Downsizing is often overwhelming as you face the question, How am I going to make decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of? The task can be especially challenging when you’re walking an older relative or friend through the process, because every item seems to have a story behind it and they may not be excited about the upcoming move. Here are some practical ways to make downsizing easier:
1. Before you start sorting, measure your new space.
Sorting through your things can be emotional, and you can save yourself some stress by measuring your larger furniture items and the space they would go in your new home. If your couch won’t fit comfortably into your new living room, you can automatically count it out of the “Keep” category. While you’re taking measurements in your new home, also take note of places you can add storage. Where can you add storage and take advantage of unused space between walls?
2. Practice makes perfect!
Even if you’ve measured all of your furniture and know it will fit into your new home, it may not feel as comfortable in practice as the measurements suggest. Take a large area of your current home and use painters’ tape to mark off the dimensions of each room from your new home. Then try moving all of your furniture into this marked-off area to test what the actual layout will feel like. (If you like this idea but don’t want to do all the moving around yourself, our movers can definitely help you with your mock-up scenarios! We perform in-home moves all the time for interior designers and staging companies.)
When you come across an item that you’re having trouble giving up, take a breath and think about why you want to keep it.
- Do you want this object, or do you feel obligated to keep it?
- Do you want to keep the item because it’s useful or because it has sentimental value?
- Have you used this item in the past six months?
- Did you intend to use the item before you were faced with the decision of giving it away?
- Did the phrase “just in case” run through your mind? (As in, “Maybe I should keep it just in case…”)
The answers to these questions can help you determine whether you really want to keep, donate, or throw away the object in question.
4. You don’t have to get rid of everything right away.
Start the sorting process early enough that you can focus on a manageable amount each day. When you come across a piece that you can’t bear to give away, remember that you have the option of storing it somewhere else for a few months. Give yourself a deadline, and when that day comes, ask yourself whether you actively missed the item while it was in storage. If not, you can probably give it away without regret.
5. Give the things in your “Donate” category to an organization you believe in…
The Salvation Army and Goodwill are the two organizations you probably remember first when thinking about donating household items. However, if you don’t feel an emotional connection to these groups, you should find a cause closer to your heart to make the process of giving away your stored-up treasures feel more fulfilling. Our favorite local non-profit is Safe Haven Family Shelter because they’re the only homeless shelter in Middle Tennessee that accepts whole families into their program, instead of splitting the family up into separate Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s shelters.
Our movers are always happy to bring your donations to your preferred organization, and even to bring your “Throw Away” items to a trash site that you have verified will accept them. However, some non-profits offer complimentary pick-up services. For example, Goodwill is glad to take away large amounts of items or furniture from your home. Additionally, through our partnership with Safe Haven, we are often able to offer free pick-up of your furniture donations to Safe Haven when our schedule allows.
Though downsizing sounds overwhelming at first, starting early and taking the process one step at a time will break up the stress of your move. Always feel free to give us a call at 615-248-6288 or check out our website if we can offer any help!