August 3, 2015
Rich Mundle - RE/MAX Elite
Accumulating piles of useless stuff in our home is an easy thing to do over the years but if you are planning to move into a smaller space you will probably need some serious organizational skills to de-clutter and downsize your stuff to fit your new home. Here are some tips that can help you with the downsizing process so it isn’t so painful for your family.
Plan A Family Declutter Date
Getting the whole family involved in setting up a declutter date is the first step in getting you closer to actually doing it. Experts recommend setting a date makes this activity more real and by getting your whole family involved decreases the chances of procrastination.
Use Boxes That Are Large And Labeled
Prepare two large labeled boxes per room. One for the stuff you want to keep (such as “kitchen”, “bathroom”, etc.); the other for the stuff you don’t want to keep at all. This allows you to carry things out of the room efficiently and once you’ve moved you'll have things labeled already to unpack easier.
One Room At A Time
Depending upon the amount of junk you’ve accumulated or the sentimental attachment you have for your beloved stuff. The reasons you should declutter one room at a time are numerous. The rooms are smaller by comparison to the entire house—you can be organizing as you go along and there is less pressure to do one room than the entire house, just to name a few reasons. You can even treat yourself after each room, such as taking a break and eating that slice of pie you had your eye on, or watching that thirty minute show on television, or allowing yourself to read another chapter in that book you are having a hard time setting down.
Start with bedrooms, since these tend to have the most clutter, next move to dining rooms, living rooms and so forth. Plan it by maximum clutter rooms first, then go from there, hence making it all downhill with each milestone you complete.
Get the entire family to help and when you finish the entire house, have a family treat for ice cream or a movie. Turn you speakers loud, the music up and have fun with it.
Get The Help Of Everyone In The Family
Speaking of family, get the entire family to help. This can be a fun activity if you do it with the entire family but you also need the other family members so you don’t throw anything out that they find valuable. If the entire family pitches in, the task gets done in half the time.
After you get through the humdrum of the, “Mom do I have to” and all the other little whiny excuses children love to throw at you (and husbands too) then it can be enjoyable with the right incentives. Only you know what your family loves and how to fun-bribe them properly, but when it's over, the time you spend with your family, any time you spend, is valuable. This activity together not only allows you help from your family but teaches them important organization skills the undoubtedly will need to learn in the future.
Advertise A Yard Sale
After sorting all your stuff, hold a yard sale—this is a great family activity that can be together. This is a chance to show your family the importance of earning money with their unwanted things. This is something that may take a day or two of preparations so make sure you have given yourself plenty of time before your move.
You and your children can get together and make a list of places that may need donations. If you do not want to take time out for the yard sale, then donating the items you no longer need is another option. When children get a say so in where their things go, it can make a big difference in easing their mind when it comes to the anxiety they can occasionally have in separating from their things. Make a list of places such as goodwill, Salvation Army, food banks, churches, homeless shelters, sobriety homes, etc. and let your children decide where their things go to. This will give them the good feeling associated with helping others, teach them valuable lessons in giving, and get them excited about getting rid of their stuff instead of fighting you over it.
Last but not least—make sure you really don’t need the stuff you let go of. Reflect upon how often you use that item. If you are on the fence about it decide if you have used it within the past year. If not, chuck it!
Downsizing can be scary for we hold onto things not just because we need them or use them but also for sentimental reasons. Those are the things that are even harder to part with. Pictures your kids drew for you, letters, receipts, whatever they are, these are the items that are hard to let go of. You can always go get another rolling pin but you can’t get another picture from your daughter when she was eight. Pick out a few of your favorites and decide what your new place can hold. Whatever the reasons are for the clutter, to declutter can be a fun chore and it can give you a chance to reflect on memories associated with that item.