5 Things You’re Not Doing While Downsizing Your Home (But Totally Should Be)

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There’s no denying that downsizing can be a daunting task. Deciding what to keep, what to toss, and what to store can be very overwhelming, especially when strong emotional ties are involved. That’s why we’ve asked the storage experts over at MakeSpace to share some advice on downsizing your home without the stress. See their top tips below and head on over to the MakeSpace blog for even more packing and storage tips!

Life, and Texas, tell us that bigger is better.

Having a bigger home, a bigger car, a bigger TV, bigger biceps, a bigger burger, a bigger diamond, and a bigger bank balance supposedly means having a better life. So, it’s no surprise that when you mention “downsizing” to people, they think it’s a negative thing. They think about droves of people getting laid off. They think of someone moving into a smaller home because he/she is retiring, or can no longer afford to live in his/her current place.

The reality is that downsizing isn’t depressing. In fact, downsizing can actually increase happiness (see Exhibit A, B, and C). If you too are downsizing your home and/or contemplating paring down your belongings, here are five tips that will help you downsize your stuff, while upsizing the quality of your life.

1. Evaluate your perception about your possessions.

uglysweater Source: Flickr/TheUglySweaterShop.com

 

Whether it’s a sweater you got as a gift, but no longer wear, your A+ dioramas from grade school, or fancy jewelry from the one who got away, it’s natural to feel emotionally attached to objects that evoke a distant, beautiful memory.

But do you really need that stuff? Or are they collecting dust and taking up space in your home that would be better filled by, say, jewelry from your current lover?

Survey says…no to the first question, and yes to the second.

Sure downsizing your home and possessions can be stressful. Deciding to get rid of things that hold a special place in your heart is never easy. But taking a step back to reevaluate your feelings about those items can help free your mind, and your space, from unnecessary clutter.

2. Only keep items that you absolutely need or that make you 100% happy.

smiley-face-coffee-mug Source: Flickr/Rooey202

 

Put items that you haven’t worn, looked at, touched, or used in a year, in the “don’t need” pile that belongs anywhere but inside your home.

Sort the rest of your items by category and only keep objects that you need or that make you happy. Doing so turns your home, no matter how big or how small, into an oasis that has more space in which you can relax and pursue your passions.

3. Gift, donate, or sell the items you don’t keep.

gift Source: Flickr/robleto

 

Have an SLR camera that you don’t use anymore? Give it to your budding photographer relative who’s keen on discovering what life was like before Instagram. Consider donating to charity the clothes and shoes that you no longer wear, or the books that you finished reading eons ago.

In either case, parting with those items is a pleasant experience because you know that they’re going to someone who will cherish them.

Now what about the potentially valuable objects, such as antiques, fine art, and collectibles that you no longer want?

Sell them and put the money towards your new home, your debt, an exotic vacation for you and your significant other, or your bank account that could use a little extra padding. To get started, consign your valuables on Lofty where an expert will appraise and help you sell your pieces.

4. Store the stuff that you love but don’t need right now.

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Okay, so maybe you’re not ready to part with all of your valuables, especially if they’re heirlooms. If you have glassware, fill them with packing paper, wrap them in bubble wrap, place them in a box with dividers, and store them in an area that’s not susceptible to extremely hot or cold temperatures that can break glass. Apply that same logic to fine china, or store them in quilted storage cases, and you’re golden.

For that piece of jewelry from the one that got away, we recommend cleaning it with a 100% cotton cloth or water and mild soap first. Then, place it in an airtight storage container (preferably one with soft lining to prevent scratching), and keep it in a dry place with low humidity, so that the metal, and your old flame, don’t tarnish.

Now what about the non-fragile items like your out-of-season clothes, wedding tux, tchotchkes, comic books, and Burning Man gear that you love but don’t need in your home right now?

Store them in MakeSpace. We’ll pick it up, store, and deliver your stuff to you when you do need it.

5. Replace single-purpose furniture with multi-purpose furniture.

beelastic Source: Be-Elastic

 

Using multi-purpose furniture will help you maximize your space. A storage ottoman can moonlight as a seat. SNAPs can upcycle an empty drawer into a nightstand with storage. A trunk can be your coffee table/portable mini storage unit. And a wall bed from Resource Furniture can retract into the wall when you’re not sleeping.

If you’re short on cash, don’t worry. You can sell your old furniture on a used furniture marketplace like AptDeco or Move Loot. And then use that extra cash to buy your old furniture’s space-saving sibling: multi-purpose furniture.

Bonus tip: If you need help with moving into your new home, use Unpakt. They’ll help you find reliable and affordable movers who will make sure that everything arrives at your new home in one piece.

Whether you’re in the middle of downsizing, weighing your options, or know someone who is, consider it a blessing. Because less stuff is more space, and more space is more freedom.