Minimalism, Uncategorized

How to Downsize Without Stress

In today’s Facebook Live video we talked about tips & tricks for your downsizing process. If you weren’t able to join us or don’t have time to watch the video, here are the highlights.
(side note- I would love to have more of you join me Wednesday evenings at 7pm MST for my weekly videos. I’m trying to gauge times so if there’s a better time for you please let me know!) 
Downsizing is something I love helping people with. I have considered a job as a home organizer. Yes, there are people who spend their time helping others downsize, organize and simplify. For now, I’m content helping you on your journey via the blog. I have helped several friends with their downsizing process and I hope these tips will help you. We have been intentionally downsizing for about 7 years now… we keep thinking we’re done and then discover more we can downsize! I had fun reading this blog from 2013 the other day. We had completed our biggest downsize to date and purged most of our bookshelves, dressers and other “storage furniture”

Determine Your Why

Before you even touch anything to downsize, is determining your “why.” On the first day of our journey, we set goals for the 40-day period. If you haven’t done this yet, go ahead and determine your “why” for downsizing. Perhaps you want to sell things to pay off debt, have a cleaner & less cluttered home, reduce stress or move in to a smaller space. Whatever your why is, write it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day.

Prioritize The Process

Scheduling time in your calendar specifically for downsizing is important. Don’t say you want to downsize and then get to it when you have time. Set an appointment in your calendar, just like you would for a doctors visit or any important appointment. If you have young children you might want to get someone to watch them during this time so you can focus. Take this seriously and do all that you can to make it a top priority. View it as a job and make the same arrangements you would make to work.

Determine Your Method

Decide if you want to work alone, with a friend or with your spouse/partner. There are two approaches you can take for giving yourself the time. Either start small with 15 minutes a day and then work your way up adding 10-15 minutes at a time. OR knock it out fast, plan on 3-4 hours with an hour lunch and then another 3-4 hours. Know you’ll be exhausted at the end of the day! If you take this approach, have dinner in the crock-pot and a nice, relaxing bath at the end of the day.

Talk With Your Family

As we discussed on day one, get your family on board with downsizing. If they’re not ready to downsize their belongings that’s ok, sometimes it takes a while. Have an honest conversation about your “why” and trust they are on their own journey. We’ll talk about downsizing kids’ belongings next Wednesday. Your spouse and older children may need some time to be ready to downsize their own things.

Helpful Tips

We discussed these in-depth on the video, here are the highlights for my top tips for downsizing.

First, remember our 3 basic principles (check out more about them here)

  • A place for everything & everything in its place
  • The 24 Hour Purchase Rule
  • Everything we own should be meaningful enough that we want it displayed or useful enough that we use it at least quarterly
  1. Think about your needs vs wants (& what you “think” you need vs what you REALLY need)
  2.  Don’t buy organizational items until you’re 100% done downsizing
  3. Avoid having “a place where things go to die” aka a “junk drawer
  4. Follow the steps outlined in the “place where things go to die” post for every area of your home
  5. Ask yourself when the last time you used the item was- if it’s been more than 3 months out it goes.
  6. Remember items don’t have any meaning on their own, they only have value because they’re connected to a memory or have value you have given them. 
  7. The KonMari approach of only keeping things you love ties into our basic principles and can be helpful in determining what to keep
  8. Don’t keep “just in case” items other than basic emergency kit supplies
  9. Having someone outside your family help makes the process easier, they can offer non-emotional advice on keeping items
  10. The longer you hold an item the more attached to it you become. Don’t hold on to it and mull it over for too long.
  11. Listen to your gut instinct
  12. It’s ok to get rid of gifts… most people don’t remember what they gift!
  13. Hiding items under a blanket and then pulling them out one-by-one is surprisingly helpful when you downsize
  14. Set a goal for the number of items you want to get rid of and a reward for reaching it (a special meal, a movie out, an extra hour of TV time, an event- NOT a “thing” to buy!)
  15. Remember that, for most people, downsizing is an ongoing process. Once you start it becomes kind of addictive- you’ll realize you can live with less & less. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions about my process or downsizing in general. Share photos of your organized spaces with #treehouse40days on Instagram!

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