Stay, Store Or Sling? Decluttering Tips For Downsizing
Avoid downsizing disasters with our handy guide.
Is your home becoming a little too cluttered for comfort? Whether you're moving house and need to declutter or simply running out of storage space, removing old and unused items is something every homeowner should do annually.
One of the hardest parts of decluttering is choosing which items to dispose of, which things to keep and which to put in storage. This guide will share eight easy decluttering tips to help you downsize without throwing away essential items.
Ask yourself: How often do you really use this?
From board games to household accessories, it's easy to suddenly feel attached to items when it's time to throw them away. If you're struggling to justify throwing a rarely-used item away, ask yourself a simple question:
"When was the last time I used this?"
If you haven't used an item in several months and you don't see yourself using it frequently in the future, add it to the "throwaway" pile. The more unimportant, rarely-used items you dispose of, the more essentials you can keep.
Don't discard unused items – donate them instead.
From books to clothing, many of the possessions that you own but rarely use could be worth a lot to someone else. Instead of throwing away everything you don't use, add rarely-used but valuable items to a "donate" pile.
Books can be sold to your local second-hand book store or donated to a charity like Oxfam. Clothing can be donated to the Salvation Army, which raises £8 million every year for its charitable initiatives from the sale of clothes and household items.
Clean up, organise and declutter one room at a time.
Parting with lots of items from every room of your house at once can be challenging, especially when you see them all in front of you. Soften the blow by decluttering and donating one room's worth of items at once.
This strategy makes discarding or donating your unused possessions a lot easier – it also makes the long and difficult task of organising your home a much more manageable process.
Keep large, valuable items in storage to avoid clutter.
You don't need to donate or discard items you value but rarely use. From furniture to family heirlooms, large items that are seldom used can be placed in storage to free up space in your home for more important, frequently used possessions.
Humidity and temperature-controlled storage are ideal for keeping heirlooms and other valuable items. From paintings and photos to furniture, documents and more, a small storage unit is often all it takes to secure your valuables.
Create three categories: keep, discard/donate and store.
When you're downsizing your possessions, it's best to give yourself only three options: keep, discard/donate and store. This helps you avoid the paralysis of indecision that appears when you think an item is maybe worth keeping.
Once you spot a rarely-used item, give yourself 10 seconds to conclude which category it belongs in. Being indecisive can turn a one-hour cleaning and decluttering job into an arduous and inefficient all-day activity.
Keep clothes and other soft items in vacuum storage.
Do you have an extensive clothing collection? From t-shirts to underwear, coats and more, vacuum storage makes it easy to compress your clothing and increases the amount of space in your wardrobe, closet or chest of drawers.
Fold your rarely-used clothes and vacuum pack them to shrink them to a third of their usual size profile. Vacuum storage is an excellent option for seasonal clothing like winter jackets and coats only worn for a few months every year.
Throw away anything unimportant that needs repairs
Let's face it – you probably aren't going to repair that VCR or microwave. Items that require extensive repairs and can be replaced at little or no cost usually aren't worth keeping, no matter how much you may have used them in the past.
If you have several broken items in your garage or storage closet, use this clean-up as an opportunity to dispose of them. It's often less expensive (not to mention less time consuming) to replace items than to repair them.
Scan and store important documents on your computer
When stored in closets and cupboards, essential documents can decline with age, from family photos to receipts and invoices, due to moisture and mould. While you declutter, use the opportunity to scan and digitise important documents and family photos.
Using cloud storage services like iCloud or Google Drive, you can store your photos and documents online to prevent them from becoming damaged. This solution also lets you dispose of those bulky boxes of old receipts, invoices and other papers.
How much space could you save by decluttering?
From donating books and clothing to keeping heirlooms, furniture and other items in a personal storage unit, decluttering your home doesn't mean throwing away the things you care about.