Downsizing–What to do with all my stuff?

In an earlier post, I talked about downsizing your life and your home.  One of the biggest challenges in doing that is trying to fit what we have into a smaller space.  Well, here’s an easy solution to that dilemma–don’t!!

We all have too much “stuff”! One of the best things about downsizing is the freedom that comes with the separation from all that “stuff”!  But that freedom also can give some people “separation anxiety”.  It can be hard to sort through years of things you’ve accumulated and decide what to take, what not to.  We all have things that we cling to that remind us of times gone by and trigger memories we cherish.  Take those memories with you, but instead of the stuff, how about a picture?  Spread it out, snap away, and create a collage that you can enjoy any time, share with others, and revisit those happy memories.  Pictures and digital scrapbooks don’t require so much storage space!

The holidays are approaching and this is a great time to start cleaning out closets, drawers, and cabinets.  Many things you’re not using can be donated to groups who can put them to good use.  Or, if you need some extra holiday cash, how about a garage/yard sale?  While the weather’s still nice, put it out there and let someone else do some shopping–they get something useful, you get it out of your house!

If you’re like me, you have things you’ve saved that your kids made or that they may want “someday”.  Well, it’s “someday”, so let ’em have it!  When I went through that process, I found that lots of the stuff I was saving for them was of absolutely no interest to them!  So why was I taking up closet space storing it??  Out it went!  Other things they took to share with their own families or to save in their own closets!  Either way, it cleared out my space!

The big stuff, like furniture?  This is where it got tricky for me, especially with things like a formal dining room, formal living, etc.  My new home had one living space, not 2 or 3.  What to keep, and what to let go?  I had to get really real with that decision and accept the fact that most likely, I’m not going to need that formal dining room.  For the 2-3 days a year we have a big holiday meal, we can make do with smaller arrangements.  The extra bedroom furniture?  Same thing.  Formal living room?  Not any more!

So what to do with all that extra furniture?  Some of it went home with kids who had their own places.  Some of it got sold to friends and to friends of friends, and some through an ad on Craigslist.  Some of it was donated and picked up by a couple of groups I contacted.   I took pictures of my rooms before everything left so I could remember my favorites, and since then, I really don’t miss them at all!  I know most of it found good homes with people who needed it, wanted it, and were as happy to have it as I was to let it go!  Win/Win for everyone!

What if you have kids who really want some of your furniture but don’t have their own places yet?  There are storage places in every neighborhood.  If you really must, rent one for a few months to keep those things, but limit yourself to a unit that holds only those things that have a future home.

The bottom line?  The things I kept are the things that mean the most to me.  The furniture gets used and enjoyed on a daily basis.  There’s a place for everything, rooms are not overcrowded, and I have less to dust!  With a few exceptions, everything in my kitchen gets used on a regular basis.  I probably still have more dishes than I really need, but they come in handy now and then.  Pots and pans–I don’t have all the big things I used to have because I don’t need them, don’t use them, and don’t want to take up space storing them.  I have what I need to make what I like and what my family enjoys when they visit.  Same with kitchen gadgets and doo dads!

My book shelves have books on them that I enjoy and that have meaning to me. My drawers, cabinets, and closets are filled–not stuffed–with things I use and have a need for, not with stuff packed away in boxes that hasn’t seen the light of day in years and years!  Well, okay, I do have a few boxes of that stuff, but way fewer than I used to have!

When my kids were young, we always cleaned out closets, drawers, and toy chests before the holidays to make room for what they hoped Santa would be bringing.  Go ahead and try that now–make someone else’s holiday happier and open yourself up to having less to keep up with!

Good luck!  Have fun remembering and have more fun setting up your new lifestyle!  Less is more, in so many ways!

Wishing you the best,