I've found myself going through the Netflix show "Weeds" again. I'm a huge fan and this is likely the third or fourth time watching it from stem to stern. One of the characters (Conrad) made a comment last night about being 36 years old and being able to fit everything he owns into a duffel bag. The last time I moved to a new home, I was kinda proud of myself for being able to fit everything I own into my Tacoma (with a cap on the back). It really goes without saying that we all have too much stuff. Today I'd like to explore the process of downsizing and see if it nudges you in the direction of limiting (and eliminating) the wasteful stuff we all seem to collect.
Reasons for downsizing can vary as much as the process itself. Sometimes the kids are finally out of the house and it doesn't make sense to heat/cool that much space. While it is somewhat convenient to have some extra rooms for office space, crafts and hobbies, guests or anything else, you have to determine if the extra space is worth the extra cost and hassle. Another reason for downsizing is simply the desire to have a smaller footprint. I'm not advocating for everyone to live in a "tiny house", but I'm quite thankful the days of the huge, soul-less McMansions are over. Let's get started.
If you are moving to a new (to you) smaller home, I strongly recommend getting a floorplan of the new space. With those measurements you will be able to accurately "place" your existing furniture without all the guesswork. Of course everything looks much different when you are actually IN the space, but this is a fantastic starting point. You can go the nerd route (my preference, for sure) and grab some software that will help you with this. It's a great way to get a 3-D image of the space in each of the rooms and allows you to place furniture however you want, move it around, move it between rooms, etc. That is obviously far more efficient than doing that on paper or with your actual furniture. I did this while I was building my house and it was a total life saver.
While you are arranging the furniture, this is the perfect time to start making a list of the items you no longer need. You will quickly realize how many duplicate items you have throughout the home that will no longer be necessary in this smaller space. If you are doing this with some decent advanced notice, you can plan your yard/garage sale now, before it gets too chilly. Of course donating items is another great idea and a nice way to "pay it forward". Considering you now have what many consider "excess", it's great to share some of your wealth.
When you first start working through your home, it's a good idea to start small. "When downsizing, starting with a laundry room or even a closet is a great way to get the ball rolling," notes Badger Realty agent, Diane McGregor. "You won't feel overwhelmed by all of the decisions and you won't have to make those 'big' decisions right off the bat," she continued. Diane is right. Starting with a garage or basement is a huge undertaking and can be a bit much to handle as you begin this process.
If you are fortunate enough to have a garage, this can be the perfect spot to start migrating things and getting them ready for transfer. Some will be donated, some will be sold, some may end up at the dump and the rest will end up in the moving truck. If you have a staging spot, it can be a great way to test the waters as you begin removing items from the home. I think most of us would be amazed at what we don't "need" when push comes to shove. As you start putting things in this staging area, you will likely become even more motivated to eliminate more "stuff" from your life. This tends to be the most rewarding part of the downsizing process. Doing more with less. Congrats!
Downsizing can be stressful and can feel like you are giving up items that have been part of your life for years or decades. Try not to get too worked up about eliminating things and focus on the bigger picture. You are going to be in a cozier place. Your monthly expenses will likely be going down. And you're going to be happier with less stuff. All "wins" in my book. Happy trimming!