Moving house can be a really stressful time, even more so if you’re downsizing, as this will likely mean you’ll have to get rid of a lot of items. Whether it be furniture, clothing or sentimental items, it can be so difficult to let go of your possessions. So what strategies can you use to help you decide which items to keep and which to let go of?
In this guide, we share our top tips for decluttering when moving to a smaller house.
1. Start Early and Plan Ahead
One of the most important things to do when downsizing is to start the decluttering process early on and make your plans ahead of time. Leaving this until the last minute can end up causing added pressure and stress during an already difficult time, which you definitely don’t need.
Start by assessing the size and layout of your new home, and plan from there. This will give you a good idea of how much space you have, and what function you’d like each of the rooms to have. Create a to-do list to keep yourself organised and on track.
2. Take a Room-by-Room Approach
Decluttering can feel like a truly daunting task. So break it all up into rooms and focus on just one at a time. Start with the least sentimental spaces such as the kitchen, shed or spare rooms and then gradually move onto the spaces that have most of your most beloved possessions.
3. Decide what to keep, sell, donate or trash
When sorting through your belongings, label four boxes as “Keep,” “Donate,” “Sell” and “Discard.” That way, you can sort them into these boxes as you go along. If you’re struggling to make a decision on any item, ask yourself “Have I used this in the last 6 months?”, “Does this item bring me joy?” and “Is there any benefit to keeping this?”. During the decluttering process, remind yourself that this is an opportunity to make your move so much easier and start a fresh in your new home. Hiring a skip or a rubbish removals company can be a great way to get rid of the things you don’t need without the hassle.
4. Repurpose Sentimental Items
If there are items you simply can’t get rid of because they mean too much to you, but you’re unsure of what to do with them – get creative! If you’re holding onto baby grows for instance from when your child was small, get these stitched together and made into a throw you can actually use and admire on a daily basis. If you have lots of old photographs in a albums within boxes, digitise them and then choose your favourites to display on the walls. There are so many creative ways to repurpose sentimental belongings.
5. Consider Clever Storage Solutions and Multipurpose Furniture
If the kitchen in your new home is small, why not get some hangers for the insides of the doors for your wooden spoons, spatulas, chopping boards, etc? Or get some Lazy Susans for your tinned foods and packaged goods. If the home has a small entrance/hallway, how about a tall unit that can home all of your shoes, preventing clutter? Or maybe storage sections built into the stairs? This is the time to make these changes before moving in, to help keep your space tidy and clear in the long run. Coffee tables or sofas with built in storage can also be excellent space-savers in the living room, so could be great options to consider.
6. Sell Online
Once you’ve identified items to part with, list them on online marketplaces such as Vinted, Depop or Facebook. This can be a great way to earn some extra cash, turning it into a more positive, enjoyable experience.
In summary, downsizing can feel a little nerve-wracking at first, but once you part with items you don’t need, enjoying a clearer space can be truly liberating. It can also help save you time in the long run, as you’ll have to do far less tidying and organising of your new, more minimalistic home. This will give you chance to spend more time doing the things you enjoy!