Downsizing your life

Declutter and downsize in style!

Humans love to hoard. In fact, we spend our lifetimes amassing as much as we can. First we start by buying a house to fill with stuff, and then we find we need a bigger house to accommodate that stuff plus all the other stuff we want. By the time we’ve raised our families, our homes have become living museums, full of everything we’ve loved, then liked, then forgotten about.

So, what happens when it’s time to downsize your home? For many, the prospect of scaling down is daunting because it starts with shedding those things that once filled our lives to the brim. But what the faint of heart may not realise is that downsizing can be a cathartic, inspiring process, one that allows them to look at how they want to live with fresh and eager eyes. So, to help put a positive spin on putting (some stuff) in the bin, we’ve put together the ultimate ‘How To Declutter in Style’ checklist for pain-free downsizing!

1.Shrink to fit!

Whether you’ve bought your next home or are still in the early stages of looking, it helps if you can have a sense of the space you are going to move into. If you plan on going from 5 bedrooms down to 3, for example, you need to assess which beds should be kept and which ones will be earmarked for the charity shop. Likewise, the things filling up the shed - if you’re moving into an apartment or village with minimal storage, those bikes and that lawnmower should be bid a fond farewell. Knowing the space you’re going into will help you get a deeper understanding of what can stay and what has to go.

2. New house, new you!

Take a look around your house – a real look. As time passes we become used to the furniture and photos, mementos and whatnots that surround us. Decluttering gives you the chance to decide whether the shag rug and macramé pot-holders are really where you’re at right now. Pick up a few interior design magazines and see if you feel like the winds of change should blow a few of your old bits and pieces out the door and onto the hard rubbish. Take a narrow-eyed look at your tech, too. TVs, microwaves and fridges are a lot smarter than they used to be, so have a think about some upgrades.

3. Kiss (some) of your memories goodbye!

Even the least sentimental amongst us may find they tear up when confronted with the prospect of saying sayonara to a favourite armchair or treasured dining table. The memories that objects hold can tether us to them beyond all reasonable practicality or good sense. And while we may be able to hang on to some of our most valued furniture and trinkets when we downsize, other things will just have to go. The good news is that there are some novel ways much-loved objects can put out to pasture without sadness or regret. Declutter queen, Marie Kondo, (author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying), suggests we actually say ‘Thanks for the memories’ to our outgoing objects, and bid them a respectful farewell. If that’s a bridge too far for you, then consider giving your best items to close family members who you know will take care of them.

4. Maintaining your new lifestyle!

So you’ve assessed the new space, packed up some of the dust gathering trinkets from that time you decided to collect every thimble during your last European vacay and narrowed down a new TV to two options. Now is the time to plan how to scale down the maintenance of your new lifestyle even further. Imagine how much more time for fun you will have (to possibly plan that next Euro trip) just by getting some help with gardening, cleaning or even grocery shopping and it’s nowhere near as out of reach as you may think.

So there you have it – a sure fire way to kick-start you decluttering and downsizing your life in style! Get packing!