If you’re about to tackle the big task of downsizing your home, start by easing yourself into the right mindset. This may be the most important tip, so if you do nothing else, at least do this first step.
The right attitude can make a big difference, which is why you shouldn’t bother starting until you understand this: it won’t be easy, but getting rid of some belongings can actually feel great.
Make sure what you keep is really something you can’t live without.
Is everything you own worthy of a space in your home? Is it useful like a toaster, or a great pair of shoes? Is it something that you find beautiful or inspiring something you love? Or is it something with great sentimental value one of a selected number of things you keep because of the sentiment? If it’s not any of these things, then perhaps it’s something that you can part with, and let it go to another home.
Regarding the sentimental stuff
Sometimes it works to take a picture of an item, and let the original go. Keeping antique furniture that does not fit your decor, style or taste for sentimental value will always stick out like a sore thumb. If no other family member is interested, keep the picture of it and donate to a good cause.
For children’s art projects and schoolwork:
Be selective in what you keep, or this stuff can overrun even a large space. Your children may have opinions on what they want to keep, too. In general, keep the essay about “My Family” but maybe not the ones about less personal topics. Keep a few wonderful original drawings, but perhaps not the ones where your child coloured in a form.
Pick your storage containers wisely.
Square or rectangular pieces make better use of limited space than do round containers. Wicker baskets are attractive storage containers that can be slipped under things and stacked on shelves. Cubes can double as storage, extra seating and as a coffee table.
Sell, donate or dump?
Sell, recycle or donate, but try not to dump goods in your wheelie bin. You can probably sell the vast majority of items you no longer need, perhaps at boot sales or online via websites such as eBay or Gumtree.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of selling things, charities will be happy to take most stuff off your hands. They’ll welcome clothes, bedding and other items you may feel aren’t good enough to sell or give away.
Certain items will be more difficult to get rid of. Charities may be unwilling to take electronic devices, such as TVs, on health and safety grounds, so unless you can sell them, you’ll need to offload them another way. Call your local council and ask their advice, or take them to your nearest council recycling centre.