Ways to Downsize
It doesn’t matter what size house or how much stuff you’re coming from, that’s all relative. The fact of the matter is that you’ve decided to downsize. That’s great! We made the decision to downsize in May of 2015 and there were definitely a few downsizing panic attacks had about letting go of some things, and finding space for others. By July 2015 we had done it, here are the 5 major “How to’s” that helped us. Number 5 is dedicated to clothes in case you’re wondering what we did with all those coats from the previous post.
1) Work in rounds.
Just like easing into the thought of downsizing, I eased myself into actually downsizing. I went through my kitchen 3 times over the course of 3 weeks. Round one: I went through every cabinet and pulled out the obvious things I had doubles (triples!) of. Think wine glasses (do you really need 4 different sizes and shapes?), vases (when does your hubby ever buy you more than one bouquet of flowers at a time?), small appliances (my Ninja blender is also a food processor, so its good-bye solo food processor), cooking dishes (I had 4 bread pans because??), drink pitchers (be real, when do you ever make more than 0 or 2 juices??). Round two: I removed everything I hadn’t used in the past year (those college martini glasses, that weird shaped casserole dish). Round three: I was honest about the fact that I let a lot of things slide in round two. This was the hardest round because I had to separate my “best intention” from my “realistic time”. Sure I can picture myself using this [random kitchen object] in the distant future. Realistically? I’ve been busy, am busy, and will be busy. At the beginning, middle, and end of my day I’m not going to prioritize making adorable mini cheesecakes (ever), use a special chopper (that’s a pain in the ass to clean!!) over a big ol’ knife, or use a “fancy” high stem wine glass (that my kids will knock over and break anyway). You might feel uneasy at the time, but I promise you, you’ll have a really hard time remembering what you got rid of just a month later. I literally just had to rack my brain to come up with these examples and I filled 4 totes of kitchen “crap” to-go. So, work in these rounds for every single room. Go room by room for all 3, or have the whole house on round one, then two, etc.
2) Sell it.
We tried to sell a few things on Craigslist but unless it was a large item, it wasn’t worth our time posting the ad, weeding through scams, and having the person no-show after all that. So we had a big yard sale. Here’s my advice: Tips For Having a Successful Yard Sale
3) Donate it:
What didn’t sell at our yard sale we donated. We chose to donate to Purple Heart aka Green Drop. Why? For convenience. They will come and pick up your donation. All you have to do it put your stuff in boxes and bags, label them PU, and set them outside. Rain or shine. You can schedule a pickup either on their website or by calling them at 1-888-944-DROP. See their whole list of what they accept and you can write off your donation on your taxes. ALSO, they show in a big truck that screams charitable donations so all your neighbors can remember you as a kind, generous person (and know what to do with their excess stuff!).
4) Trade it.
In addition to getting rid of items, we downsized the size of other items. For example, we went from an 8cuft chest freezer to a 4cuft by simply asking our neighbors if they would trade and upgrade their small freezer to a larger one. We exchanged no money, because in our mind what we would get for selling the large used freezer is what it would cost us to buy a new smaller freezer. We also traded household items for services. Here’s a bunch of free stuff….now help us move. Win-win for all.
5) Clothes (and shoes!).
If it hadn’t been worn in the past 2 years(me), or had any holes in it(husband), it had to go. Unless its SUPER comfortable, if you wouldn’t wear it outside of your house, then donate that too. Have a (honest) friend go through your wardrobe with you. They’ll tell you what isn’t flattering, help you own up to what you’ll probably never wear again, and then “borrow” some other pieces so you can “borrow” them back when you’re feeling nostalgic. An additional round of downsizing clothes and especially shoes came again after we moved into the new house and in such a small space, I saw how ridiculous 7 pairs of boots really looked. I had so many pairs of the “best intention”and realized that I always grab what’s most comfortable; like pair of fashion boots over say my wedges (that I had so long they went out of style and came back in again).
Finally our winter coats that started my first downsizing panic. Organize everyone’s’ clothes by season. Since we downsized both closet space and number of dressers I could no longer display an entire year of clothes in one spot. So if it’s summer, our closets and drawers are full of summer clothes and one light coat and sweatshirt. All our winter coats went into labeled totes that are stored right next to the tote for “fall decorations”. When seasons change so do our totes/wardrobes. In the winter, everyone will get one coat hook on the wall for their most used coat, and then the extras gets stored in their miniature bedroom closet.
Hi there! I’m Kaley, prevailing parent and wife, but also just me; stubborn lover of DIY everything, outdoors, and chocolate. Read more about myself and my family under the “Parenting” > “About My Family” tabs.