28 Jan De-cluttering and Down-sizing
Almost any move will likely entail de-cluttering and may include down-sizing. Even if you stay in place, think about the unfairness this would create for your children if you don’t de-clutter and they have to do it. Sort through closets and drawers, as well as attics and basements if you have them.
Consider giving away treasures to near and dear ones now, instead of leaving them in your will. Give things to charities if you have not used them in the last year, or consider selling some things. Take photos of special pieces you are parting with, or write a story or create a video about them, as a way to preserve their specialness.
Instead of looking at the process as de-cluttering or down-sizing, you can re-frame it as moving towards voluntary simplicity. Keep the things that are truly useful that you use regularly, and use your beautiful things. If you have lovely crystal that sits in a cupboard, for instance, either use it more often, sell it, or give it away to someone who will use it.
Start by emptying everything from a drawer, closet, or surface, and sort your items into four piles.
keep it (you might want to clean the drawer, closet or surface before you start putting things away)
pass it on by giving it to a charity, selling it, or giving it to someone
repair or finish it
recycle or trash it
See if you can let go of one-third to one-half of the items. Let go of “someday I might use this” items, because “someday” creates a huge amount of clutter. If you have unfinished projects or items that need repair, first decide if they are worth finishing or repairing, and then decide how likely you are to repair or finish them.
Questions to ask yourself
When did I last use this item? If you haven’t used or worn something in the last year, chances are you can live without it.
How often do I use it? If you let go of something, could you borrow it for the rare occasions you need it. For example, if you rarely have a crowd to feed, could you borrow plates and cutlery.
Do I keep it out of a sense of guilt? This can happen with gifts you’ve been given. If you don’t like it or use it, give it away or re-gift it to someone else.
If you truly can’t decide about some items, put them in a box in a closet. Check one year later and if you haven’t missed them, pass them on.
Spotlight on rooms
In the kitchen, keep only the utensils that you use regularly. If you have a specialty tool you use occasionally, it may be worth hanging on to. Keep less food in the house, if your refrigerator and cupboards are bursting at the seams.
In the bedroom, remove the television and all electronics, to promote better sleep at night. Stick to clothes that suit your personal style, focus on quality not quantity, and wear your beautiful things more often. Pass on everything else.
In the living room, remove everything that you don’t use most of the time. Give away or sell what you don’t use, including games, pieces of furniture, and shelving.
In the bathroom, take everything out and put back only what you use in a typical month, plus basic first aid supplies. Restrict the number of towels to one set per person, plus another set or two for guests.
In the office, paper is probably your biggest challenge. Gather it all together and sort into four piles: shred, recycle, file (birth certificates, legal documents, and warranties), and action items.
There’s no need to do all of this in a day or a week. You might select one room every week, or one a month. Note on your calendar when you plan to tackle each room, so that you stick to your plan. You may find at the end of it all that you feel lighter and less burdened.