Making downsizing easier


I got an email from someone going a little crazy trying to downsize from a home to an apartment.

“Help”, she said.

Downsizing can be an overwhelming project.

The first thing to do it release the past. Whether the downsize is your choice or not, it’s important to process and let go of the past. And ideas of how you thought things were going to be. Journal, cry, grieve.

Now look to the benefits of downsizing and how this could be a great thing.

– less stuff to take care of
– more time
– less maintenance
– more money
– more freedom

Next, look at your new place. Plan out what you want in what area. Papers/work, relaxing, food prep, music. You clear out stuff that isn’t useful.

See your home as flowing. What impedes the flow of your home? You want to be able to make your daily routine easy without getting annoyed at things in the way.

Places that are important to let go:
– decorative collections. Keep a few, photograph the rest and let go
– clothes – it’s clutter if it doesn’t fit in the closet. So only keep the amount of clothes that fit nicely in the closet (and pack up the out of season clothes to go under the bed)
– books – you can get most books from the library. If you are in an apartment you are going to want to limit books to one bookshelf.
– shoes – only keep the ones you need and use. Special occasion, once in awhile shoes are not used enough for the space they occupy.
– dishes – only keep what you can store in your cabinets, same with kitchen gadgets

You are editing your space so it works well for you and nurtures you.

Tackle small areas at a time and stay in that area until complete. One drawer. One cabinet. One pile.

Questions to ask as you let go.
– have you used it in the past year?
– what are your current needs?
– what do you no longer need at your new place? Like gardening tools or snow shovel.
– is this about my present life or about my past? Limit the past so you have room for your present.

If you have trouble letting go, invite a friend or family member to help. Often we’ll get attached to something and someone else can say, “Why do you want to keep that?” When you try to explain, you realize you don’t need or even want to keep it. You can also email a friend with your progress every day to keep you accountable and motivated.

Wishing you well on your new life and home.


Want some help decluttering? Join the Declutter Group.



  • Tika Kat says:

    It is easy to upsize than downsize… For the first time in my life (for a duration of only 13 years) I had a place for everything, garage cabinets for labeled bins, walk in closet for art/creative room, finally a laundry rooms & a kitchen with a real pantry & enough space, even a closet for my Hallmark collection AND finally everything organized by category/subject. I love to entertain too so I need platters bowls, pitchers, serving stuff… it all takes space. THEN we had to downsize! Select your favorites: furniture, art, pictures, & necessities. Then the items you cannot part with bec use for parties store where it is accessible, if heirlooms organize the items into stackable LABELED bins/boxes, organize these for new house or put into climate controlled storage. Then look at L/O’s what doesn’t give you joy, isn’t YOU anymore, can someone else use it or be sold garage sale-Craigslist or donation, is it broken then recycle it. I don’t use the 1 or even a 5 year rule, ask yourself are you still interested in this activity? If yes, then ask why aren’t I doing it? Then make yourself time to do it. If after 10 years it isn’t touched, ask why do I keep this? I put clothes into a bin & if I don’t use it after 5 years I donate it. I still keep 4 childhood pcs, 3 my great-grandfather made my mother at 3yo: 2 doll beds (my cats sleep in) & a tiny dresser, & my childhood musical rocker. I have 3 generations of dolls in a small trunk, & my life memorabilia in its own trunk too. Hey there was a span of 30 years I didn’t do art bec I was too tired after work & too busy on W/E but I didn’t toss all that valuable oil paint nor my great-grandfather’s portable easel or paint box! Now at 60yo in my smaller home, I paint & draw in dining room or yard, and go to storage for stuff when I am going to host a party… Ask what is really important to you? 🙂

  • Tika Kat says:

    I collect books, some I’ve read, loved, & do read again. Some books are children’s, history, biographical, reference, cooking, or art. These I keep, but I noticed this last move I have 26 boxes of books I never had a place for in the BIG house bec we couldn’t agree where to install shelves (also the voracious reader verses the only reads a few issue)BUT I am NOT going to chuck them all bec they were in storage! So in the smaller temporary house (30 miles, 1 way from a library) I only unpacked ref. books I must have for the next 2 years, leaving lot’s of room for all those unread books. I am making myself read those unread books the next 2-3 years & whittle down what I must keep bec the next move may be overseas & shipping is expensive.

  • lodichris says:

    Thank you, Beth, for this advice. I have a dearly loved sister-in-law who can’t come to terms with how her life “didn’t go as planned,” and I find that as I’m reading this, which I hope will be helpful to her, it’s also planting the seed in my own mind when it comes my turn to downsize and maybe start the “what could have been” pity party.

    I am always blessed by your advice, and I continue to pray for you and your family, who have suffered loss that no one should ever have to bear.

    God bless!

  • Teresa Woodworth VanMeter says:

    Very helpful in my everyday battles of keeping stuff! Thank you!

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