The 6 to 12 Month Rule
1) If there’s anything you haven’t touched in the past 6 to 12 months, get rid of it unless it has great personal value. Chances are if you have not used it in within the last year, you don’t really need the item in question and it could be used by someone else or sold. This really works great if you know you are going to have to downsize in the near future because you can plan for it.
The One-Room Simulation
2) Designate one room in your home to hold all the items you’d like to take into your future small-living life. Pretend you’re living in that one room and move the items you really need into that space. All other items are fair game to get rid of. Keep measurements of the room sizes you are going to be moving to and start winnowing out the items that are too large for the space you will need.
Ways to Discard
3) Ways to get rid of the unwanted items: Have a rummage or yard sale, put the items up for auction, give friends their choice of items and take it to a place such as Goodwill. If you have furniture or toys in good condition, a local outreach place might know of a person who is in need of it. In today’s economy everyone knows of somebody who is looking for ways to save money and there is nothing wrong in using used furniture if it is clean and in good repair (just make sure to thoroughly check for bedbugs first!).
4) There are always a few items that you are not quite willing to part with and here is a way to deal with them. Put green sticker dots on all your questionable items. If these items are used within an allotted time period, say a few months, than you can peel off the green sticker and then add it to the possessions you are keeping. If the selected time period passes and the green stickers still adorn the item, sell that item or take it to the thrift store.
Reorganize What’s Remaining
5) It is a good idea to take this time of reorganizing to do a couple of important items with the possessions you are keeping. First, take a photographic or video record of keepsakes and items for insurance purposes. Keep a copy of important documents in a safety deposit box or fire-proof safe along with your will. If something happens to your possessions, say a theft or fire, you have a record of the item for insurance purposes.
Secondly, shred the papers and documents you do not need. Shredding the documents will allow you to be sure that no one gets their hands on identifying information that could be used to ruin your credit.
Enjoy Your Lighter Life
6) Enjoy your clutter free lifestyle and remember that this may not be an easy task, but it does feel better when you realize how much stuff you really do not need. Getting rid of stuff can be so “lightening” to the soul.
What are you’re ideas for downsizing into a smaller living space? Your thoughts are welcome!
Image from Alan Levine via Flickr.