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Downsizing Your Life: How to Decide What to Bring

04/11/2018

Moving isn’t easy. It presents a significant change in your life that can potentially be physically exhausting and emotionally overwhelming. Maybe you’re downsizing because your kids have graduated and are moving out on their own. Or maybe you’re a student who got an internship away from home for the summer, and your new apartment can’t hold all your things from your parents’ home. Regardless of your stage in life, downsizing requires compromise. We’ve collected some advice to make this new transition a little easier.

 

Assess your new home

When downsizing, it’s essential to think about the size of your new home and what can come with you. Obtain a blueprint or layout of your new place and find out the exact dimensions of each room to help you decide which large pieces of furniture and artwork can move with you. Knowing what will fit and what won’t will make the decision a little easier.

 

Go through each room in your current home and ask yourself the tough questions about what you truthfully, use, need, and want. Start with the areas of your home that you don’t use much, such as the attic, the basement, the laundry room, or spare room, since it’s easier to get rid of belongings from rooms that are mostly used for storage.

 

Prepare in advance

When you live in a large home, it’s easy to accumulate items just in case you might need them at some point some day. With a smaller space, you should try to embody a “use-it-or-lose-it” mindset. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used a tool, clothing item, or appliance in over one year, don’t bring it with you. Additionally, eliminate all duplicates. Consider donating the belongings you can’t bring with you for someone else to use. If your belongings are not in donatable condition, make sure you recycle or dispose of them properly and safely.

 

Only keep the possessions that would cause emotional stress if you lost them. Don’t forget, if you find yourself needing something you once purged, you can buy or borrow a new, and often improved, version later.

 

Create new habits

Dealing with the emotional attachment of letting go can be stressful. One of the hardest things to do when downsizing is removing those ‘in case of emergency’ items. When you have a large storage space, you can keep extra supplies of food, furniture, kitchenware, books, games, and literature just in case or for a rainy day. However, chances are unlikely that you’ll finish that knitting project you started two years ago, or that you’ll re-watch that old DVD from 2007.

 

By creating healthy new habits of only keeping what you need and use on a regular basis, you can become accustomed to a new way of living without clutter and excess. In fact, a study conducted at the University of Mexico examined how clutter can negatively impact your state of mind.

 

Embrace the freedom

When you embrace the new changes that come with the experience of downsizing, you’ll find many positive aspects of your new life. For example, a smaller living space means you’ll have fewer places to hide your belongings, and therefore no more crawling under the house or digging through stacked boxes looking for lost items. You’ll also likely have easier upkeep, reduced pressure to host, and decreased maintenance costs, which will free up more time and money for yourself.

 

Downsizing by choice or necessity always involves compromise, but you don’t have to let go of everything you want or need. Use your move to simplify your life, and you might find your new, smaller space makes you just as happy. For more helpful tips on how to handle downsizing and moving your home, check out our How to Pack Your Most Treasured Items blog or reach out to an AMJ Campbell moving specialist near you today.