When we say ‘downsizing’, we don’t mean the corporate kind that results in job losses and reduced wages. Far from being a bad thing, personal downsizing can be about simplifying your day, cutting down on clutter, and prioritizing the important things. The goal is less stress, more space, and a better quality of life for you and your family.
Sometimes, downsizing is also a necessity. If you need to move to a smaller home, you may need to allow for a smaller storage capacity. Moving an office or a home is always a good opportunity to get rid of things you no longer want or need, so let’s start there. Most belongings fall into one of three categories.
The first is filled with the things that have an emotional value- photo albums, jewelry, much-loved clothing, and family heirlooms. Depending on your hobbies, things like sporting goods, wine collections, and art supplies might fall into the this category too, along with anything that might not be used often, but is still very much wanted.
The second category is filled with useful but replaceable things. Most books, everyday kitchen utensils, electronics, and furniture qualify. These are the items that you would cheerfully entrust to long distance movers, knowing that you do want them in your new home but if they should be lost or damaged along the way, you could simply buy more without losing sleep over it.
Then there is category number three. This one is for things rarely used, and includes everything from clothes that no longer fit or are no longer worn to toys the kids have grown out of to electronic gadgets that are now out of date or just not as much fun as they once were, and much more. Moving to storage is an option but for the most part this stuff can go. If it’s not providing any value to your daily life it’s better to have the space than the clutter.
As you pack, sort goods into boxes that reflect the three categories. The most precious things should stay with you and be moved by hand. Category two boxes can go with movers and the items that go into category three boxes can be given away, sold, recycled, or thrown out.
If you really need to downsize before moving, take a good look at the items that fall into category two as well. What could be swapped for a smaller, more compact equivalent? If you have anything that takes up more space than it needs to, you may be better off moving it to category three and getting rid of it. A huge old kitchen food processor could be replaced with a sleek new model, for example.
Consider moving your CD and DVD collection to a digital format. A small external hard disk drive can store a terabyte or more of movies and music in a space the size of a hardback book. The originals can be passed on to other people, and you still get to keep every single song and every moment of film footage.