in the bins, only the greeting cards that fit in the box you designate for that kind of memorabilia.
4. Regarding the sentimental stuff: Sometimes it works to take a picture of an item, and let the original go. Keeping antique furniture that does not fit your decor, style or taste for sentimental value will always stick out like a sore thumb. If no other family member is interested, keep the picture of it and donate to a good cause.
5. For children’s art projects and schoolwork: Be selective in what you keep, or this stuff can overrun even a large space. Your children may have opinions on what they want to keep, too. In general, keep the essay about “My Family” – but maybe not the ones about less personal topics. Keep a few wonderful original drawings, but perhaps not the ones where your child colored in a form.