How to pare your stuff down to fit in a smaller space.
So Much Stuff!
It can be overwhelming, thinking of what to pack, and what to purge. All the memories held in precious items that just won’t fit in the next place. But don’t worry, you are not alone. Everyone who moves from a larger home to a smaller one, no matter what the difference in size, feels these emotions!
If it seems that there is just too much to deal with, start small. Take one room, or one type of thing at a time. Perhaps start in a bedroom that is no longer occupied. Kids moved out decades ago? Start there.
Or maybe you have boxes of stuff that you’ve been meaning to “go through” for years–or decades. Those boxes would be a great place to start!
Just remember: You can’t take it all to the next place. Plus, you will feel so much lighter when the extra things you don’t need are out of your life.
New Life for Old Things
All of us have stuff we no longer want or need, but it can be tricky and time-consuming to figure out what to do with those things. Try sorting these items into categories:
- Keep – These are the items you’ll be taking with you to your new home.
- Sell – Items that are in great condition that can fetch a compelling price in your local market or online (eBay, Facebook Marketplace). Just remember, if you are selling big items like furniture, you’ll need to make sure your buyer has the means/ability to pick up if you aren’t able to deliver to the item.
- Donate or Give Away – Many local organizations will take clothing, furniture, and other household goods. Places to donate include thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army), organizations that help house the homeless, and more. Facebook and Nextdoor also have groups like BuyNothing. Post your items, and they can be gone that same day in many cases.
- Recycle – Remember to recycle papers, magazines, boxes, and plastic! Most can go in your household recycle bin. If you have a lot of recyclables to dispose of, you can often take a car- or truck-load to your local recycling center.
- Trash – Similar to recycling, normal household trash and some items that can’t be recycled, donated, or sold will just have to go in the trash. Just remember to properly dispose of chemicals! They should be taken to your local household hazardous waste disposal location. If you have too much trash to handle in a curbside bin, dumpsters can be rented by the day, or a junk hauling service can take away as much as you want. Fees are based on volume in the truck.
The trick with this part is being honest with yourself:
- How much time do you have? Selling takes more time, but you may be able to recoup some of the cash you spent on the items you’re selling.
- Where do you live? Selling or donating may be trickier if you live way out of town. Shipping items across the country to an eBay buyer far away can be expensive.
- Do you have help? Taking heavy furniture to the local Goodwill may mean recruiting some muscle to get things out of the house and to the donation center. Some organizations may pick up, but very few (if any) are currently picking up due to COVID-19.
- How much stuff do you have that needs to go away? Junk haulers will take anything, but the more they take, the more expensive it will be.
When it’s time to start thinking about downsizing, give us a call.
It’s never too early to get started when you’re downsizing! After all, it doesn’t seem to matter if you’ve been in your home for a year or decades: we all seem to accumulate stuff to fill whatever space we occupy.
That said, if you are leaving a home you’ve been in for 20, 30, 40+ years, there’s going to be a lot of stuff. You may have months to figure out where it’s all going, you may have weeks. Or even days. But not matter what, get started early. You may also need to consider if some of your treasures may be going to find new homes with friends or family, which also takes some time.
Some people may want to just get it done as quickly as possible. Ripping off the Band-Aid may be a bit painful, but it’s quick. Or, you may want to take your time, going Marie Kondo-style. Thank each item for its usefulness before freeing it for its next user. Either way is totally fine! Figure out what works for you.