Top 12 Tips for Decluttering and Downsizing Your Home

Whether you are downsizing into a new place or simply looking to clear out some extra space in your home, decluttering can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin. The key to any successful decluttering process is to take a methodical approach in the way that you determine what should stay and what should go.

Many items that have accumulated over the years in your home may have a sentimental value to you, making it that much more difficult to determine what you truly need. When it is time to declutter, keep in mind these downsizing tips to save yourself time and stress.

1. Go in with an Action Plan

woman writing in notebook

Before any downsizing or decluttering can happen, you need to establish a game plan. Take this time to sit down and set out your goals for decluttering. With downsizing, since you are moving into a smaller space, your goal will be to bring only what you need and what will fit in your new home.

If you are simply looking to declutter your home, figure out what you want to get out of decluttering. Is it to clear up some space in that spare room you have? Maybe to rid of things you don’t need anymore and organize your space?

Whatever the case may be, it is important to write down your goals and the action steps of how you will achieve them.

2. Set Requirements for What Stays and What Goes

Another important thing to keep in mind as you are creating your action plan is to set out what factors determine what stays and what goes. Since decluttering can be emotional for some as many items in your home hold sentimental value, you want to be sure that you have set requirements to help you in your decision process.

3.  Take it Room by Room

Taking on your entire home or apartment at once can easily overwhelm you. Instead, section out your decluttering by room and make it a goal to tackle 1 or 2 rooms a day until you have gone through your entire home.

This will make the process more enjoyable and take some of the stress off of you, so you don’t feel like you have to get it all done at once.

4. Use the 1 Year Rule

keep things simple written in wooden blocks

A good rule to keep in mind when sorting through your household items is to think of the 1-year rule. The 1-year rule suggests that if you have not used the item in over a year, it is a good indicator that it may be time to get rid of that item.

5. Enlist Family and Friends to Help

Enlisting the help of friends and family members can save you a lot of time and can give you an unbiased opinion to help you determine what you should be keeping. You can either declutter a room together or have one or two people go through different rooms at the same time.

6. Offer Sentimental Items to Others

If you find yourself not needing certain items, but they hold a sentimental value of some sort, consider offering the items to a friend or family member who may also find sentimental value in them or would appreciate the item.

 7. Digitize Your Important Documents

As the world becomes more technologically savvy, more and more things have become digital. One way to keep yourself organized and be rid of some unnecessary items is to digitize your document.

Scanning your important documents will keep them all in one convenient spot, saving you both space and limiting the chances of losing those documents.

8. Organize as You Declutter

As you start to determine what you no longer want to keep in your home, take this opportunity to organize the belongings you wish to keep so you can keep your space clean for the future. Areas like closets, cabinets, drawers, etc. can become cluttered easily, by organizing now, it can keep these places from becoming cluttered again.

9. Determine What You Can Bring Into Your New Space

woman organizing boxes

If you are looking to declutter because you are downsizing into a smaller home, it is crucial to be aware of just how much you will be able to fit in your new space. By keeping in mind how much space you will have, it can keep you on track for successfully downsizing.

10. Determine What Should be Donated, Sold, Recycled or Disposed Of

Once you have gone through and decided on what are your unwanted items, you will need to determine what will be done with each of them. If an item is in good condition, you can either choose to donate or sell that item. If the item is junk or not in good condition, you will need to either recycle or properly dispose of it.

Junk removal companies, or many moving companies, can take care of the disposal process for you and ensure your unwanted items are being properly taken care of.

11. Don’t Rush Yourself

Don’t let this be a stressful process. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a step back or even take a break and come back to it with a clear mind, ready to continue the process.

12. Finally, Take This Time to Reminisce

As mentioned before, decluttering can be an unexpectedly emotional process, as you go through your belongings, allow yourself to reminisce and be nostalgic of your items that have sentimental meaning to you.