Common Mistakes to Avoid When Downsizing
Maybe you’re planning to move to a smaller home to spare yourself the upkeep that a large property requires — or perhaps the kids have left the nest and you no longer need as many bedrooms. Whatever the case may be, if you are transitioning to smaller living quarters, you will need to downsize your belongings to keep from cluttering your new space. Avoid these common mistakes to ensure an efficient and effective move.
Tackling the Entire House at Once
If you start to haphazardly go through your home from top to bottom, you will quickly find yourself living in chaos. Instead, go one room at a time; this ensures you can still live comfortably at home without items strewn everywhere. You can also organize the process along a timeline, for instance by downsizing one room per week.
When deciding where to start, opt for rooms you don’t use as frequently. Again, this means your daily life won’t be disrupted. Research shows that the kitchen and the family room or living room — wherever the television is located — usually get the most daily use during waking hours. Save these areas for last.
One way to give yourself extra time when going through your items is to rent a moving container for a month or so. If there’s something you’re planning on keeping (but don’t need in your daily life), you can store it in the container. Then, when you’re ready to move, a moving company can pick up the container and transport it to your new home.
Creating a ‘Maybe’ Pile When Deciding What Stays
When sorting belongings, create “take” and “go” categories. However, do not give yourself the option of a “maybe” designation, which means visiting the same items repeatedly. The main reason: It can really slow down the process. When deciding whether you still need something, ask yourself the big three questions: Do you have duplicates of the object? Have you used it within the past year? If you lost it tomorrow, would you replace it?
Use sticky notes to easily separate what stays from what goes. Post-Its can also help expedite and organize your actual move, as this article explains. You can use them to color-code boxes based on which rooms they belong to, for example, and even keep a tally of how many boxes fall under each color category to ensure nothing gets lost or left behind.
Attempting to Donate Unusable Items to Charity
Make sure that whatever you give away is in good condition and safe for use. Electronics with frayed power cords or stained clothing is all best suited for the garbage. Let this list of charities from Moving.com inspire you when deciding where to give your goods.
Home Storage Solutions 101 has other useful tips for making the most of your charitable donations. For instance, you can coordinate a pickup with some charities for larger items like furniture. It may also be possible to get a donation receipt for high-value donations; you can use this as a charitable deduction on your next tax return.
Trying to Dispose of Junk by Yourself
Whether it’s that old, broken couch or a dirty mattress you never managed to get rid of, there are likely going to be some items that you can neither donate nor simply chuck into the garbage. Don’t make your downsizing process even more complicated by attempting to haul these items away yourself. Instead, use the Junk Removal Association search engine to find a junk removal service in your area to lend a helping hand.
Of course, professional junk removers don’t just take the grunt work off your hands. They also ensure that items are disposed of properly and in accordance with relevant legal guidelines. Old computers or televisions are considered hazardous waste, for instance, and need to be gotten rid of accordingly.
Forcing Yourself to Get Rid of Items When You Don’t Want To
Don’t force yourself to get rid of items that are difficult to part with. Instead of placing that stress on yourself, put these possessions into storage until you can find a permanent place for them.
Downsizing can be emotionally difficult at times but focus on the silver lining that comes with a smaller home — specifically less maintenance and financial strain. This can even benefit overall health by allowing more time for healthy habits such as social bonding and exercise. With these tips, life won’t just get more convenient, it can also become more enjoyable.
Article Written By Shirley Martin
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