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Decluttering for a Downsize

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 31 January 2018 09:42


Decluttering can be a chore for anyone under any circumstance, but decluttering for a downsize is a whole different animal.


Attempting to sort through your belongings with the knowledge that much of it has to be donated or recycled can be difficult to start. Thankfully, decluttering in preparation for a downsize isn’t impossible, and can be made a lot more simple with some key advice.


Examine Your Future Space Budget

Everyone needs a budget of some form; since finances are finite, it’s the only sure-fire way to ensure that you are not living above your means. Space within a home should be examined in the same manner. When preparing for a downsize, the worst thing you can do to yourself is to go about the process by trying to force as much as you can into a small space.


Instead, examine how much room you will have after your downsize, and be realistic when deciding how much can comfortably fit into it. If your belongings are bursting at the seams, chaos in the form of clutter will reign. When downsizing it’s imperative to examine how much space you have and how much space you want to save. Naturally, each item will eat up your budget.


Start with the Easy Things

It can be tempting to immediately gravitate towards the difficult parts of the decluttering process first. There are likely items that you will dread making a decision about, but know it will be difficult to find room for when you downsize. Save those for later. It may seem like procrastination, but by starting with the easy items first, you will have a lot more momentum and more intuition about where exactly you are at within your space budget. Belongings that are necessary for your daily life (think your toiletries, staple clothing items ect.) automatically get saved, and belongings that you didn’t know you had, or that you know you won’t need (think, a lawnmower when you’re moving to a place without a yard) immediately get tossed or donated respectively. Making the easy choices first means that you can move quickly instead of wavering between the pros and cons of one item; after all is said and done, you may find you do actually have room for the dresser you hated to see go.


Think Creatively When it Comes to Sentimental Items

The bane of every declutterer’s task is sifting through sentimental belongings. Downsizing can feel cruel in this respect; if you are truly wanting for room, non-practical items should be the first to go. This can mean you are forced to part with a few sentimental items you’d rather keep. Instead of tossing the items entirely, opt for a creative solution. Things like old ticket stubs, photographs and letters can take up excess space stored in bags or boxes, but displayed in a shadow box on the wall, they can serve as an homage to your precious memories--without using prime real estate in your closet or cupboards. For larger items that truly can’t be stored or displayed reasonably, consider photographing the piece and including a note about it. This note and photo can now be stored in a family photo album or even online, thus eliminating the need for the item itself. This photo trick can be perfect for items like baby clothes or blankets that will not be passed along to the next generation.


Decluttering for a downsize can feel like an overwhelming task, and often it truly can be. Using these simple tricks, however, can make the process feel a little smoother. Remember, there may be growing pains along the way, but having a clean and well-organized space after your move will be far worth the effort.

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Brentnie Daggett

Brentnie is a writer and contributor for Rentec Direct, providers of management software and tenant screening services. Brentnie is always ready to share relevant industry news and tips for new and experienced landlords alike. To learn more about Brentnie and to discover more great tips for rental management visit

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