Tips for Downsizing Your Home

We live in a “bigger is better” society – big food, big cars, big houses. But more homeowners are starting to believe less is more, and they’re choosing to downsize to smaller homes or even to condos and apartments.

Linda Deppa, a Certified Professional Organizer with Uncluttered Northwest, helps homeowners downsize. She says she works with people from all walks of life, from empty nesters to seniors to people who have become overwhelmed by the demands of a large home.

“They are tired and just want time to rest and breathe in their own spaces,” she says. “They want time to travel and do the things that make them happy instead of taking care of all the excess they have accumulated in their lives.”

Deppa says too much “stuff” can have a negative impact on mental health.

“When you constantly have too much stuff surrounding you, your subconscious is constantly thinking about how to deal with it,” she says. “It’s thinking about the pile of laundry that is sitting there that is not folded nor put away, the project that you set aside five years ago and never finished, the pile of mail that still needs to be taken care of.  Your subconscious and conscious brain does not get the time to rest when you are surrounded by all the excess that is surrounding you.”

When you’re in a smaller, more organized space, the chaos is replaced with calm. This can reduce stress, worry, and anxiety while fostering a sense of empowerment. Once you pare down there is less to clean, organize, and dust.

“By simplifying and downsizing, then setting up organized systems in your home or office, you can recover valuable time lost each day, become more productive in the time you do have, and free up more time for the things you truly enjoy doing,” says Deppa.

It can feel overwhelming to decide what items to keep, what items to donate to charity, and what items to rehome with friends or family. Uncluttered Northwest offers a list of resources and Deppa offers simple steps to get you started:

Assess

Look big picture, then look small. Break the project down into smaller pieces. Small accomplishments get us to our bigger goal. Start with one closet or category (like winter clothes) at a time.

Purge

Don’t get buried in emotions – almost everything we own has some emotion attached to it.  Keep only the things that you use regularly or cherish the most. It might help to take a picture of something you no longer need or think about who might benefit from having it.

Designate

Everything in its place – if everything has a place then you can locate the item quickly and know where to put it back when you are done.  It saves you the time of looking for things.

Contain/consolidate

Contain “like with like.”  This makes items easier to find and keeps them all in one place.  Using clear containers helps you visualize quickly and takes less time than opening each to see what’s inside.

Follow up

Build a habit – put things back where you have determined their space to be. It will take 17-21 times for you to make this a habit.

Too much stuff robs you of energy, time, money and adds unwanted stress to your life.

“You have to decide what truly adds joy to your life and eliminate those things that do not,” says Deppa. “This will help make space for you to pursue the things that make you happy.”

Image by kali9

Decluttering for Your Physical Health

 

Susan Wyatt

A Western Washington native, Susan Wyatt writes about health and wellness, pets, travel, etc. etc. In her off-hours she enjoys gardening, reading and playing bagpipes. She lives in Issaquah with a ginger cat named Vinny (aka Yawny McYawnface).