Take it from us: downsizing is always a good idea, regardless of whether you’re moving. Sure, moving homes is a great opportunity to sort through your belongings and keep what matters, but if you get into the practice of keeping only essentials at home, ensuring a spacious, clutter-free interior—your life and your home will be much less chaotic.
Of course, downsizing can be overwhelming—how do you get rid of things you’ve lived with for years? Many items in our homes have sentimental value and memories attached to them. Moreover, how do you decide what to throw and what to keep? To make all this a bit easier, we’ve put together this quick guidebook to help you navigate this very important area of your life.
1. Digitize all your belongings
For a Type A personality type, this is probably a great new project. For others, well, this may seem cumbersome—but it’ll be helpful in the long run. Once you have a record of all the things you have, it’s easier to put everything into perspective and understand what’s really essential, what’s expensive, and what’s on its last leg. Also, when you have formal records of things, know where they’re kept, and how long they’ve lasted, you are able to edit them out and make space for new things more easily.
2. Make a checklist of essentials
Getting into Marie Kondo mode is great, but don't get carried away. You’ll still need a core set of belongings that help you live a comfortable life. It's best to make a checklist of absolutely essential items. Think of things that have a long life, can be easily transported to newer homes, and can even be passed down to the next generation. Remember to prioritise multifunctional furniture or units, because these serve several purposes and are highly useful and functional pieces to cling to.
3. Use the one-year rule
A simple way to ascertain whether an item is useful or not is by checking if it has been used in the last one year. This is especially helpful when combing through your wardrobe. There are many garments, shoes, and even accessories that we hold on to thinking we’ll wear them someday. If that day hasn’t come in the last year, chances are it never will.
4. Remove all duplicates
Ask yourself: do you really need three spatulas? Two toasters? Five coats and 10 sweaters? It may be difficult to stop yourself from buying duplicates thinking, "just in case!” But these items simply add to the clutter of your home, and would be better off in the donation pile.
5. Don't keep things you have no room for
Another simple way to remove unnecessary items from your home is to find things that just don't belong in any room. For example, that long bench you bought for the foyer but if you don’t have a spacious formal entrance for it, then this piece of furniture doesn't serve any purpose. Similarly, everyone would love a coat stand, but do you have a corner to place it? This rule is a golden one even when you're shopping for your home: if you can't find the apt place for the unit, do not buy it.
6. Take a second opinion
Getting rid of things that have sentimental value can be emotionally draining. The solution is to bring in someone who doesn’t share your sentiments. Ask a friend or family member to help you with your downsizing efforts, and they can help you view your belongings in a new light.
7. Sell or donate
Once you have a long list of items you want to get rid of, you can either try selling them to pay for new decor items or you could donate them to a local charity. Always remember—before you donate anything, make sure the items are sanitised, clean, and in a good condition.