Note: I successfully downsized and sold my home in July 2016 and have been in my new place, a 500 sq ft. mother-in-law unit at a wonderful place in Cutten, surrounded by redwoods. I still needed to downsize a bit after the move and still try to not bring things in without a commitment to take something out. I love the freedom not having to care for a large home and garden bring.
I am selling my house this year. I love my house but it is too big for me, I am tired of the up-keep, and arthritis makes gardening much less fun.
I will miss my neighborhood, but the house is the perfect place for someone else and it isn’t fair to hold on to it. I have a list of things to do so it will be nice for its new owner and have set May as a goal.
If you plan to move in the next year and don’t own your home, or if you plan to move without selling, then the “only” thing to worry about is some stuff, right? For many, this is the hardest part. Downsizing experts have all kinds of tricks we use to help with organizing and downsizing for a move.
We all move at our own pace. Some move through their homes, sorting and recycling as they go, deciding who gets what, arranging for pick up, donation, or disposal and then packing up what they will take with them.
Most people move at a more glacial or erratic pace. Others move so fast, (like a tornado) and fly from room to room, picking things up and putting them down somewhere else. At the end of the day it looks worse than when they started.
Some need a little help and organizing tips to get started.
Others appreciate hands on help all the way through. Maybe they can’t lift or move things, or tire after a few hours, or appreciate the gentle nudging that comes from someone who knows what they are doing.
Well-meaning families and friends sometimes get into the thick of things accidentally. They push too hard or set a schedule that is theirs and forget the person has a whole life to sort through.
If you are moving in the next year, you need an overall strategy before diving in. Start by working in an area of the house that you rarely use. Things stored there should be easier to part with. This early “win” can start the positive momentum you need to keep going.
The critical rule: stay in the room where you are working. If something needs to go elsewhere, DON’T TAKE IT THERE. Put it outside the door and take it later or you might leave and never return. Start with 4 piles: 1) keep because I love this and will use it all the time; 2) give to someone I know who will love it; 3) donate to a worthy cause; and finally 4) “why do I have this???” This last pile could be sifted more. Thanks to SCRAP Humboldt and recycling, things we might discard can be repurposed by others. Put the rest in separate garbage and toxic piles to dispose of properly.
Don’t pack things you use every day, but consider paring back. How many wooden spoons do you use daily? How many do you have and really need?? No, don’t look at the knives! That is avoiding the spoon issue. Focus on the spoons and be honest. Then, move to the knives, or the wine glasses, etc. Gather like with like and take a hard look. This is the only way to see what you have.