Downsizing – getting started

A few years ago we decided it was time to downsize even though we don’t plan on moving. Getting started can be the hardest part. I have friends who have been getting rid of one item a day for years.

Deep cleaning and reorganizing one room or area at a time worked for me. Getting rid of one item a day did not work. Trying to do it all at once made it look overwhelming.

I got out a notebook and divided the entire house into areas and each area into sections. Each area was a single room and the sections in it were closets, drawers, chests of drawers or shelves.


Upstairs bathroom

  • Cabinet under sink
  • Medicine cabinet
  • Linen closet
  • Storage Closet

I scheduled some of the work for each month and then checked it off as I completed each section. In the process, I donated, recycled or sold about a third of our possessions. Items removed ranged from old clothing to extra sets of dishes, and cookware. My children took some of the furniture that belonged to their grandparents.

There were a few things that I was able to “upcycle” and give to friends and family members as gifts. My son has grandma’s old wooden folding chairs sanded and painted and now sitting on his front porch.

Part of the reason for getting rid of the excess is that I didn’t want my family to have to deal with it at some later date.  I feel strongly that each of us should be responsible for his or her own stuff but I know it mostly doesn’t work that way. People die and their heirs have to figure out what to do with the house and the stuff in it.

There is still some stuff in the basement that is being stored for various family members. My goal is to get the excess out of the basement before the end of the year.

Even though my house is smallish I now have plenty of storage space and some empty shelves and drawers.

I have clients who have started the downsizing process two or three years before their planned move. Downsizing is easier when it isn’t an emergency and we can do it on our own terms.

With each item, I remove from my house I have a little more space and feel a little bit freer.

Also, see get your Adult children leave stuff behind

Clean, declutter and eliminate

my socks don’t spark joy

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