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A New Approach to Downsizing

You’re moving. Suddenly, you are faced with aching decisions to part with your current way of living and bravely start a life somewhere else. If the thought of downsizing your life is daunting, take a deep breath.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Envision your new life

As a professional organizer, I can work alongside you to help you through the downsizing process. It is very much like hiring a wedding planner who will keep track of all of the details and keep you on track for the big day. At times, I am a decision coach, guiding you through what to keep, toss or donate. I can also help sell your belongings and help you plan and organize things in your new home. Professional Organizers can provide dozens of resources such as: junk removal companies, local donation and recycling locations - especially for hard to discard items such as pianos and electronics. Click on my Resources Page for links to these resources. However, I believe the most important role I play is to help you reframe the process and help you stay focused on your new home and your new life ahead. It is your chance to write a new chapter.

Starting gives you momentum

The first step is to allow yourself enough time. Because it is a large undertaking, it is normal to be afraid to start and to even know where to start. If you already know your moving timeframe, it is best to work backwards keeping the end date in mind. Lay out all of the steps and resources you will need to finish everything on time. This is where a professional organizer can really make a difference.

Decluttering 101

Going room by room, you need to identify what you want to keep, sell or donate and what you can toss or recycle. If you haven’t used something in the last year, 5 years or 20 years, it’s time to evaluate why you are keeping it. Consider that if something sat in a box for 10 years, it would probably stay in that box in your new home. You literally must start with one box or one shelf at a time. Identify what things represent who you are now and shed anything that won’t serve you well in the future.

Reasons we hang onto stuff

  • Guilt – someone gave you something and you are afraid to let it go

  • Wishful thinking – will you really finish that scrapbooking project or play tennis again?

  • Emotional attachment – your kids’ baby clothes or toys bring back fond memories. Keep in mind that you will always have those memories even without the stuff

  • Just in case – maybe you’ll be able to fit into those jeans someday? Donate them now and reward yourself with a new pair later when you lose weight!

Start with low hanging fruit. Here are some easy wins:

  • Clothes that don’t fit or you don’t wear

  • Unused or broken kitchen appliances and gadgets

  • Dishes you never use

  • Your kids’ toys, games, baby clothes

  • Projects you probably won’t finish

  • Furniture that won’t fit in your new home or items you want to replace

  • Books, magazines, cd’s, dvd’s

  • Old school or work files and projects

  • Paper files – read this article for a guide for how long to keep important papers

  • Tools that are broken, unused or ones you won’t need in your new home

The process can bring you joy

You will come across memorabilia you haven’t seen for years. Embrace those moments and know that the new chapter you are starting will bring you new moments to treasure. After just one downsizing session, a client wrote to me that she went through several more boxes by herself the next day and said, “You would be so proud of me, Kay.” She realized that the only thing holding her back from starting was facing the enormous task ahead. She had put it off for years only to find that she enjoyed taking the trip down memory lane. She also felt like a huge weight was being lifted and she could start envisioning this fresh new start.

Happy Organizing!



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