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Bigger does not always mean better—especially when it comes to property. Of course, having more space seems attractive, but it also costs more.

The larger your home the more cleaning and maintenance is also needed. And, it also encourages you to store more stuff.

Maybe you’ve still got your kids baby toys stored in the loft? Or, a bag of size zero clothes that you know you’ll never wear again? Or worse unopened packing boxes from when you first moved in?

Yep—you know who you are. 

To counter the hecticness of modern life, more people are selling their houses and downsizing.

And, it’s not just the baby boomers or empty nesters, but people who want to live a life free of stuff and clutter.

Instead, they’re choosing to free themselves of the burden of paying a large mortgage and expensive maintenance bills, in exchange for having more money to do things they enjoy.

If you’re considering selling your home to downsize but not sure where to start, then read on. 

7 tips to help you declutter and downsize your home 

Photo by Kara Eads on Unsplash

1. Work out how much you space you really need

Are you a single person or in a couple? How many rooms do you need? Do you need extra space for an office if you work from home?

Do you have many visitors so would benefit from an an extra bedroom? Do you have a dog or cat that needs a garden?

Could you sacrifice and outdoor space for a larger living area? Weigh up your needs and priorities. This will help you stay focused when home-hunting.  

2. Get a tape-measure

When looking at new properties make sure you do the following: 

  • Consider the floor plan carefully.
  • Take a tape measure to viewings and note down different space dimensions. For instance, a smaller bedroom might require you to swop your king-size bed for a queen size.
  • Measure storage options – cupboards, closets, attic spaces, sheds.
  • Compare your current space and map out what you can and can’t fit.
  • Calculate roughly how much of your current possessions you will need to downsize. For instance, if your own 20 pairs of shoes, will may need to reduce your collection so they’ll fit into a smaller closet space.

3. Be honest but not hasty

Sure, the aim of the game is to declutter your life but before you hire a skip and throw everything away—stop, plan ahead, allow yourself plenty of time and get help.

The last thing you want to do is get rid of things you later regret or have to re-buy. So, it’s vital you have time to make thoughtful decisions.

And, be realistic, if you live in a big property and like to hoard, give yourself at least a month to declutter properly. Don’t leave it till the last minute either before you’re due to move.

4. Categorise things

To help you sort through your stuff faster, create a few different boxes. Mark out one for items that have sentimental value—this can be family photos, gifts, jewellery, letters. Then have another box solely dedicated to objects that have a practical purpose. These can act as your two main sorting themes. But, if this feels limiting after the first sweep of your stuff, you can create more categories to help work out what to keep and what to throw away. For instance, you can have a dedicated box for important documents, duplicates, hobby & craft tools, things to recycle, give away, or sell. 

For larger objects like furniture or white good, make post-it notes with either ‘keep’ or ‘remove’. 

5. Follow the declutter rules

  • If you haven’t used, worn or even looked at in the last 12 months—chuck.
  • If it doesn’t work or is broken—throw it away.
  • If it belongs to someone else—return it or chuck.
  • If you think it might one day be useful, but you’ve never used it, then throw it away. 
  • It’s rubbish and you’ve just not bothered to throw it out yet—chuck. 

6. Digitize

From a cloud storage system to a thumb-sized SD card—you can save yourself so much space by digitalising your stuff. And we’re not just talking about music and films, but all your important documents can be scanned and saved. Not only is your data safer but you can say good-bye to bulky storage boxes forever. 

7. Accept the emotions

After a lifetime of accumulating stuff, no one said it would easy to let go. It can be a very emotional, yet ultimately a cathartic process. Be kind to yourself.

Maybe prepare a meditation or prayer to help you. For instance, thank the item you’re getting rid of and also allow yourself to release the emotions you feel for it.

And, remember, these are just inanimate objects that could never replace a real human being. 

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